Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Bus Report #1050

M. used to say I had a charmed life. He's the one who coined the "Miss Rachel's Neighborhood" phrase, and sometimes it is so, so apt.

This morning at the bus stop we had a mini reunion - The Frenchman, Alain, the woman who works at the hospital, Olga, and I.

Olga was the last to join us, and the woman who works at the hospital (I can't remember if we have a name for her, but she looks like a Jeannine, so let's call her that) grinned and said, "Looks like we're all here."
I said, "We got the band back together."
We talked of Thanksgiving plans, or at least, Alain and I did. He is traveling up north. Jeannine is working over the holiday, which shocked Alain. Olga just stood there, smiling at the three of us.

Olga moved next to me and fiddled with the zipper of her purse. She took out a folded bundle of cloth and handed it to me saying, "Yes, you take, please."
I looked at what she had given me. It was a very soft, woven scarf, blue with a Burberry-esque pattern.
"Oh, no, I can't," I said, but she kept pressing it into my hands.
"Cold," she said, gesturing to my neck.
I know when I'm beaten. I thanked her, and hugged her, and wound the scarf around my neck.
She nodded, smiled. "Yes," she said. "Now, not cold."
Now not cold, indeed.

I thanked her again. Patted her arm. She touched her own scarf and nodded.

The bus arrived and we four trooped on.

Happy Thanksgiving, Olga, Alain, Jeannine and our regular driver.
And Happy Thanksgiving to you all, dear readers.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Bus Report #1049

A week of late buses, or no buses.

The woman who works at the hospital joined me at the bus stop last week, dressed head to toe in denim: denim shirt, jacket, jeans, even denim shoes and a bag made from an old pair of jeans. Usually she's in scrubs.
I smiled, said, "Oh, is it denim day at work today?"
She frowned. "No, I've just got an all day training today."

Days and days with Olga. She always dresses so smartly, down to her earrings and always a nice brooch on her coat. Monday she shivered and plucked at her turtleneck. "Cold," she said.
I nodded. Shivered myself, exaggerated shoving my hands deep into my pockets.
We manage to understand each other, sort of. I know she goes to her son's house most days, to visit with her granddaughter. I know her granddaughter's name.
But I still can't explain to her that my good friend E. is apparently her next door neighbor.
Slowly, slowly.
Maybe I'll wake up one morning with perfect French. Or passable Russian.
Wouldn't that be something?

The mom with the two sons always has her older boy put on face lotion while we ride down Arguello. He removes his glasses and she squirts lotion into his hands, and he dutifully smears it all over his face and his neck. The mom puts lotion on her younger son, when he'll sit still for her.
He is a beautiful, beautiful boy, obviously loves his brother and his mama, but man. I feel for that mom. It must be hard to have such a different little child. Everyone smiles at him and at the mom, people understand why he flaps his hands some times and stares past them. No one minds when he babbles. But still.

When Stephan drives my bus these days, we call out to each other as I get out.
"Have a great evening, RACHEL," he says, emphasizing my name.
To which I reply, "Thanks, you too, STEPHAN."

This morning a young woman got on with a baby in a stroller, sat in the front. There were a few hard-luck women sitting nearby - too many backpacks and tote bags, the tough, leathery look of someone who has been outside for far too long.

It barely took a minute for the those women to melt completely - grinning and waving at the baby, flirting with him, telling his mom how sweet he was. It was lovely.

Saturday, November 02, 2019

Bus Report #1048

A couple hours ago, I was walking back to C's house after a delightful night at the Dia de los Muertos procession and viewing of the altars in Potrero de Sol park. We were on an unusually busy block of San Bruno - costumed folks walking around, so many beautiful people, kids in tow, marigolds everywhere - when I saw a familiar smiling man standing out front one of the nearby homes.

It was my afternoon 22 Fillmore driver, the man who used to be our DHL guy. He waved, I waved, and he said, "What are you doing in my neighborhood tonight?"
I laughed. "What am I doing here? What about you?"
"Hey, I'm just living here," he said. "Nice to see you."
"You too." I asked, "This is strange but did you used to work for DHL or Airborne Express?"
He reeled back, and then grinned and tapped his temple. "I did," he said. "I knew you looked familiar when you first got on my bus. Ah. Now I do remember you."
"I recognized you, too." I held out my hand. "I'm Rachel, by the way. What's your name?"
He shook my hand. "Stephan," he said.
C., her mom and I set off walking towards her house. "I'll see you Monday, Stephan," I said.
"Yes," he said. "See you then."