Monday, April 12, 2021

Bus Report #1068

 Yesterday afternoon I crossed the park to meet up with S. for coffee and a walk.

I hopped on a 44 O'Shaughnessy and took my favorite seat, in the back, by the window.

The new normal, everyone heading for a solo seat, masked, quiet - at least on this bus.

Long-haired man with studded belt and wristbands, holding a dripping bag of food from Taco Bell.

Woman with short hair, the sides freshly razored with a zig zag design. Her mask was a pretty marigold color, thick, sturdy fabric.

At the next stop, a handful of folks in surgical masks filed in one at a time, took up distanced seats in the back.

The park, when we got to it, was full of people - walking, biking, roller blading, it was wonderful to see. Everyone having a good time. I hadn't seen the De Young open yet, but it was, people spilling from the doors or getting pictures taken in front of the huge photo of Frida Kahlo out front. 

A couple got on and sat behind me. 

"This is fantastic," said the man. "Just look at how many people are out enjoying themselves, and this bus goes right through it all!" 

I wanted to say, you're right, isn't it great, how can you not love public transit? But I didn't. Just sat with my face angled towards the open window and the breeze, and the sun. 

I jumped out at Lincoln and 9th and went to meet S. and her friends. 

At Arizmendi, I recognized some fellow Richmonders - all of us going for the good stuff (but for the love of S., do not come between her and her coconut croissant!)

After a walk, a coffee, and some quality park time, S. walked me to catch the 43.

This was the opposite of my earlier ride - the few people on the bus were not following proper Covid protocols - unmasked or partially masked, which really is the same if you ask me.

The driver stopped to take on a passenger at Haight and Masonic - a person with three trash bags, a huge yellow suitcase, a broken umbrella, and a filthy facemask that might have been blue in a previous life, but which was now a dark grubby brown. It took them a long time to drag their stuff to the bus and then to throw it inside.

The driver should've just not opened the door for them. I know it sounds heartless but Muni requires a fare and a proper mask to ride and this person had neither, and was already a problem before the doors even shut behind them.

We made it to the next stop but then the suitcase slid across the floor and got caught in the well of the leftmost door, making the doors stick open, and keeping us from moving. Instead of freeing their suitcase, the person just started shouting at the driver, "You better open the doors, you better open the doors or we can't go nowhere!"

The driver called out, "You gotta move your suitcase!"

The person shouted back, "I can't move the damn thing, not with the doors open!"

In all honesty, while the suitcase did look stuck, a good hard yank would have freed it but no one wanted to go near this person or their stuff. Finally, the driver walked to the back and pulled on the doors and forced them shut, and the person dragged the suitcase a few inches. "I told you," they muttered.

At Fulton the person shouted that this was their stop and that no one could enter through the back door until they were done getting all their stuff. Out went the trash bags. Out went the suitcase, skidding across the sidewalk until it rested upside down by a tree. Next came the umbrella and then finally the person got out.

They screamed at the handful of folks waiting to board, "You shoulda gotten in on the front!"

A woman with a dog and a man with three duffel bags had been waiting and the man said, "I can't get in on the front, not with all my bags."

The strange person disappeared around the corner, their stuff still strewn across the sidewalk.

A tiny, hunched man shuffled in through the front door and stood at the farebox dropping quarters into the box one at a time. Great, I thought. Longest shortest bus ride ever.

He got on, holding a mask in his hand but not putting it on. He sat across from the man with all the duffels.

"I hate wearing these," the tiny man said. "They're the worst."

The duffel guy nodded. "Yeah, you can't breathe with em on at all." He said this, and then proceeded to put another mask on top of the one he was already wearing.

I just shook my head, sucked my teeth, tried to look annoyed but that is hard when you've got a colorful mask covering your face. 

When we got to Geary I got out, and hurried across the street, and walked the rest of the way home. 


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