Thursday, November 17, 2022

Bus Report #1088

 Crowded 22 Fillmore tonight.

At Mission,  a UPS driver slid into the seat beside me. He turned, said, "You look really familiar to me."

I said he probably recognized me from the bus or just from around, but he shook his head. "I used to live at 8th and Geary, we used to take the 38 together."

We were both masked so I didn't get a good look at his full face, but I believed him. He told me he moved to Cole Valley, but he couldn't get used to the constant noise of the N Judah.

"Hopefully you'll start tuning it out," I said.

"It's been almost two years, so, I don't know," he replied.

He asked me about various places along Clement and Geary and I brought him up to speed on changes in the neighborhood since he lived there. 

A woman sitting across from us leaned forward. "Excuse me," she said, "but I couldn't help but hear you talking about the Richmond District."

"Absolutely," I said. "Best neighborhood in town."

"Is the bar with the tango stuff still there?" she asked. "And that dim sum place on the corner?"

The three of us kept chatting, catching up on things. I described the upgrades at Hamburger Haven. The UPS guy asked about some of the shops, the woman snapped her fingers, said, "What about the ice cream place with all the toys?"

I was glad to tell her Toy Boat is still alive and well.

A few stops later she got ready to go. "Thanks for letting me butt in," she said.

"It was our pleasure," I told her.

When the UPS guy stood up he told me it was great to catch up and he'd see me around.

As he left I asked his name, and he told me, and I gave him mine. 

"See you soon," I said. "Have a great night."

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Bus Report #1087

 An odd sighting while waiting for the 22 today.

A bus in the opposite direction was partially wrapped with advertising - in the middle of the bus.

Nothing more than a simple photo of tasty-looking food, with a header and footer that read, Taiwan Grouper Fish. 

Below, a few words describing the amazing taste of Taiwan grouper fish.

And that was it.

I spent the rest of my long, slow commute thinking about Taiwan grouper fish.

An effective ad, for sure.

Sunday, November 13, 2022

Bus Report #1086

 This afternoon I took the bus down to the garden to see how things were looking. Luckily the rain hadn't killed plants like I thought it might. Instead, the peas have decided to start climbing the tomato cages I've been trying to coax them up for weeks. The spinach, still small, but hey, better than being dead!

Rutabegas and carrot sprouts keep popping up, who knows if they will grow into things we can eat, but I hope they will.

After giving everything a good soak I headed out to the bus stop to catch the 7.

The 6 appeared first, and I shook my head so he didn't need to stop, but the driver just grinned and waved, and slowed the bus. It was Roman, a driver I've known for years. Last time I saw him he was driving the 22 but I guess he's switched over to the 6.

He opened the door and called out, "Hey, great to see you. You don't want to ride with us?"

I laughed. "Sorry, but I need the 7. Another time!"

He shook his head. "Have a great day," he said.

I waved. "You too. See you soon!"

He drove off. A moment later, the 7 pulled in to the stop and I got on, rode the rest of the way out to the Sunset.

Sunday, November 06, 2022

Bus Report #1085

 I caught the 38 today after running errands and going to the Farmer's Market.

I wanted to find some flowers and didn't see what I liked at the market. I rode up to the florist near 20th. I asked if they had any Sweet William, and the woman frowned. "I don't think I know what those are," she said.

I had a moment of confusion - wondered if I've spent my whole life calling flowers by the wrong name -  but then another woman who was arranging bouquets at the back said, "We usually have them, just not today."

I thanked them and started walking back towards home.

A familiar figure hurried down Geary. Even in his mask and his sunglasses, I'd recognize Mister Polite anywhere. I haven't seen him in months, but we both waved, and he stopped walking, turned, and said, "How are things? How are you doing?" and he gestured to the mask and apologized, "It's me," he said. "You know."

I nodded. "Of course," I said. "I gotcha. It's lovely to see you."

He tipped his hat (I swear, he really did), and went on his way.

Saturday, November 05, 2022

Bus Report #1084

Yesterday the rain was beautiful and light in the morning, and when our 28 bus turned off the freeway into the parking lot by the bridge, I could see the bridge was shrouded in fog.

It was beautiful. Misty and quiet and you couldn't see the headlands at all.

Some tourists, smiling in their not-warm-enough clothes, looked out the windows with wonder. 

Yeah, I wanted to say, I feel it too.

The rest of the ride was just as beautiful, and I hopped out at Laguna to go meet some writer friends at Fort Mason. Fort Mason was breathtakingly beautiful too - pelicans and seagulls swooping around, Alcatraz and the Bay Bridge also obscured by thick fog. The marine layer.

Later, riding back towards home on the 43, I looked out the window near Steiner and saw two men running across Lombard. They were running too fast and if the bus was any slower, if they were any faster, we'd have hit them.

Looking back, I realized what was really happening; the first man, in shorts and ratty sneakers, a blanket over his shoulders, had stolen something from the other man, short, stocky, either an employee at a nearby market or someone who had just been pickpocketed.

The second man caught up to the first man, and I don't know what happened next. I like to think the man got his wallet back.

Our driver was who I thought of next. What if he'd hit the man with the blanket? At our combined speeds he'd have been killed, I had no doubt about that. And the driver would've had to live with that.

My mind is always running, running - no time to stop for thoughts to catch up with each other - and I pictured the aftermath of the crash, the squeal of brakes and the collective shrieks of us passengers, thrown about the bus, spilled and broken groceries and broken bones, bloody noses and concussions. The driver, if he hit that man, sitting still and rigid in his seat, staring at the damage outside the bus. 

The images came and went and we were a block away already.

A man got on in the Presidio and leaned against the yellow pole, reading a book by James McBride.

All I could think about was that he was not holding on, that if we braked suddenly he would go flying. He'd get really hurt.

I was relieved when, a few minutes later, he sat down.

Sunday, October 30, 2022

Bus Report #1083

 Waiting for the 28 today, to cross the park and head to my garden plot.

The bus was already late, three previous runs canceled, so when I got to the stop it was teeming with annoyed folks who needed to get somewhere.

We waited. And waited some more. One woman ended up calling a Lyft. A couple of tourists gave up and walked away.

The light changed and a pair of motorcycles zoomed through the intersection ahead of the rest of the traffic. One of the motorcycles sped away.

The other must have hit something or the driver lost control because the next thing we knew the bike was skidding and sparking across Park Presidio in one direction and the rider was flying in the other direction.

We all collectively gasped, then shouted, half of us moving towards the rider, who was remarkably all right - he stood up and quickly got out of the traffic, standing on the grassy shoulder of the road, a little shaky. He watched the oncoming cars avoid hitting his bike.

I think a few of us got our phones out to call 911 but it didn't seem ultimately necessary. He was okay. 

A kid with a skateboard skated over to talk to the rider. The rider was clad head to toe in leathers and his helmet was unscathed. I'm not one for miracles, but...

His friend, the other motorcyclist, drove back and when it was safe, he waded into traffic (luckily people stopped) and pulled the damaged motorcycle out of the road. 

There was a feeling of relief that rippled through those of us standing nearby. One woman, who was with her son, pressed her hand to her chest and shook her head. 

"I could not believe it," she said. 

"Thank goodness for his helmet, and that they were well ahead of the cars when he wiped out," I said.

Another waiting passenger said, "I've never seen anything like that before. Not in real life."

We all agreed we were glad the rider was okay. 

Our bus arrived a few minutes later. 

We slowly passed the rider, his friend, and the kid with the skateboard. 

I hope he wasn't too shaken up.

I was late to the garden, and late to my flu and bivalent Covid vaccine, but that was fine. That was perfectly all right.

Friday, August 19, 2022

Bus Report #1082

 Last night I meandered home.

Stopped to water my garden plot - everything suddenly growing, everything looking good - then walked back out to catch the 22 the rest of the way out to Geary. Crowded bus. 

Lots of kids with first day of school clothes, new backpacks, and some of the little girls had fresh hair ribbons tied neatly around pony tails and braids. Twins in matching outfits but different, bright pink sneakers. Adorable.

I stopped at the studio and picked up a couple pieces fresh from the kiln. On the way out, I saw a familiar figure strolling down Clement.

It was Alain, the Frenchman, who used to take the 33 in the morning with me and Olga.

"Hey, hey," I said, grinning.

He looked up, smiled, and opened his arm for a hug. "Ah, hello!" and we hugged.

We walked.

He told me he'd just returned from visiting family abroad for the first time in three years.

"Was it lovely?" I asked.

"Oh yes. So wonderful," he said. He looked at the two newly-glazed bowls in my hands, laughed.

"I was doing the same thing last year," he said, gesturing down the street at the other studio down the block. "But these are better."

"You're very kind," I told him.

We caught up a bit more, had a laugh, and parted ways. 

"I'll see you soon," I said.

"Take care," he replied.