Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Bus Report #1017

Back on the bus after an extended trip back east for the holiday and my sister's wedding.
Monday morning, Tasha behind the wheel. At Geary the mom with the two sons got on, sat right in front of me. We exchanged our good mornings. I asked how Thanksgiving was.
She smiled. "We ate so much food. Too much! And my mom, she made tamales, and they are so good."
"That sounds amazing," I told her.

Further along our route, the giant genie. Settling into his seat with his coffee and his oatmeal, his lotion, the dandy brush. His nail polish a subtle purple grey. He looks up from the oatmeal and smiles, and I almost die right there in my seat. Giant genie! Giant genie!

The cat in the window on 18th looks down on our bus and flicks his tail. We are all his subjects, and he knows it.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Bus Report #1016

I crisscrossed the city this weekend, mostly on Muni. The bad air quality made everyone a little quieter, more subdued.
I wanted to open the windows on the 28 on Saturday so I could smell the Eucalyptus in the Presidio, but the smoke was too thick.
Fort Mason was packed with people going to and from Renegade and Radhaus. My merry band of writers sat inside in Goody Cafe for a few hours, people watching in between typing.

Heading home I watched the parade of good and bad smoke protection masks. Most people were wearing the same thin hospital masks you can buy at any dollar store. Useless. Some people had slightly better ones but still. I can count the number of actual good, appropriate masks on one hand.

This morning the 33 was almost empty, I assume because people had the day off for Veteran's Day.
At Church Street a familiar smiling man got on. It was Mauricio.
He waved and grinned, said "Hello, Raquel," and slid into the seat beside me.
"What are you doing here?" I asked him, because usually he gets on at 16th and Mission.
He gestured to the J Church that was just passing by. "24th Street," he said.
We chatted, in our usual mix of Spanish and English. Checked in on each other's weekend.

He told me of his Christmas shopping plans out at Serramonte with his seven year old "Grandbaby" - I think he's getting him a new shirt? It was unclear, but his love and pride for his grandson were the clearest things on this morning's commute.

We got out at Potrero and he waited for the 22 to take him the rest of the way.
"Have a good day, Raquel," he called after me.
To which I replied, "Que te vaya bien, nos vemos."

Friday, November 09, 2018

Bus Report #1015

Last night, because I had to be at the post office before it closed, the bus took forever. Not a hyperbolic forever, an actual one. Over an hour.
I got out at Masonic and walked down to the post office, behind a guy in a face mask who stopped every few feet to take a picture of the sky. I did the same, a block later: it was peach and pink and streaked with smoke, the sun an almost neon orange. A fire sky.

Got to the post office with just a few minutes to spare, then got back on the 38 and rode up Geary to get my watch fixed.
Didn't expect to get mansplained about how to take care of my watch from the humorless watch repair guy, but he went on an on as he replaced the battery. Don't get it wet, the seal isn't as good as it used to be, you want to take good care of this, replace the battery before you need to, etc., etc.

As though I've never worn a watch before. I nodded and paid him and left, heading home via the produce market (McIntosh apples! Russian ladies laughing and jokingly speaking Spanish to me!).

This morning, last night's blood red fire sky was back, gradations of matte black, green, blue and rose against a blazing orange sun.

I walked to the bus stop coughing all the way. I know I shouldn't complain, people in the fire zones have it much worse, but that feeling of suffocating, of drowning inside your own body is so strange.

Our driver wore a face mask but I don't think it was the right kind.

Two passengers spent the entire ride squirting eye drops into their eyes. Their technique was lacking, they just aimed in the general area of their eyes with heads tilted back. 

One woman went around closing all the windows and for the first time ever, I didn't argue. I sat slumped against the side of my seat, headphones on, Dessa on repeat to get me ready for my day.

In the Castro, the cat in the window on 18th stared out at us, unimpressed but flicking his tail anyway.

By the bank, black and white photo banners of George Moscone and Harvey Milk flapped above a memorial for someone who died far too young, recently, at 28. I'm not the praying type, but he'll be in my thoughts today.

Hopped out of the bus at Potrero and walked down 16th. The sun was hiding far over to the right, a jewel-toned lychee hovering alongside the overpass.

By Philz, an odd sight: a woman smoking a cigarette, then covering her face with her scarf, then taking another drag off the cigarette. And repeat.

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Bus Report #1014

Several mornings in a row, just me and the sweet Russian woman in the bus stop.
Ever since she taught me how to say good morning in Russian, I greet her with a hearty, "Dobroye utro!" and she laughs and says it back to me, and then says it in English.

Monday, the bus was late - or just didn't show up. We waited, and waited, and when the bus pulled up she tried to get me to go first. I shook my head. "Nope, it's all you," I said.

We got in, and sure enough it was crowded enough for two buses.

I sat in the back of the bus, the garlic tea woman right nearby with her noxious tea. I want to say something, I really do. But she wouldn't stop. I know she wouldn't.

The mom with the older son and the younger, probably autistic son got on, said good morning.

Later, getting out at Potrero, I had to maneuver around a man wrapped in a filthy duvet who stood in the middle of the sidewalk, twirling.

Across the street at the garage, I chatted for a moment with Jim and the younger guys who work there.

Walked the rest of the way to work, past fat crows and a pigeon so fluffy it looked like he was wearing leggings.