Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Bus Report #657

Tuesday morning I got on the 22 and the driver said, "Why weren't you here yesterday?"
"I was traveling back from Thanksgiving," I told him.
"Well, it's good to see you," he said.

The man with the terrible rose-scented cologne sat next to me as he often does. I reached up and opened the window to get some fresh air.

A few stops later, I saw my first Santa hat of the season, perched on the head of a tall, gangly guy in a beige suit.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Bus Report #656

This morning I walked out to catch the bus, my headphones on, my music blaring.
It was dark out, and foggy, and I felt good.
I skipped down the block until I hit Geary.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Bus Report #655

I left work late tonight, and ended up on the 33, smashed up against the window of the bus as we rolled through the dark.
My seatmate was reading Cormac McCarthy, but I didn't see which book. She kept pulling her phone out of her pocket, jabbing at it a little, then putting it back in her pocket.
At Mission the bus emptied out. Night time, but 16th Street BART plaza was still packed with people. No surprise.
Approaching the Castro and one woman turned to the girl sitting behind her. "Where did you get your stockings?" she asked.
"Urban," said the girl.
"Oh yeah, how much?" asked the woman.
The girl shook her head, said, "I don't remember."

A fire or police action on 18th a few blocks up from Mollie Stone's. Flashing lights, no smell of smoke.

A nearby storefront empty except for a bright pink feather boa floating in the window, surrounded by soft lighting.

People forget that at night, when their shades are up, we can see in to their homes. I wanted to browse a bookshelf in a dark wood-paneled living room off of 18th Street.

A man sat in his window, his TV screen less than a foot in front of him, his mouth slightly open, his feet stretched out along the windowsill.

I peeked in to a kitchen off the panhandle, chestnut colored wood cabinets with frosted glass fronts. A plant hanging in the window, the light on, no sign of anyone around.

I was in the Haight last week but it still looked different to me, a new shop or restaurant here, a boarded up storefront there.
At Stanyan I got a new seatmate, a woman wearing (what looked like) a snakeskin jacket. She smelled like old meat, whether it was the jacket or something else I couldn't say.
She spent the rest of her ride rummaging through her two large bags, and elbowing me in the side as she did it.
A bearded boy stepped down from the bus at Fulton. He sat down on the curb and fiddled with his ipad. The light from the screen was the only light nearby. His face seemed to glow as he hovered over it.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Bus Report #654

When my 38 Geary driver pulled up this morning, the bus was empty and dark. He opened the door and said, "They didn't give you the day off?"
I smiled and said, "You either, huh?"
He held a lollipop in his hand. He licked it. "Nope," he said.

The 22 was empty, too, but by the time we got to Turk there were about a dozen passengers, most people napping or listening to headphones.
A man with a cane got on the bus. The driver held his hand out and said, "Man, you try this every day, you tried this 20 minutes ago. You can't be on this bus. Get off."
The man said, "This ain't no beer, it's for my eyes. It's for my eyes," and he started getting in the driver's face, shoving his 'eye medication' at the driver, and cursing him out.
"You've got to get out of this bus," the driver said again.
The man kept yelling, even began threatening the driver. Finally, he called our driver a "Bitch ass N----," and got off the bus.
The driver shut the door. "Maybe, but at least I'm well paid," he said.

It might be a holiday today (thanks for your service, veterans and active duty military personnel!) but at the coffee shop it was business as usual.
James was there and we chatted for a moment.
"I thought you'd taken the season off," I said. "Haven't seen you since baseball ended."
"I went down to Houston," he said, shaking his head. "Too damn hot down there."
"Welcome home," I said.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Bus Report #653

Due to a new schedule, I now see Carmen most afternoons instead of in the mornings.
It is great to see her, even if I can't easily save her a seat like she used to do for me in the mornings.
The other day the seat beside me was empty so I waved her down when the bus picked up passengers at her stop. We rode toward home together and caught up on things, and laughed like we always do.
At Geary we ran for a 38L and crowded onto the back of the bus.
There was an empty seat and I urged her to take it.
"Because I'm an old lady?" she said.
"Oh please," I said. "Old? No way."
"Ah," she said, grinning. "Well, you are fifteen, right?"
I laughed. "Mmmm, well, twice over," I said.

Bus Report #652

In front of Thee Parkside waiting for the 22 Fillmore.
Two large vans with extra equipment attached to their backs tried to park across the street. It wasn't going to happen but they kept trying.
There were a few of us waiting for the bus, mostly regulars.
A UPS driver I know drove by and waved, and I waved back.
"Friend of yours?" Asked another regular, a woman with a cloud of permed hair framing her face and a large starfish necklace around her neck.
"I've known him for years," I said.
Just then, a woman in a bright orange t-shirt came by, yelling and shouting in our direction but as she was speaking in tongues and making no sense, she was mostly just yelling at herself.
"Oh man," said the woman with the starfish necklace.
The yelling woman stopped walking and waited at the far end of the bus stop.
"Hopefully the driver won't let her on," I said, as the woman continued shouting, cursing, and lunging at passersby.
Of course the driver let her on, didn't even ask for her fare, and she sat in the front of the bus babbling and yelling at everyone. She directed most of her attention at the woman with the starfish necklace, and at a couple seated across from her.
She stumbled out of the bus at Geary.

I waited for the 2 Clement, and after a few minutes starfish necklace woman walked over to wait, too.
"That was quite a ride," I said.
"It's a full moon tonight," she said.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Bus Report #651

A slow, slow ride home tonight.
The 22 came on time, with a new driver, a woman who refuses to smile.
I got on and sat in a window seat towards the back, my headphones on, and I zoned out to the best of my ability.
We made our way down 17th to 16th and up to the Potrero Center. We were moving quickly enough, until we got to the Bryant Street stop.
A wheelchair passenger needed to get on, but no one was moving from the seats in the front of the bus.
The driver slowly stood up and said, "You gotta move," but with no sense of urgency.
A few people moved toward the back of the bus. A young man in a suit and a tie flipped the seats up.
Just as the driver lowered the lift, a woman with two kids tried to get out through the front door.
She did not seem to understand why the driver wouldn't let her out, and instead of walking to the back door she stood there next to the driver, with both kids, completely in the way.
When the wheelchair passenger tried to get on, the woman with the kids did not budge.
The driver did not say anything, either.
Eventually the wheelchair passenger maneuvered into her spot. The woman with the kids got out.
We crawled to the light and sat there another light cycle.

Mission Street, a crowd gathered in the BART plaza because two men and a woman were fighting. They were all yelling at each other and people in the crowd kept trying to calm them down.
The bus driver didn't seem to notice or care.

We continued our slow commute up 16th, down Church, stopped for way too long by Safeway as every person and vehicle imaginable crossed in front of our bus. Just one of those nights, I guess, but I had things to do and could feel my night slipping away from me more and more.

We got to Geary and I ran to catch the 38L.
Much better, I was home in fifteen minutes.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Bus Report #650

Waited for the 22 Fillmore in the dark this morning, for over twenty minutes.
When the bus finally came into view, I smiled - the bus was hurtling towards the stop at a breakneck speed, so I knew it was my favorite early morning driver, he of the dark glasses, leather hat and brilliant smile.
"Well hey there," he said, leaning out of his seat after he yanked the doors open. "How have you been?"
I smiled, patted his arm. "I've been good, thanks. Great to see you."
I sat by the door, next to the coffee cup girl. She was reading Moby Dick.