Friday, October 20, 2017

Bus Report #995

Last night, a crowded 19 Polk, headed inbound to my ceramics class at Fort Mason.
Our sweet bus driver smiled and said hello as I got on. Throughout the duration of the commute she called out all the stops and transfer points. Nice of her.

The bus was already full of kids from the school up the street, so I pressed my shoulder and hip up against the Plexiglas near the back door, my bag and legs almost smushed against an older, well dressed man sitting in a single seat.
He looked up and smiled. I tried not to stand too close to him, as Muni etiquette dictates.

As these things go, though, more people got in and soon my bag was pressed into his arm and my torso was almost grazing his shoulder.
All the way down 7th Street I was overly conscious of how close my body was to this stranger, the strap from my bag tugging my already low-cut shirt down even further, and it was an odd feeling.

Usually, I don't care - crowded buses mean everyone crushed up together - but there was something about the way he kept glancing up at me that was unnerving. You can tell when someone is eyeing you up and down. Appraising.
As we approached Mission, someone elbowed me from behind, catching me off guard.
I almost stumbled against the man.
I apologized, saying, "Sorry about that, I'm trying not to fall on you."
He raised his eyebrows, said, "I'm not bothered. I wouldn't mind.  I'm not complaining, about it."
Then he winked.
"Are you complaining about it?" he asked.

And for the millionth time in my life, I couldn't think of a decent answer.
Just stood there, my face hot, knowing I was probably blushing beet red and that even the blindest person on the bus could tell. Blushing more from my inability to say something back to him than from anything he'd said.
Because really, as women know, as everyone else is learning, this stuff happens all the time and it doesn't matter if you're in tight jeans and a revealing shirt or if you're buttoned up to the neck. You can be ten years old, or well in to your eighties. Our bodies and our style choices are, sadly, not ours to a lot of people.

We hit Market Street, and he asked if I was getting out. I said no, but moved so he could stand and get out. He smiled again as he left.
I slid in to his seat and stared out the window for the rest of the ride.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Bus Report #994

Last night I dreamed that a scraggly, wired, long-haired, droopy-mustached, thin-T-shirted man got on the 33 and stood in the front of the bus. After a moment of incoherent mumbling at the driver, he unbuttoned his jeans and proceeded to shoot up right in front of us, into in his thigh.

Friday morning the kind nurse and I were talking as we waited for the bus. She said, "I'm glad your cold and cough are gone, you had that for a while." I was touched. And yes, almost all summer, though I did not say that to her.

That night, on the 10 Townsend, we had just pulled in to 4th and King when a guy got out of his (too big for the city, extra fancy SUV) car and came up to the bus to tell our driver we'd just sideswiped him. Um, no, we did not touch your car, dude. We'd have felt it, something that big and useless.
Plus, there were no scratches on the SUV or on the bus.
The driver had no choice but to go out of service, despite several of us telling him we hadn't touched the car. I was annoyed, channeled it into filling out a witness card for our driver. I walked all the way out to Market Street and did not see any inbound 10 Townsends the rest of the evening.

And yesterday evening, three teens got on the 22 Fillmore by the Castro Safeway. One kid had a juice with an open top and as they got on the bus his bottle tipped and he somehow managed to fling what smelled like guava juice all over the floor and near some seats. An accident, nothing a few napkins or tissues wouldn't have remedied immediately. Of course the kids just laughed and cursed at each other and headed for the back of the bus.
Our driver eyed them, wearily, in the mirror but said nothing.
As the kids continued cursing and shouting, an older woman in the front of the bus called back to them to please stop it, as there were little kids in the front. She looked like a younger version of K's mom, and I was immediately rooting for her.
The teens laughed her off.
An older man tried to say something too, they laughed at him as well.
The driver stood up and came back to look at the juice puddle. "You guys gotta get out," he told them. "You know, everyone here wants to get home just like you do, and I'm not moving until you leave."
Yeah, those kids weren't going anywhere.

One man started in on the kids but they just kept laughing and cursing, made some obnoxious comments about him.
The driver got out and grabbed some old newspaper from the nearby trash can. The kids howled and made fun of him for it.
He waved over a supervisor who had been across the street talking to some N Judah operators.
The supervisor was bigger, taller than our driver and as the driver wiped up the juice with the newspaper (and a few napkins provided by the older woman) the supe coaxed the kids off the bus. "Come on, guys, you can take the next one. Let's go."
They eventually acceded, but not before getting in a few more verbal swipes at the man who had been trying to reason with them.
He didn't seem to care, but talked back to them anyway.
As the supervisor ushered the kids away, they pounded on the window next to where the man sat. He just shrugged and fiddled with his phone and we drove off.

This morning, smoky air again. Coughed my way to the bus stop, coughed my way down Arguello to Fulton, and most of the rest of the way.
The giant genie got on. Dandy comb, lotion, beard wax, the whole routine. Then he lotioned his legs and his knees, as he was wearing shorts today.

Walking the rest of the way to work I passed a handful of new tents right across from Safeway and UPS. Another dozen or so needles (of different sizes today, what a treat!) to report to 311.

Near the park, my favorite orange flowers and their vines have taken up most of the fence. So beautiful. Almost enough to wash away the grime this morning.

Monday, October 09, 2017

Bus Report #993

This morning, walking to catch the 33.
The sky was a smoky matte black - actually black - and I coughed the whole way down Clement.
The fires up north are bad, bad. Hearing the stories of the loss and devastation is almost too much.
When the bus arrived, the nurse, a twitchy dude, and I got on.
All the seats had a thin film of ash on them which must have blown in through the open windows.
I hoped Potrero would be clearer but it wasn't by much, at least not at 7:30 this morning. It looks better now.
My throat and eyes are still irritated from the smoke.
But I shouldn't complain.