This afternoon I
caught the 19 Polk after work. The bus was crowded but I found a seat quickly,
when two cute little kids and their mom stood up and got out at the next stop.
Four girls from the
middle school up the street (Or maybe it’s a high school? They all had
sweatshirts that said ‘class of 2017’ on them) sat in the front of the bus
cackling at each other, talking about another friend who had a crush on a boy
named Chris, while one of the girls swung from the pole and almost knocked in
to a couple of people.
The man sitting in
front of me wore a ski parka and smelled like old cigarettes.
A couple got on at
“The problem is,
the people that sign up for that class just don’t like to read. They aren’t
like us,” said the boy.
“They aren’t word
people,” the girl in the couple replied. “They don’t love words like we do.”
“No, they don’t,”
said her boyfriend.
At Civic Center,
two blond girls with matching frame packs, a fanny-pack-wearing tourist couple,
a frail man with a walker and a mom in a very ill-fitting spandex outfit with
her chatty little son got on, squishing the already packed together passengers
The driver stood up
and tried to Tetris us so that the man with the walker could sit away from the
And for once,
people actually listened and did their best, and made room for the man with the
walker and the mom with the chatty son. The frame pack girls bookended a couple
of bearded men in Giants T-shirts.
word-loving couple got out. Someone directed the fanny-pack tourists to the
Geary bus, and the frame pack girls sat down when the mom and her little son
got out at the first Polk Street stop.
On the sidewalk, a
family oohed and ahhed over their little kids’ crayon drawings. A woman stood
barefoot in the middle of everything, an empty plastic liquor nip bottle
hanging out of her mouth. Her face was pinched into what I can only call a
toothless, angry squint. She shuffled away and I didn’t see where she went.
A dad with his
little baby girl strapped to his chest knocked on the front door of the bus.
The driver didn’t
open the door. Instead, she called out, “There’s a bus right behind me.”
I got out at my
stop and went into the café. A second 19 Polk bus arrived a moment later.