Big thanks to SFist for the shout out
on Friday, and hello to any new readers. I appreciate that you stopped by.
Sunday night, a little after 8:30, I headed out to catch the 38 to meet M. down on Polk. Sunday had been such a clear, bright, warm day but by evening it was cooler and a little windy. Biting. I stood in the bus shelter with my hands shoved in my pockets, and waited for the bus.
There was a man waiting, too, and he shivered and said, pretty cold tonight, huh?
Yeah, I said, and it was so warm just a few hours ago.
We got to talking - his buddy had just moved onto my block a few weeks earlier - and I gave him some suggestions of places they could try in the neighborhood.
The man lived on a hilly crescent over above the new Target on Masonic. He told me he liked the store, liked the Best Buy, but didn't like all the increased traffic.
I looked at my watch. This bus better get here soon, I said. I only have a few hours before I really need to be asleep.
The man nodded. Yeah, he said. I'm up before sunrise most days. He took his phone from his pocket and held it out for me to see a photo on it. This was the sunrise the other day, from my window, pretty nice, right?
It was, and I told him so. He said if he'd known the bus was going to take so long, he'd have stopped for some beer at the corner store.
Our bus came and we both got on. Nice talking to you, I said, and slid into a seat in the back next to a kid in a corduroy jacket, bright blue glass stud earrings.
Nearby, two men spoke a language I have never heard before.
We rattled down Geary. My seatmate got out, smiled at me as he left.
A woman sat down beside me, muttering to herself, a little stinky, blotchy open sores all over her face.
Someone tried to get out through the back door but didn't step down or touch the bar, and they missed their stop.
They never step down, not even if you yell at 'em, the woman said. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.
I had to agree. Talking to herself or not, she had a point.
You're right, I said. Even if they understand what I'm saying, half the time they don't even try to step down or anything.
She turned to face me, smiling broadly, and I saw that despite her sores and her old-before-her-time haggard look, she was actually kind of pretty.
Yes, yes, she said, and I had the feeling not many people had spoken to her lately.
We chatted a little and then it was my stop.
I'd been clockwatching the whole ride, anxious to get where I needed to be, but once I got out the bus I felt better, calmer.
Van Ness was empty and damp, and I walked quickly, not because I was nervous to be out alone but just because I felt good.
I got to the bar with a couple minutes to spare.