Sunday, April 27, 2014

Bus Report #810

Thursday night, on my way downtown to meet some of the CJM folks, I hopped on an F Market and rattled down Market Street for a few blocks.

A man stood by the back door, repeating a ritual. He'd squat down and tap a plastic razor against the steps or the doors a couple times, then stand up and, looking in the mirror, attempt to dry shave his face and neck with the razor.
The razor was beyond dull and it didn't matter how many times he tried to shave with it. Nothing happened.
By the end of my ride he'd repeated his ritual a dozen times, perhaps more, and had nothing to show for it except reddish trails across his cheeks and down his neck.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Bus Report #809

Mr. Fantastic's outfit yesterday:

Blue and white varsity jacket, black jeans, designer sneakers in black, red and gold, Giants hat in a Hawaiian print, Clark Kents, ever-present neon yellow wristlet.

Bus Report #808

Tuesday I waited 40 minutes for the 22 Fillmore, and today I waited 25 minutes.
I'd report it, but I'm sure Muni would just blame an operator shortage and shrug it off.

During Tuesday's wait, the smiley teen and I stood in the bus stop and tried to avoid the dozens of pigeons and seagulls mobbing the food scraps on the street in front of us.

At one point the smiley teen took off her headphones and held her cell phone out to me. "It keeps saying 15 minutes!" she said, and shook her head.

I said, "Yeah, and you and I can't walk all the way, not really," even though I have walked from Fillmore and Geary to Potrero Hill a few times, out of Muni-related necessity.

Eventually a bus showed up, the driver unhurried and unfriendly, and we squished into the bus with at least two other buses' worth of passengers.

It wasn't long before the bus was packed tight, but the driver still stopped at every stop, even though no one else could get in.

At Mission, things emptied out a bit, but not much.
Roche Bobois guy got on and stood a few rows ahead of me, and nodded at me, mouthed 'good morning.'

This morning the bus stop was deserted. Ten minutes in, the construction workers and a skateboarder and a couple other people showed up, and then Mr. Taylor, the world's oldest school crossing guard shuffled in to view.
It is never good when he starts walking to work - it means at least another 10 or 15 minutes until a bus comes.
"Good morning, Rachel," he said, barely slowing his already slow stride. "It's gonna be another 15 minutes, and I can be at work already by then."
"You'll get there way ahead of me," I said. "Have a good day."

Friday, April 18, 2014

Bus Report #807

I stopped off at Orphan Andy's for a quick bite before writing group the other night and then ran to catch the 24 Divisadero bus. There is a lot of street improvement construction on Castro right now and the bus shelter was gone, nothing but a cryptic sign to tell me where to catch the bus.
It read: 50 ft. North of Jane Warner Plaza
I scanned the plaza, just the usual homeless folks, teenagers and a few friends meeting up after work. No sign of a bus stop. Peering around the corner into the street I saw another sawhorse a few feet away with a hastily scrawled "temp bus stop 24 37" on it.

So, with my back to the plaza I stood in the middle of the intersection and waited for the bus.
A mom and her daughter wandered in to the plaza and started asking everyone where the plaza was, and no one seemed able to tell her. "I'm just looking for the bus stop," she said.
"I think I'm in the bus stop," I called over to her, and they joined me a moment later.
Another woman wandered over, looking confused. "You guys waiting for the bus?" she asked.
We were soon joined by another woman, in a summery dress, rummaging through her purse while she said, "This doesn't seem like a good place for a bus stop."

The bus rolled up a few minutes later and we all got on. I slid in to a seat beside the woman in the summery dress. She made a phone call and soon I was treated to her opinion on her friend's daughter and grandbabies taking advantage of her. "If that girl has to use candles tonight, so be it," said the woman in the summery dress. "You do for her all the time, you shouldn't be payin' her PG&E."

Hey, I agreed with her.

I forget sometimes how fast it is to ride the 24 down Divisadero. Soon we pulled in to my stop and I got out, and crossed the street to meet up with my group at Oasis Cafe. 

Bus Report #806

My seatmate on the 38 Geary last night was reading a book entitled, America, You Sexy Bitch.

At Powell Street a street performer completely covered in gold paint got on the bus. You know the type: gold skin, gold clothes and shoes, gold hat, gold everything. Despite his shiny appearance he smelled terrible and spent the majority of the ride yelling at other passengers and mumbling to himself.

Closer to home, curb construction along Geary meant that many stops were moved a few feet from their official location, confusing a few girls in shorts and San Francisco-branded sweatshirts.

This morning I caught sight of my favorite driver, in his bus across the street from me in the opposite direction - he of the snappy hat, the brilliant white teeth and the sunglasses - and he rolled down his window and called out, "Happy Easter, Rachel!"
I smiled and called back, "You too!"

Bus Report #805

You may have noticed that the front-facing seats in the front of the bus, the ones that fold up, have been permanently disabled on many of the buses. According to Muni this is to keep people from flying out of those seats when the bus stops short. Muni claims this will be fixed by adding a barrier (based on what I've read).  This takes 4 seats out of service and, despite notices written in 3 or 4 languages, has been baffling people for the past week.

I have seen people shake the seats, kick them, scrabble for the lever, bang on the seat, everything except read the sign.

I have seen other people repeatedly point to the sign and say, "there's a note about it right here."
I have seen other people tap the kickers and scrabblers on the shoulder and say, "it's out of service."

Last night, a man tried every method possible to lower the seat, despite the mostly empty 2 Clement we were on.
Three women in the front of the bus referred him to the sign and also told him the seat was out of service, to which he replied with a stream of curses and threats, before he abandoned his mission and sat back for the duration of the ride.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Bus Report #804

Another morning on the 22 Fillmore.

Mister Fantastic, looking fantastic as always - Clark Kents, black jeans, hightops with the tops folded down, revealing a patterned contrast to the otherwise subdued black shoes, industrial-looking gold-tone ring, tote bag with gold-tone writing (I couldn't read it from where I sat) and his ever-present neon yellow wristlet.

The 80's lady, in her tights and short black skirt, her Reeboks and her parka.

A dad and his two little kids got on at Valencia. Dad chatted on the phone while the older boy, maybe around 2 years old, flirted and waved at the small dog (a Yorkie, perhaps?) that a man across the way was cuddling in his arms.