Monday, May 31, 2010

Bus Report #514

On Saturday I met up with the other Rachel, to try our luck getting rush tickets to In The Heights, now playing at the Curran.
We got on a crowded 38 Geary and made our way to the back, where we sat by the door and chatted as we headed downtown.
The line at the Curran Theater didn't seem too bad. We waited behind a young couple who had a friend trying to get Wicked tickets (spoiler: he showed up a few minutes later, out of breath, Wicked-ticketless)and in front of a trio of friendly folks who were pretty desperate for tickets.
Rush tickets sold out incredibly fast, to the first fifteen or so people. But the other Rachel and I were there, were dressed for the theater, so we decided to go anyway and pay for the cheapest tickets we could get.
I won't keep you in suspense, the show was great, get thee to the Curran before the show leaves town in a couple of weeks. It was fun, it reminded me of East Coast summers, and who doesn't like a main character named Usnavi? Anyone? Anyone?
After the show, we drifted down Powell, to meet a girl about a suitcase, at a hotel (don't ask, it was actually very above-board.)
We ended up drinking in the hotel bar, since, you know, we were already dressed up.
And there was born the other Rachel's newest blog-endeavor: So this girl walks into a bar...
(FYI - I guess Rach is going by Sam these days, as in play it again, so going forward, let's call her Sam.)
She has no posts yet, but soon, very soon, you'll be able to follow us as we drink our way (responsibly) through some of San Francisco's best (and worst) hotel bars.

Later, after a couple of cocktails and some lovely snacks, I ran down Powell to catch a 21 Hayes up to Hayes Valley to meet up with the Teacher's Pet.
The bus wasn't crowded, but a couple of out-of-towners stood in the middle of the bus and no amount of pushing or yelling seemed to get them to move on back.
It didn't bother me, though. Such a perfect day, nothing was going to bother me.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Bus Report #513

Lately, my commutes have been nothing special, which I guess is good, but nothing to write home about equates nothing to Bus Report about, which is sad.

This morning I caught an early 38, sat across from the annoying construction worker who can't seem to close his mouth. He was half asleep, and I could see his tonsils.
At Fillmore, I got out and waved to the driver as I walked down the block.
She flashed me a lovely smile.
There's a new man who takes the 22 with me in the mornings these days. He is probably around my age (early 30s) or maybe a bit older. He stands at the very edge of the sidewalk, holding a paper back book in one hand and a cigarette in the other.

The bench in the bus stop was covered in various pieces of women's clothes. A lacy blue camisole, a peach sweater, some old faded blue jeans and a couple of soiled T-shirts. Two pairs of vintage-looking shoes completed the pile. I liked the red ones, but not enough to touch them.

The bus came, and the driver opened the door right in front of me.
"Morning," he said.
"Morning," I replied.
The only free seat was next to the Austin coffee mug girl. I sat beside her and spaced out, staring at the back of a very large man.
We rolled down Fillmore, then Church, then 16th, until we reached my stop.
The men standing in the stair well didn't want to move to let us out, but the large man managed to push his way past them, and the rest of us did the same.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Bus Report #512

I spent the weekend in Boston, visiting friends and family, celebrating, in no particular order:
Baby Sis getting her master's,
The Professor and JD getting engaged,
My parent's anniversary,
My mother's birthday,
Several half birthdays (according to Baby Sis),
And a brand new baby cousin.

On Thursday we took the 66 bus to Harvard Square, then walked the rest of the way to Porter to take a look at my new school. I will be attending a Low-Residency MFA Program in Creative Writing at Lesley University, for Fiction. Exciting.
And even though I know Cambridge pretty well, I wanted to time my commute. The bus ride wasn't bad, even with a 15-20 minute walk to campus attached. We took a spin around the campus, then trudged back to Harvard Square, to get some ice cream with an old friend of the Professor.
We ran to catch the 66 back home. The commute was easy, and ripe for some reminiscing about the old days. We passed Harvard Stadium, where my crew team sometimes ran stadium stairs for our workout, wound our way through Allston, past the punk clubs and Irish bars, the Brazilian restaurants and hole in the wall Caribbean takeout joints. The bus was air-conditioned, but still felt uncomfortably hot to this San Francisco resident. When the bus pulled in to our stop, we pushed our way out, and walked half a block home.

Sunday we hustled out of the house early and walked up to catch the C line. Nothing was going to keep us from our Dim Sum date at China Pearl.
We got out at Boylston, made our way up the worn-out stairs to the edge of the Common, near the Professor's college dorm. The restaurant was the lone hub of activity on a Chinatown side street. We ate our fill, then took a walk, ending up at Copley where we boarded an outbound B line train.
Once again, I was transported to my high school days... Hanging out in Kenmore Square, crew workouts and runs along the edge of the Boston University campus, afternoons spent rowing on the Charles.

It was a whirlwind of a weekend and a visit, but wonderful just the same.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Bus Report #511

This morning I waited for the 22 with the annoying construction workers, the woman who always needs to stand right next to me despite how big the bus stop is, and a crazy/drug addled man who kept pacing back and forth, mumbling and constantly counting the change in his hand.

On the bus, the only available seat was next to the Austin coffee cup girl. She was reading a huge hardcover book. The book took up her whole lap, and to turn the pages she had to balance her coffee between her knees and then turn the page with one hand while keeping the book balanced in the other.
When she closed the book, I saw she was reading War and Peace. Just a little light reading for her morning commute, right?

Another woman was reading Junot Diaz's great book The Brief, Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao.

The crazy man sat in the front of the bus, balancing his large suitcase and his even larger duffel bag on the seat next to him. He continued to talk to himself, but didn't cause any problems for anyone.

At the Turk Street stop, one of the little kids who always rides the bus with his brothers tore around the corner and hopped on to the bus.
"Wait up! My brothers are coming, they'll be here in a minute," he promised the driver.
The driver said, "Are they right here? Can you go get them? I can't wait."
The little boy got out and ran back around the corner.
"HURRY UP YOU GUYS!" he called, in his sweet little voice. He stepped back up onto the bus. "They're right here," he said.
"I don't see them," the driver said. "You're gonna have to wait for the next one."
I looked back to see if the kids were coming. Not a single one of them in sight.
"I promise, they're here," said the little boy.
"You're gonna have to catch the next bus," said the driver.
The boy got out and stood on the sidewalk, watching us go. He did the only thing he could do: stuck his tongue out and wagged it at us as we pulled away.

Austin coffee cup girl and I smiled at each other and laughed.

Bus Report #510

I got on the 22 the other night, headed home. I slid in to an empty seat next to a tiny, frail-looking little old lady, someone's favorite abuela. After a few minutes, she nudged me and asked me where I was getting out.
"Geary," I told her.
"Oh, Geary," she said, sadly. "Well, I get out at Mission."
I knew immediately why she had asked. She had several shopping bags and she thought she would have to fight her way past me to get out of the seat.
I looked at her and said, "I'll get up so you can get out, don't worry," and I smiled at her.
She seemed relieved.
When we got to Mission Street, I stood up and moved so that she could get out of the window seat with her grocery bags.
"Thank you and have a good evening," she said.
"You too," I said.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Bus Report #509

How are the schedule changes effecting you?
So far, I can't say I've noticed much of a change on my usual routes, except that the evening buses have been packed packed if I catch them around 5 PM, but a little less packed if I catch them even a few minutes later. Curious.
Also, the lack of any bus shelter along 17th Street really sucked yesterday, as I stood in the bus stop in the rain with no umbrella or raincoat.

Yesterday morning my 22 was late, and when I got out one of the regulars came up to me and asked me if I thought the bus was late because of the schedule change.
I looked up at him (he is at least 6 feet tall, and just large all over) and said, "I don't know, but there sure were a lot of people on that bus."
He nodded. "Thanks," he said. "That's what I thought."
I wasn't sure how to respond, but the light changed and I crossed the street away from him.

Sunday afternoon I went out to run some errands, and quickly remembered it was Bay To Breakers. My 38L bus had a Viking, a bunch of Roman soldiers, some kids in headbands and knee socks, and an adult baby.
As he left the bus, one of the Roman soldiers reached out and touched the hip of one of the head-banded, knee-socked boys.
Later, a couple from out of town caught a glimpse of some more B2Bers on Geary, and the husband wondered what was going on. "I think they had some kind of parade," said his wife.
A pair of farmers crossed the street in front of us.
A trio of construction workers went in to the combo Wells/Starbucks across the street.
As I walked down my street, a crew of rainbow-colored crayons headed in the opposite direction.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Bus Report #508

Last Thursday there was a notice posted inside my afternoon bus shelter, advising us that the stop would be discontinued and moved to the next corner. Actually, the sign was vaguer than that, stating that the stop would be moved 'across the street'.

Yesterday, Monday, all traces of the bus stop were gone, including any notices to alert commuters to the change. In front of the former Metronome Ballroom there is a bright pink sign attached to a streetlight, but no official signage, no bus zone painted on the street, and no bus shelter or NextBus console.
This officially sucks.

I walked down the hill and caught the bus in front of Thee Parkside, a stop without a bus shelter but with a clearly outlined bus zone and a yellow sign painted on the light pole.

As our 10 Townsend bus rode past the discontinued stop, several of my fellow commuters looked up, and then ran for our bus.
Our driver opened the door. "This stop is discontinued," he said, as the passengers got on.
"When did that happen? I ride this bus every day," said one of the men.
"I don't know," said the driver. "But you can catch it at Wisconsin or at De Haro and 16th."

Discontinuing a stop that served two bus lines (and gave NextBus info for both of them) and that also served as a place for people to sit and wait for the 19 Polk was a bad idea.
The notice that the stop was being discontinued only went up on Thursday, and the stop was completely dismantled by Monday? Not okay.

With the new stop in front of the Ballroom, I doubt they will be putting in a bus shelter, because there is just no space.

Bad call, Muni. I am all about discontinuing useless bus stops, but this was not one of them.

UPDATE: On the SFMTA site I found this. It says the stop was discontinued on 4/28. Which it wasn't, because I caught the bus there on Thursday.