Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Long ride this afternoon – the earlier bus must have been out of service because the bus was packed. Sunnie sat in the front of the bus next to a trio of blonde middle schoolers who were headed home from an afternoon sketch class at CCA.
I sat in front of a man who was on the phone with his mother. “My niece has an issue with her mother,” he said.
In my mind, I drew a family tree. His niece and her mother. His sister, his mother’s daughter, I guessed.
“And it’s the kind of thing she’s got to address the root problem. No. That’s the truth. Well, It’s something I know about but I’m not going to tell you. But she’s not going to start respecting her mother until they talk about it,” he went on. When he shifted in his seat he smelled beery, sweaty, a little skunky.
Mission Street, and the bus emptied and filled again, as predictable as the tide.
A teenage couple squished together against the side of my seat. The boy was a giant, well, not really, but he seemed built on a larger scale than the rest of us. His enormous hands settled on his girlfriend’s waist.
A woman in the front of the bus started yelling at the other passengers, and at people outside. Nothing she said made any sense. Her voice was guttural, almost frantic at times. Sunnie turned around and caught my eyes. She pursed her lips, shook her head.
The driver didn’t flinch.
At Fillmore I switched to the 38. It was packed. Four kids standing to my right, in front of the door, had a slap fight for the next five minutes. They got out at Baker. An old man shuffled down the aisle and stood next to me, clutching the bar. He walked with a very noticeable limp but no one offered him a seat. I kept my eye on him, in case he lost his footing, and watched the seats around us to see if anyone was going to get up for him. Not a chance.
Back in the neighborhood I walked past a half dozen produce markets on my way home. Plums seem to be on sale this week, the dark purples to the golden yellows. Zucchinis at rock-bottom prices. A display of deep pink dragon fruit, or as I first learned to call them, pitaya.
The woman from our local dim sum joint, headed to the bank. “You just finish work?” she asked me, smiling in recognition.
“Yep,” I said. “You’ve got a couple more hours, huh?”
“Three,” she replied. “See you later.”
Further down the block, the girl at the bakery stopped mopping to wave hello.