Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Bus Report #1064

Coronavirus edition.

The Teacher's Pet asked me yesterday how commuting is going what with this virus scare.

Well, a lot of us still need to get to work, and we need to use transit. There's no getting around it - unless I want to walk for an hour and a half, up and down hills, in the early morning dark. I've done it before, but I have no desire to arrive at work already tired, and sweaty, and done.

The buses have been quieter and, when on time, less crowded. The evening commute on the 22 Fillmore has had a holiday vibe to it. Just us workers who can't telecommute. People picking up kids from school or activities. Homeless and marginally housed folks. Your friends and neighbors.

Mornings, everyone is sleepy but watchful. Any cough, sniffle or sneeze and everyone turns, looks, evaluates. But it has been okay so far. Quieter, less anxiety-inducing than I'd expected.

You wash your hands at home before you leave, but what do you touch on the 33? The handles and the bars, to keep your balance or swing yourself into a seat. Your bus pass, pressed to the card reader. The signal buttons, the signal wire, the windows to pry them open for some air.

Your seatmate, their leg pressed against yours. Their elbow nestled against your side.

Are the buses cleaner? Supposedly everything is being wiped down, but it doesn't look like it.

Some drivers wear masks, others don't.

Everyone is just that much more wary.

The smell of hand sanitizer wafts through the bus. Fresh and lemony at best, overly fruity or floral at worst.

And while we're talking, friends - as long as you can, please go to your favorite stores, your neighborhood cafes and produce markets, your bagel place, the bookstore. The care and keeping of small businesses is often tenuous, and it certainly is now.

Bring your shut-in friends a banquet's worth of Chinese food from that awesome place down the block. Drown your sorrows in a huge bowl of steaming Pho from your regular Vietnamese joint. As they say, chicken soup is good for the soul.

Local businesses are struggling, let's all do our best to support them.

Some of our indie bookstores are offering free shipping at the moment, why not take advantage? So far, I know of Green Apple Books and Books Inc. offering to ship books to you at home. Read to yourself, read to your loved ones.

Take care out there, Fog City Noters.


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