Friday, December 30, 2011

Bus Report #662

The 2 Clement, a few days after Christmas.

The bus was crowded but my folks and I got seats in the back of the bus.
Sitting next to my father was a man who was unmemorable in every way but one.

He had his eyebrows draw on, thick, sharp, brown lines that extended from his nose, up over his real eyebrows, then around and down to his ears. Whatever he had used to draw them on had smudged, so that the closer the line got to his ears, the lighter and messier it got.

He was dressed like all the other day laborers and construction workers you see on the bus every day. His boots were white with dust.

What on earth had he been thinking?

My mom and I smiled at each other. I tried to get my dad's attention, but it took a while. When he finally took a look at his seatmate, he grinned and nodded.

I wondered about the man with the drawn-on eyebrows. Surely he had a friend or co-worker who could have pulled him aside at any point and said, "you know, that doesn't look natural," or, "I think you might want to try something different."

The man got out at Van Ness.

I silently wished him luck.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Bus Report #661

Christmas Eve, waiting for the 14 Mission, my visiting parents in tow.
We were by Embarcadero. Across the street, several homeless people were lying on the sidewalk, in a patch of sun.
A family walked by - the mom in a sequined shirt I could see from across the street, the dad in a suit jacket, the little daughter in a bright red coat and a black fur hat.
There was something strange about them and I nudged my mother to take a look at them.
They walked towards one of the homeless women and stopped.
I thought, oh, how nice, they're going to give her something, Christmas spirit and all that.

But no.

Instead, the dad leaned down and talked to the woman, and then the little girl went up to her and...


She smiled, gave a thumbs' up and waved at her mom as she took the photo, then the three of them skipped down the street.

I hope they gave the woman money. A lot of it.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Let's help Julie!

Julie Michelle is the local photographer behind I Live Here: SF, and a wonderful person to boot.Her partner Lee recently had a stroke and they could use some help.
Julie's done so much for us, let's turn it around and help her out...
Check out this link for more info.

Bus Report #660

Last night the 22 was crowded when I got on, and there were a dozen or so men scattered throughout the bus, each man hauling a large trash bag full of stuff.
I took the window seat beside one of the men. He moved his bag so I could sit down.
"You can put it near my feet," I told him. "I'm not getting out for a while."
"Me, either," he said. He spent most of the ride picking lint off his track suit and staring out the windows.
Occasionally he would run his hand over his shaved head and inspect a cut above his eye when he could catch his reflection in our window.
Whenever I shifted in my seat he would start to stand up. "You're okay," I said each time. "I'll let you know when I need to get out."
After we passed Church Street he began getting twitchy. He would stand up and look around, sit down again. He leaned over me and peered out the window.

He got out at Hayes with the rest of the trash bag-carrying men. They were all headed for the half way house down the block.
I watched them go, this troupe of men, and though I didn't say anything, I wished them luck.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Bus Report #659

This morning there were already people lined up by the Fillmore, with a barricade partially set up. A dozen other people unloaded a large truck in front of the venue - loading in the night's show, I guessed. But who were these people waiting outside the Fillmore at 6:30 AM, in the dark?
A look at the show schedule gave me my answer: Metallica fans.

The 22 pulled up and I got on. It was empty. "How's it going?" I asked the driver.
"Better, better," he said.
"Better is good," I replied.
I sat down and the driver said, "You've got the bus to yourself, at least for a couple of stops."
"I'll make the most of it," I told him.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Bus Report #658

Coming home from downtown last night, the 38 stopped to pick me up in front of a row of shuttered stores in the first block of Geary.

I sat behind a boy with a huge suitcase with the words "Polo Classic" written in big block letters all around the side of it.
He had a bag, too, stuffed under the seat, right up against my toes.

Mel's on Geary and Spruce had half the neon burned out on its sign so that it said, "Mel's Vein" - And I liked that.

A couple of drunk boys got on at Arguello and spent the next few minutes peering out the windows to make sure they didn't miss their stop.
At 9th, one of the boys said, "this is our stop," but none of them moved.