This morning I walked to the bus stop, in the rain. It was dark out. The sky was a matte charcoal grey color, thanks to the time change and the bad weather.
There was a man sitting in the bus shelter. The hood of his sweatshirt pulled all the way over his head. His hands thrust in the pockets.
We didn't talk.
I had headphones on, listened to an old episode of This American Life.
A few minutes later the man got up, smiled at me and said, "I haven't been on this bus before. Does it go downtown?"
He was good looking, tall, with dark hair and with an accent I couldn't place. He wore black glasses with a gold detail at the temples. I wondered why he was up and about so early.
I took off my headphones and said it would take him all the way downtown, no problem.
"Good," he said. Then he shivered, said, "Can I get to Jones?"
I told him to let the driver know where he needed to get out, that they would probably let him know when they got there.
One of the regulars walked up - a woman who usually has too much perfume on, who spends a few minutes every morning cleaning out her purse, pitching tissues and receipts
and transfers into the trash next to the stop. Despite the perfume she's really very nice.
"I can't get used to this time change," she said, shaking her head. "And this wind, ugh."
"At least you've got a hat," I said. "My hair has doubled in size since I left the house, and that was maybe five minutes ago."
The man in the sweatshirt laughed. "I had a hat," he said. "But I lost it. That is why I am going downtown."
The woman and I both looked at him.
"I must have left it in the store," he said. "Perhaps when I was looking at things?"
"It's probably in the lost and found," the woman said. "Or behind the counter."
I looked at my watch. It was not even 6:30. What was he going to do, stand outside the store until they opened?
"How can I get to the harbor?" The man asked us.
?" Guessed the woman.
"The Bay?" I guessed.
"The Bridge," the man said. "Golden Gate?"
We showed him where to go to catch the 28.
"It'll take you right there," the woman said.
The bus was across the street. We got ready to board.
The woman reached for her wallet but it wasn't in her purse. "I changed bags this morning," she explained. "I must have left my wallet at home."
"Hopefully if it's our guy he'll let you on," I said.
"Let's hope," she said.
The bus pulled up and we got on. The driver, our usual, nodded at the woman and handed her a transfer.
The man in the sweatshirt slumped in to one of the seats in the front of the bus.
I wonder if he got his hat back. What he was going to do at the bridge.