Monday, August 25, 2014

NPR Suggestions for On-Board Reading

I saw this on the NPR website this morning and had to share - especially since my love of Geoff Ryman's book 253 is endless and there are other books on the list that have a special place in my heart, too.

The 253 website is always located linked in our sidebar, but here it is again, just for fun.


NPR's Tales of City Transit

What transit-related books/media do you like to indulge in, either on Muni or off?

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Bus Report #833

This morning the bus was early, almost ten minutes ahead of time. So strange.
The friendlier of the two construction workers, the one who always tries to talk to me but we can never understand each other, slid into the seat beside me.
He held up his phone and pointed at the time, and said, "Early!"
I agreed. "Very early. Weird."
He nodded and turned his attention to his phone for a few minutes, before holding it out to me again. He pointed at some words on the screen - Chinese characters translated into a few English words below them.

Bus very early.

"Yes," I said, nodding, "Very early today."

"Very early today," he echoed.

Bus Report #832

If I didn't know yesterday was the first day of school for San Francisco kids, the familiar sight of Mr. Henry Taylor, the world's oldest school crossing guard, shuffling towards me down Fillmore, would have been enough of an indication.

Mr. Taylor held his STOP sign in his hand as well as his signature plastic bag with his bright yellow vest in it. He wore his yellow cap and a patterned sweater (reminiscent of a Bill Cosby sweater) that dwarfed him and made him look even smaller than he actually is.
He smiled and held out his tiny, wrinkled hand, and we shook and caught up on a summer's worth of doings while waiting for the 22.

Behind us, one man was sleeping, flopped over on his side on a bench. Another man with a banged-up walker sat on the other bench, his gaze turned to the left as he watched for the bus.

"Are you excited for the first day?" I asked Mr. Taylor.
He smiled and nodded. "Be honest with you, I'm glad to be back," he said.
We chatted for a few minutes and then he said, "Well, I'm going to walk today, so I'll see you later. Have a good day."
I smiled and said, "You, too. Great to see you."

My bus arrived and I got on. When our bus passed by Mr. Taylor, still making his way down Fillmore, he caught my eye and grinned and waved, and I waved back.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Bus Report #831

Last Wednesday, on the 22 Fillmore-

In the morning, Mister Fantastic but no pretty man.
Mister Fantastic rocked purple jeans and unlaced boots, and a blue and white checkered shirt. Neon wristlet tucked into back pocket. New black rucksack hanging off his shoulder.

Later, in the evening, pretty man but no Mister Fantastic.
Pretty man sat in a window seat, looking like a punk ballet dancer with a watch cap decorated in safety-pinned patches, tight tight black pants and his flowy black shirt, his delicate fingers laced comfortably on top of his leather pouch.

One of these days these two will overlap. I just hope I'm there to see it.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Bus Report #830

Last night I ventured out into the far away Sunset, to meet friends for dumplings way out on Taraval. Way, way out.
After supper we went to wait for the 66 Quintara. With 20 minutes to spare we started walking down 29th, a quiet residential street.
The night was still and warmer than we expected, the sky a deep blue-black. The walk was good, it was strange to be the only people out and when we finally stopped a few blocks later in front of a bus stop, the only other sign of life was a raccoon darting down the sidewalk into someone's yard.

When the bus arrived we were the only passengers, for the entire ride.

 I can't remember the last time that happened. When the bus stopped at 9th and Judah to spit us out, we thanked the driver and headed off towards home.

Bus Report #829

Monday afternoon I noticed a newly erected sign in my afternoon bus stop, an official bus stop sign with a green strip attached to it that said the spot was now also a private shuttle stop.

Last night, Tuesday, the bus stop was gone, zoned (I think) for private buses only (I will double check this week). A woman waiting in the stop flagged the bus down and the driver pulled over to let her on, told her to catch the bus at the stop on the next block and then he said, "This stop canceled."
"Canceled?" said the woman, baffled.
"Canceled?" I said, "But I just caught the bus there last night."
"Canceled," said the driver, with no offer of further insight.

Now look - I am all for eliminating bus stops, there are too many on a lot of routes and it is unnecessary and slows us all down. But. You gotta tell us you're doing it ahead of time. I am a noticer, I'd have seen any signs posted to tell us about the change. No signs. None at all.

And taking it out of service for a private shuttle bus? Hmmm. It doesn't set well with me, not today at least.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Bus Report #828

Late afternoon ride home on the 22 on Monday, squished into a seat beside a woman who wouldn't move her legs.

The bus stopped at Turk and a tall, older, white-blond guy got out, followed closely by another guy carrying a freshly dry-cleaned Giants jersey.

They had barely walked three steps when the blond man yelled, "Hey, you've got my wallet! He stole my wallet!" and he ran after the dry-cleaning guy to get his attention. I thought, this won't end well, never does, but then the guy with the dry-cleaning turned around and came over. They argued next to the bus, dry-cleaning guy denying it, blond guy still accusing, and then the man with the dry-cleaning asked the driver to open the back door of the bus.

The driver opened the door and the man ducked into the stepwell, reaching for the other man's wallet, which looked to be lying on the bottom step, safe and sound.

The two men shook hands, the blond guy checked that everything was there, and then they parted ways.

Was the wallet in the stepwell the whole time, or was it just a clever slight of hand by the man with the dry-cleaning?

We'll never know.

My seat mate looked over and said, "What just happened?"

I pointed to the two men, now walking off in different directions, and got her caught up to speed.
She shook her head. "I always tell my dad when he comes up to the city to be careful with his stuff," she said. "Cause you just never know."

We chatted a bit more and then I got out at my stop, called back to her that I hoped she had a good rest of the day.