Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Bus Report #1010

Muni nightmare last night, an actual nightmare.

I was riding the 22 Fillmore with a plan to switch to the 19 Polk and then back. For some reason it made sense in the dream to leave my purse and tote bag on the bus, because I'd just get it later.
Even in a dream, Muni doesn't work as planned. I got out of the 19 on Fillmore and McAllister and waited for the 22. I saw it coming but instead a 44 O'Shaughnessy pulled up and I got on.
I could see my 22 getting further and further away, with my purse and tote bag just sitting there on a seat, waiting for my return. The bus climbed higher and higher up the hill, and that was that. No purse, no wallet, no keys, no nothing. Did I even have my Clipper card?
I woke up scared and disoriented, seconds before my alarm clock went off.

This morning the 33 was on time, our new driver (let's call her Tasha) training an even newer driver.
Tasha wore a cool Presidio Muni yard sweatshirt. Muni worm lettering with flames dancing around the letters.

Barely any passengers but I suppose the early hour was the point: she could instruct the new guy without worrying about angry passengers. I think he did pretty well - took the turns like a champ, didn't ride the brakes.

I got out at Potrero and headed to work.
Waved to the guys at the garage, stepped around a knot of UPS drivers smoking on the corner.
Under the overpass I walked in the street to avoid an encampment and almost stepped on what was the largest hypodermic needle I've seen in a while.

In the park, birds and more birds hopping around in the grass. I saw three robin red breasts and I smiled. I always love those guys. 

As I crossed the street to get to work, a car almost hit me - after I'd made eye contact and signaled I was going to cross and everything. I yelled, I screamed, and nothing. The husband stared straight ahead and the wife shrugged at me, as though it was nothing. They kept going.
Half a block later they stopped to drop their precious child off at the ultra fancy private school we share a building with.
Didn't occur to them that perhaps I was someone else's precious child.

Friday, September 07, 2018

Bus Report #1009

Last night, late, after drinks and dinner with the Teacher's Pet.
Crowded bus but I got a seat without any trouble.
A man got on, clutching his arm (in a sling), and moaning, moaning. He did so for another four blocks before he got out, cradling his bad arm.

A couple stops later, a junkie guy with huge backpack and a dog got on. The dog was thin, her collar not quite fitting right, a pink bandana around her neck. The man dumped his bag on a seat and started pulling things out and then putting them back in. He ripped open a couple of packages of flash drives and tossed the packaging on the floor. Did the same with a new dog toy, dropping the toy onto the floor for his dog. She immediately began playing with it.

The man scratched at his hands, which were covered in scabs. Chewed on the butt of a cigarette. He was young but looked older than his years, sickly.
He coaxed the dog up onto the seat beside him.

At Fillmore he tried to get off the bus but his dog was sleeping on the seat and she wouldn't get up despite his yelling at her, "C'mon, get up, get up, get up." The doors closed and he yelled at the driver, who could not hear him from all the way in the back.
Half a block later the driver opened the doors. "You wanted to get out?" he said over the intercom.
"Well not anymore, not now," the man muttered.
He kept packing and unpacking his stuff for a few more blocks.

At Masonic a half dozen USF freshmen got on, one girl and five guys. An older woman walking behind them called to the girl, "How many boyfriends you got? Hey, how many boyfriends?"
The kids moved to the back of the bus, laughing.
"Is she talking about me?" Asked the girl. Her friend replied that she was, and then told her not to acknowledge the woman.
The woman sat down and began, or most likely continued, a rant.
"You want to go to a party tomorrow? I know the police commissioner. They're having a party at headquarters tomorrow and you can drink some beers. And then they can baptize you, and then you can pay $200 to punch a Buddhist nun in the face and you won't go to hell. I promise you. You can do it. They are Cambodian and Vietnamese and Chinese. They will let you." And on, and on.

The junkie guy muttered, "I could use $200."
He said, "Anyone want to punch me in the face right now for $200, go for it, I need that money like I need water."
The woman said, "You can punch them. I promise you. You can pay $200. You punch them in the face, you won't go to hell."
The man repeated, "I could use that $200."

He got out at 6th Avenue, no richer than before.

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Bus Report #1008

This afternoon, the 22 Fillmore bus headed home.
At McAllister a young man I've seen on the bus for years gets on, slides into the seat beside me.
I remember him as a teen. A quiet kid, quieter than his friends at least, big, but still a kid. Went to Everett, if I recall, then to Mission.
He has to be in his early 20s now, still big, still quiet, but something is not right with him.
I've seen him around town as well as on the bus.
All kinds of weather, all times of day. Just by himself. No friends.
Today. His clothes are clean but worn. Hair could use a trim. String of something clinging to his scalp. It is obvious he doesn't take the best care of himself anymore. Sitting beside me, his body emanates heat and dampness and he's restless. No jacket. Just a bottle of energy drink.
His brown eyes bloodshot but wet, and bright.
I can't help it, I worry.
Worry about him, and for him.
Is it drugs? Mental illness?

He glances at my shoes, my totebag, swigs his drink. Leans forward as though about to take off running.
He gets out by Panda Express, walks in through the front door of the restaurant. I watch him weave through the tables and exit through the back door.