This morning, all was well on the 33 Ashbury/18th until we turned from Haight onto Ashbury - where our bus suddenly lost power.
The driver tried to restart the bus a few times but it was useless. At least she'd set the brakes so we didn't roll back down the slight incline into the intersection.
She called Control and, calmly and clearly, told them where we were stuck and what she thought the problem was.
They didn't understand, so she repeated herself three times, until they parroted back to her what she'd said, and then said they'd get right back to her.
She turned around and told us she was sorry but she had no power, and we weren't going anywhere. She said, "I'm really sorry I can't get you guys where you need to go this morning. But the next stop is just up there," and she gestured to the corner of the next street.
An elderly Russian woman frowned and said, "The same thing happened the other day and the driver he fix it."
I asked our driver if a bus would be able to go around her, or if it was an electrical issue.
"Oh, he should be able to get around me," she replied.
I tapped the fare box with my knuckles and wished her good luck.
She chuckled and said, "thanks, I need it."
The 10 or so of us who had been on the bus congregated on the corner. Most of the other riders were doctors, nurses and administrators at SF General, the man who reeks of Axe body spray and a woman I thought was a teacher at a school near the Castro.
One of the other regulars, a man with thick glasses and a pocket size radio he always listens to with the speaker jammed up against his ear, waved goodbye to the Axe body spray guy and walked off up the hill.
A couple minutes later another 33 bus came around the corner. Our savior!
The driver cleared the corner and managed to come around the other bus, but then he too stopped and shook his head. No electricity in the over head wires, he said, getting out of the bus to come deliver the news to us.
I could walk to work from the Upper Haight, but I really didn't want to. I've walked from Geary and Fillmore and it is a hike. This would be a mostly downhill journey, but still.
One of the SF General folks looked around and asked if anyone wanted to split a cab to General. The rest of the General folks agreed and they all clustered together to call a ride.
I turned to the young teacher. "Hey," I said, "You get out around Castro, right?"
She nodded. "Yeah, near there."
I asked her if she wanted to split a cab.
She looked at me, as though sizing me up, and agreed.
We walked down the hill to Haight, where I figured we'd have a good chance of getting a cab, or if no cabs were around, we could find a ride share.
Four cabs immediately streamed by. We caught one and headed down Haight to Divisadero.
The teacher's name was Karen. We chatted a little along the way. She likes teaching, and so far the year was going better than she'd thought it would at the start.
She got out at 17th and Church and I rode a bit further, and hopped out 16th and Bryant.
Well, I say hopped, but as uncoordinated as I am sometimes, it was more like a slide, then a stumble, and then a mad grab for the door handle.