Sunday, May 07, 2023

Bus Report #1091

 Time flies, what more to say about that? Suddenly it's spring in the city - longer days, a bit more sun, a different kind of energy in the air.

I can't say I've been up to anything too interesting but there have been myriad bus rides, meeting up with friends and strangers, and mostly reconnecting with the city we all love so much. 

Ran in to Jeff, a Potrero Hill commute buddy. Hadn't seen him in over a year. We caught up, he hugged me, and went our separate ways to work.

Damp and dark early mornings on the 33, almost falling asleep against the window as the bus climbs up to the top of Market Street and that infamous hairpin turn. 

A cold but bright sunny afternoon, riding the 38 all the way out to 40th, just to walk down to Balboa and then back towards home, admiring the sunset.

The hard stuff too. The number 7 bus down Market from the Haight, watching the chaos out the window - people smoking meth in bus shelters, shooting up into their bare thighs on the concrete. 

And then, a warm weekend morning-  an old friend grabs your arm as you are crossing the street- It's Carmen! You haven't seen her in years but its like no time has passed. Back on the sidewalk you hug and catch up and hug again. 

Spring in San Francisco, in all its wonder and all its heartbreak.

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Bus Report #1090

 Saturday morning I rode the 44 to the 7, then hopped off to check on my garden plot.

The sun was shining, the garden was quiet and golden and beautiful, and my peas were ready for some urban farming micro harvesting, to the tune of a dozen or so fat, juicy, cold peapods. 

I'd forgotten to bring a bag but had a clean and unused handkerchief in my coat pocket (since I am very much my father's daughter) and I carefully tied the peas into a little bundle.

Three minutes to catch a 7 heading outbound so I masked up, put on my headphones and waited at the corner with a man and his very large dog.

I got into the bus through the back door, wanting to bypass the dog, and sat down.

A moment later, a familiar figure was standing in front of me, Michael!

We hugged and he said, "We saw you getting in but you didn't see us."

I joined him and Austin in the front of the bus and rode up to the Haight with them for some thrift shopping and a walk. It was utterly delightful - a beautifully clear day in the city, and we walked into Golden Gate Park and up JFK, blissfully car free.

Past the roller skaters living it up, past a new little free library, three Doggie Diner heads, and the oddly shuttered Conservatory of Flowers.

We parted ways before the De Young.

I realized as I walked home that it has been a while since I bumped into friends on Muni. It felt good. It felt normal.

Saturday, December 10, 2022

Bus Report #1089

 This week I watched a woman on the 22 Fillmore almost steal a man's wallet.

The woman was seated near the back door, spent most of the ride rolling blunts and counting a large wad of $50 bills. No joke, you know I wouldn't make up something that sounded so cliche.

I've seen her before; she has long fake eyelashes and wears old Ugg-style boots and tight leggings. Usually she sits by herself and stares out the window.
But not this time.

A man set his bag down by her feet and turned around. He should've kept his bag with him - ALWAYS KEEP YOUR BAGS WITH YOU - and keep your wits about you - but he looked a bit tired and probably thought the bag was safe on the floor between his feet.

The woman looked back, looked around. Her movements were familiar - like a cartoon burglar with a mask and striped shirt.

I caught her eyes and stared, because I knew what she was thinking.
She leaned forward and took her phone from her own open bag which was on the floor within reach of the man's bag. She fiddled with it a minute, then inched forward again and reached for the man's bag.
I coughed.
She looked around again. Sat up.
The man shifted a little but did not retrieve his bag.
She bent down again, farther this time, hands on his bag.
If she took anything I was ready to pitch a fit.
She unzipped the top an inch or so, then stopped when the man turned to adjust his grip on the pole. She sat back and returned to counting her cash, this time a new wad, of $100s.

He soon picked up his bag and went on his way.
Not knowing how close he came to losing his stuff.

If you see someone steal on Muni, please report it to the driver immediately. I was ready to do so, and it's the right thing to do.

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.