Friday, September 30, 2016

Bus Report #935

This morning, the heat in my apartment kicked on as I was getting ready to head out.

Outside it was cold and dark. The sky was blue-black with a thin ribbon of white-blue at the top. No fog, and no wind.

A few people sat huddled over coffees at the doughnut place.

The homeless woman I worry about, constantly, was still asleep in her blankets in her usual doorway.

Further down the street, past the steamy windows of the Chinese bakery, past the propped-open door at Schubert's and the open door to the wetsuit landing, a man stood in a shop entry way. Was he talking to himself? Was he peeing? No. He was talking with, or at, a girl who sat cross legged on the ground with her back against the door. He wandered away up the street. The girl said, "She's the one. She's the one who did it."

I hurried past her, not wanting to be the 'she' the girl was talking about.

As I neared the bus stop, the woman who is always running past me to catch the 38 walked by.
"I think I'm on time today," she said, pausing to chat for a moment.
"Have a great weekend," I told her. "Hope you catch your bus all right."
"Thanks," she said. She waved and continued on her way.

Across the street from the bus stop, the blinds in two second-floor apartments were open and the lights were on. In one apartment a man sat with his toddler son. They ate breakfast while a TV blinked bright light that cast a weird shadow across the man's face.

In the other apartment, to my surprise, a man walked around the room naked, his back to the street. He stretched. He bent over and picked something up. Then, he sat down - on a bed, I imagine? and embraced his partner, someone I could not really see except for their black shirt with long sleeves.

I turned away. It was their moment, not mine.

In Potrero Hill I watched three crows fight over slices of pizza that had been lying on the sidewalk for two days.

Robins hopped across the green grass at Jackson Park. They are fearless little birds. One of them hopped closer to the fence and I swear he was watching me.

Thursday, September 08, 2016

Bus Report #934

This morning while I waited for the 33, the 21 sped towards our stop, as it has done for the past month. Muni must be routing it from the yard on Presidio.

But today was different. Instead of passing right on by, the bus slowed and the driver opened the door.
"You're a 21, not a 33, right?" I asked, peering in.
He nodded. "Yeah but I'll give you a ride to Stanyan if that's where you're headed."
How very nice of him!
I thanked him and told him I'd wait, and wished him a great day. He waved and drove off.

Five minutes later, my bus arrived. The driver was the man with the recently sprained wrist.
We greeted each other warmly.
"Hey, how's the wrist?" I asked.
"Aw, it's great, I don't have to wear my splint anymore," he replied.
"That's great news," I told him, and then walked back and took a seat.

Later, crossing the street in Potrero Hill, the smiley driver from a couple weeks ago rode by in his accordion bus, waving and grinning as he went.

Friday, September 02, 2016

Bus Report #933

Muni, always an experience, on a recent Sunday afternoon.
No problems getting there or running my errands. I even had time to browse some shops before heading home.
I hopped on the 38 and sat in a window seat on a bus that filled up very quickly.
My seatmate was an older man, somewhere between 55 and perhaps 65. He was skinny and his legs swam in his jeans. His leather jacket reeked of smoke and even though it was overcast, he wore dark sunglasses.

He did not say a word but when he sat down he immediately crossed his legs, tightly, and began rocking and swaying back and forth.
I can only describe it as the most frantic combination of bucking, bouncing and davening I've ever seen.
I was, of course, polite but grossed out - best case scenario he had a disorder that compelled him to do it, worst case - and do I really have to spell it out? - he was masturbating (albeit oddly, unless this is a thing?).

I shrunk closer against the window.

I'd have called him out for it if I'd seen any proof, but he mostly just rocked and rocked and rocked, his spindly legs bouncing up and down.

As it was, he was so slight I could have pushed him off the seat with the gentlest press of my finger.

We rode on, and on, and he rode on and on as well, sliding closer to me as I slid further from him.

At Fillmore, a girl in a bright pink T-shirt got on and sat behind us, shooting a look at my seatmate as she walked by.

Finally, thankfully, he got out the bus at Baker, the back of his pants streaked with wetness.
Disgusting! But hopefully our paths will not cross again.

As soon as the door closed, the girl in the pink shirt said, "I saw your face when I got on, I was all set to say something if he got worse, but I think he was trying to scratch his ass!"
I laughed, and she laughed too.
"I would have just pushed him into the aisle," I said. "But yeah, let's hope that's what he was up to."
"I was like, that girl looks like she's gonna kill that guy," she went on. "But I'm pretty sure he was just trying to scratch some hemorrhoids."
We both burst out laughing again.
"God, I hope so," I said.