Monday, December 04, 2017

Bus Report #997

Yesterday afternoon I took the 38 Geary downtown, to meet Civic Center Michael and a couple of his friends at the SFMOMA, so we could experience our beloved The Visitors sound installation again before it closes.

The bus was already fairly packed. I sat down in the back and at the next stop, a trio of burnout guys got on and one of them squeezed in beside me. He reeked of beer. It was coming out of his pores and smelled terribly stale. He balanced a beer, a folded piece of newspaper and two self-help books on his lap. He talked, loudly, with his friends.

A mom with two little kids got on and sat in the very back. Her daughter carried a thick book but I couldn't see the title. Her little boy wore a Pokemon hat and sat quietly next to his mom.

At Arguello, three older folks got on. One woman held an envelope with an address scrawled on it.
She asked me if we were on O'Farrell. They were headed to the Curran.
"This is Geary," I said, "But we'll switch over to O'Farrell. And then you'll just walk up one block to get to the theater."
"Thanks," she replied. "You really know your way around Muni!"
I smiled. If only she knew.
We chatted a little. Her friends were from Quebec and she was taking them to see Bright Star. Last night, they'd all gone to see Beach Blanket Babylon.

Divisadero. An older man got on, with his cane and a smart-looking little brown case. He hobbled up the stairs and joined all of us in the back of the bus. By now, my beer-odor seatmate had moved to the back and he helped the older man sit down. He picked up his fallen glove and tossed it up, caught it, tossed it up, caught it again, and then handed it to the man.
"Bless you," said the older man.

When the little boy in the Pokemon hat started to fuss, the beer-odor man said to the mom, "Man, I've got two daughters - 25 and 19 - and a grandkid, and I just love them all to death." I snuck a glance at him. He didn't look any older than 45. I tried imagining him as my grandfather. I couldn't do it.

The mom and kids got out a few stops later. The elderly man said, "You take good care of those kids, you hear?" and the mom nodded, smiling.

The Curran-bound folks smiled and the Quebec wife shook her head. The woman with the envelope directions just said, "That's Muni for you."

And it was.

Once downtown I went to go meet Michael and his crew. We enjoyed a lovely afternoon at SFMOMA. Inside The Visitors, people were really into the exhibit. One woman sat cross-legged on the floor, sketching the musicians. Several children danced the music or sat, enthralled, in front of the bathtub screen. As usual, people entered the exhibit talking and playing with their phones, but eventually most of them found a spot to stand in and they stayed rooted in place for quite a while.

A grandma in a beautiful red coat whispered to her little granddaughter, "Look at him, in the tub with his bubbles. We wouldn't want him in our bubble bath!"

I smiled. Said to Michael, I wouldn't mind him in mine.

This morning the bus was almost empty, save for a few regulars.
The mom with the two little boys, the little one still sleepy in his stroller.

Three men got on at Corbett and chatted in sign language. Well, two chatted and one did his best to not participate, looking away almost the entire time.
The little boy with the wire-rimmed glasses was entranced. His mom scolded him not to stare, but I don't think the chatty men really cared.


Anonymous Loora said...

I love how the bus becomes a photograph of an entire city...

3 to go to reach 1000 !!

9:15 AM  
Blogger Michael Strickland said...

Dear Rachel: Just ran across this post. Belated Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

3:51 PM  
Blogger Rachel said...

Thanks, Anne and Michael!
It is always much appreciated.

3:17 PM  

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