Thursday, December 15, 2016

Bus Report #950

Last night I caught the 22 after work, on my way to meet up with some friends.
The back of the bus was disgusting - it looked as though a bunch of 12 year olds had held a crazy party. The floor was littered with squished chocolate candies, Sour Patch Kid candy with accompanying sweet and sour dust, huge chunks of beef jerky, mashed Junior Mints and those little white popper things that kids get- the ones that come in the tiny cardboard boxes (there were those on the floor, too) that you can throw to make a tiny explosion.
Most of the seats were covered in candy and beef jerky, too.
Everyone looked around and shook their heads. People tried to avoid stepping on the mess but as the bus filled up, it became impossible.
I think I probably still have some of the candy gunk on the bottom of my shoes.

This morning, Clement Street smelled like bacon and the sugary, buttery, bready smells from all our neighborhood bakeries.

I ran in to the shtetl scholar and we chatted a moment, and finally introduced ourselves. He has a name now, so from now on, if we remember, let's call him C. for short.

Later, our friendly driver (the one who looks like Jason), told me his weekend had been less than relaxing. He'd spent it Christmas shopping. I told him I hope he can get some rest on his next days off.

In Potrero I ran in to Jeff, who has a woodshop somewhere on 17th Street. We used to always chat at Peet's but since I rarely go there anymore, now we tend to meet in the middle of 16th Street, or the corner of Potrero, for a quick hug and a catch up.

The walk to work the rest of the way was quiet. Quiet and a little rainy, the only sound my shoes squishing against the wet pavement.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Bus Report #949

Monday morning I got to the bus stop and soon realized, oh horror of horrors, that my Muni pass was at home, in my other jacket.
At least, I hoped it was.
I dug out cash fare, something I can't remember doing in San Francisco in years and years.

When the bus arrived, I got on and said good morning to the driver (the friendly guy who reminds me of Jason), and started shoving my dollars into the fare box.

"I don't think I've ever seen you pay with cash," he said, amused.
"I can't remember the last time I did," I replied.

He handed me a transfer, one that was good until 2:30 PM.

Yesterday I took the 19 downtown after work to run some errands.
The man sitting beside me was so twitchy, it was making me feel twitchy, too.

At Market Street I transferred to a 21 Hayes and was soon at my destination.

Later, heading home on the 38, the windows were steamed up and my seat mate could not figure out where we were. He kept craning his neck to look out our window, the other window, the passengers.
I took off my headphones at one point and said, "We're at Van Ness."
"I can't see anything!" he said, shaking his head. "It's just so dark out and everything."
I pointed to the neon signage at Mel's to explain how I knew where we were.

He got out at the next stop, and a dozen or so guys got on, all of them wearing soccer jerseys from all over the world. Germany, Spain, England, maybe even one from China, I could not be sure. They spoke in a mishmash of differently accented Englishes and a little German.

This morning when my bus arrived, the driver (tall, bearded, be-baseball-capped, bespectacled) smiled and greeted me with a friendly, "Good morning... Rachel."

I'd given him a holiday gift card yesterday (from Peet's!). Apparently, he'd been able to decipher my crazy handwriting and now we were going to be on a first name basis.

"Good morning!" I replied. "What's your name, by the way?"

It was James. I liked the way he said it, drawing the 'ames' part out a little longer than expected.

Friday, December 09, 2016

Bus Report #948

It has been very rainy this week, and windy, the opposite of good Muni weather.
Wet bus seats, dripping umbrellas, the stink of wet clothes and stuffy buses.


The mornings have been even quieter, cozier than usual. I've drowned in layers of wool this week, warm and itchy and heavy. Good.
Clement Street in the early morning dark.
Everything covered in a sheen of water.

The woman who I sometimes chat with at the bus stop waits for her 2 Clement bus. She turns and waves as I pass by.

Tributes to Thomas, our neighborhood homeless man who passed away a few weeks back, still stuck to the side of the Walgreen's. The paper signs looking old, their writing blurs as it washes away.

Down the block, the man who sits and mumbles in front of the doughnut shop greeted me yesterday with a very lucid, "Good morning and happy holidays to you."
I nodded, wished him the same.

Even in the rain, the door that leads up to the wetsuit landing is ajar, the light in the hallway upstairs as intriguing, as inviting as ever.

The sky. Last night, walking to the bus down on Market and Montgomery, I looked up.
It was a grey, brown, and pea soup green night, the fog enveloping the tops of the buildings though I could still read the sign for the Hobart Building towering above me. Near the streetlights the sky was green and yellow.

At the Muni stop by Sutter Street, a woman idled her car so she could dig in to her purse. Behind her, the 38L honked but she was oblivious. The man standing beside me said, "Can you believe her? She's not only not watching what she's doing, but she's in the bus lane!"
"I know," I told him. "Crazy."

This morning the rain had stopped for a moment, but the streets were as damp and slick as they've been all week. I tucked my umbrella into my bag and still have not needed it today.

Halfway down the block I saw the shtetl scholar lean out his front gate and wave to me, and I waved back. I haven't seen him in over a week, so it was nice to see him, or at the very least, his arm, as I walked to catch the bus.