Bus Report #615
It's a smooth ride down to Fillmore. You don't care either way; if you're late, you might get your favorite driver, and that is never bad.
Instead, the driver is new to you, friendly and smiley, but new.
You settle in to your seat after opening a few windows.
At McAllister, the poles come down so the driver slings her purse over her shoulder and gets out of the bus to fix it. You are on your way again in a couple of minutes.
At Mission Street the poles come down again, this time for good.
At least it is a straight walk down 16th to get to work from there, and the driver is apologetic as she explains to the boy with the limp: "There's no way these poles are gonna keep up for the rest of my route."
So you hop out and start walking, glad it's not too hot, glad you're not walking from McAllister or Church like you've done before.
Perhaps because you're not stressing, after a couple blocks a 33 Stanyan pulls up and you get on, ride a few stops to the coffee shop.
And maybe this is why you're a few minutes off schedule today - James is sitting in the window. And you've been worrying about him. It has been months since you've seen him, and as you open the front door you think, "he's still alive."
And he smiles, and he says, "Hey, I was wondering where you went!"
And you reply, "I'll come visit with you, just let me get my coffee first."
The barista fills your thermos, slides you a coupon for a free cup. You'll use it weeks later, running to get something hot to drink before a volunteer gig downtown.
Thermos in hand you go over to where James is sitting.
He greets you in his usual, friendly way, stuttering a little, but that's okay because for him, you've got the time.
"I can't complain," you say, an answer to his question about how things are going.
He smiles and throws his head back and says, "well, you could, but no one would listen to you!"
You leave the shop, telling James it's great to see him.
You say hi to the man pruning the hedge next door. You wave to the cluster of blue-jacketed people waiting to be let in to their office.
Across the street, Frank has his headphones on and is washing down a patch of sidewalk in front of the garage. He takes off one earphone and says, "Hey! What's going on?"
"Same old same," you reply. Which is true and also not true. But he smiles, wishes you a good day and gets back to his work.
The sun is so bright you are blind even with your sunglasses. As you climb the hill you feel the familiar pull in your legs that reminds you how good it feels to be walking up the street at such a steep grade.
And that's your morning.