Bus Report #899
With the rainy weather the buses are wet and the floors slick. People flop their soaked umbrellas up onto the seats. The windows are shut (but never tightly enough) and fogged up, making the dark streets all look identical.
People carry bags full of paper-wrapped gifts. I worry the gifts will get waterlogged in transit.
Last night, stepping off the 22 Fillmore, I see two boxes of Streit's brand matzo ball mix sitting on top of a trash can near the Castro.
Later, a chatty, catty couple on the 24 Divisadero argue about one of the men's sister's and her spoiled daughter. I've told you a million times what the problem is, said the other man. Let's not talk about it, said the uncle. Let's never talk about it again.
On the 38, a man sits down beside me and I realize he is sitting on my jacket.
Excuse me, can I just pull my coat back from under you? I ask.
I don't know, he jokes, I think it's mine now.
Across from us his friend, a pretty woman in ox blood red lipstick and a fur hood just smiles. She has a little too much makeup caked on her cheeks but her eyes are bright and intense.
A pair of smelly, fall-down-drunk, grizzled guys have a passionate discussion about economics as one of them struggles to keep upright in his seat and his friend sways with the movement of the bus.
It's not that it's the new gold rush, it's just that it's the same mentality, the standing man says.
They are funny. The woman in the fur hood cuts her eyes in their direction, then looks at me, then smiles a thin-lipped smile.
She's not the only one.
The men standing to her right grin, too, at me, at her, at their own reflections in the window.
Why do we park on a driveway but drive on a parkway? asks the standing man. His friend does not know the answer. Whaddaya mean, drive on a parkway? We don't drive anywhere.
No, no, it's a joke, get it? says his friend.
The woman in the fur hood smiles again, wider this time.
And I catch my reflection in the window and see that I'm smiling, too.
Happy New Year and Merry Christmas, all.