Thursday, December 4, 2008

One Year in the Making

Yesterday marked one year of a project in the making. I have successfully attempted to collect at least one bus transfer per day for one whole year with December 3rd 2007 as the starting date. Since I use a fast pass I rely on finding them around the city and contributions from other riders. So the first big leg of this project is complete. Please stay tuned ....







Familiar?

"Does running late count as exercise"

from a post it note
- Jeff B. - SF, CA.

(When I first read this I subconsciously added 'running late for the bus' in the middle of this without realizing. Ha.)- LK.

Found Something Else



Looking for transfers I came across this poor little, tiny bunny-doll face down, with one ear neatly tucked under its face. I didn't quite know how to handle this....

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Wrong Way

I have a fan in Portland Oregon who rides the bus. She comes across the most amazing people and her stories are hilarious. Every once and a while I receive one of these story-gifts via text or voice mail. This text just came in, read on:

"My bus driver just went the wrong way.
We went in a circle. She doesn't know
the route. Some old man is giving
directions. Stupid."



Monday, November 24, 2008

Fried Chicken Wonderland


OK how do I begin this...well... I can start by saying that I don't quite understand the logic in what I am about to relay. Here's what I saw;

Setting: Nov. 24th 2008, Approx; 1:55pm; Overcast, cool; 22 Fillmore toward Mission.

Fairly relaxed atmosphere on the bus. The usual afternoon crowd. Some older folks in the front. A few kids cutting school in the back, one or two crazies having conversations with their hands , other people etc. I find a seat toward the back facing back.

Then I smell fried chicken. Who has fried chicken?

Across from me and to the right this lady had with her a box of Popeye's take out. Ok fine. She has lunch. Good. But then she proceeds to open her Happy-Popeye-Meal and eat as if she's at her dining room table. Smearing catchup on the chicken leg, crispy, greasy, chewing the fleshy carcass, fingers grabbing, mouth wide shoving the head of the bone in making sure she gets every last piece of cartilage, every vein. Ignores the biscuit and goes for the oher leg... or was it a wing?

Anyway, I know we get hungry and I wouldn't want anyone to starve (starving being highly unprobable) and it's not that seeing this horrifying display of fried chicken eating isn't disturbing, but my real question is, what is so desireable about indulging in (probably) your favorite meal in a large moving vehicle, in front of twenty or so strangers smelling you, staring at you chew and chew and swallow and bite and knaw and suck pieces that get stuck between your teeth? Do you like that? Do you like that your innocent bite or two turned into a full on public eating performance?

Just wondering.


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Ear Man on BART

video

Couldn't get part 1 to load...


Horse Monsters.




View of the horse monsters traveling on BART. I love them.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Love/Hate Letter to Mr. Bus.


Dear Mr. Bus,

I have been holding a few things in lately and I feel the need to express them, because I sense that our realationship is unhealthy and we or one of us needs help. Ok, I'm frustrated and here's why: You're never there when I really need you. I am forced to chase after you all the time to get you to stop. You ignore me and leave me out in the cold at times when its crucial to have your company. This has become ongoing and difficult to deal with on a daily basis, but, I have to admit ... I'm dependent on you, even when you don't pay attention to me I keep coming back to you, needing you ... I'm falling apart because of this. It stresses me out to no end and there you are picking up on other men and women! But why do I love you so? When you do let me in, you give me the world. You help me to open my eyes to the colors of life outside and in. You show me your inner angels and demons. But unless something changes, this relationship is not going to work. I have things I need to get done and you taking your time, being choosy about when you will give me the time of day kills me. So if you don't see me one day then... well.... you'll know why. I've gone and gotten me a bike! Sorry I said that. Ok I'm sorry. I had to get this off my chest though. See you later (if you want).

Love,
Your Girl.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Few Conversations Caught.

>I waited so long I began to wonder if this was really an actual bus stop.

+ Did you take out the bio-bag?
* Yeah, it was all full you know with ...
+ uh huh
* ... food and decompostables and just stuffed so much it was like ... an animal.

-The buses are comin' more often lately. I even see the 24 come regularly lately!
=Wow, 'cause the 24 usually never comes. The 24 is like a ghost bus.
-He he, you got that right!!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

This Tortures Me.





As bad as finding Muni transfers in a puddle, seeing multiples behind a locked gate. There's no way in - I tried....

Sticky Mess.



I caught the right bus today. I had just missed the 22. The next one came 6 minutes later. It pulled up, I stepped up and started walking towards the back. Suddenly a flashback came over me ~

`````<<<`````` (flashback symbols) ```\\\\\<<<<<\\\\\\```\`\`\` (add sound effect)`\`\`\`\\ `````\`\<<<<<<<`\\`\`\`\\\\\\\\`````````\\\`\\`\`\`\`\`\`\``\`\\\\\\\`\``\````\`\`<<<\`\`\<<<<<\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\```````````\\\\\\\\<<<<<<<\\\\\\`\`\\`\`\`\`<< style="font-weight: bold;" size="4">"I smell pancakes!!" I thought. Right at that moment I nearly slipped and fell into a pool of maple syrup that covered the floor of the bus and had already rolled, dripped and smeared across the entire back section like an abstract drip painting. I didn't fall. Nobody fell, but we all could have easily been covered in a sticky slimy mess. Many comments were made and lots of sticky shoes came off of the bus that day. I let it go at the time and went about my business.

Ok fast forward///////////(FF symbols - sound effect etc. as you wish) ///////////////
////////////////////////.>>>>>>>>>>>>>////////>>>>>>>>>>>///////>>>>>>>>>>>>>

>>>>>>>>> Me again, inside the back of the 22, Sunday, Nov. 9th approximately 11:30am. I am all of a sudden stepping the the same exact maple mess. Still sticky the drippy mess had hardened just enough. "This is awesome." I thought, "What are the chances that I would get on this same bus and come to find that in one week this mess had not even been attempted to be cleaned up! I have got to document this."

Even though this is not very amusing still this event made me wonder how often these buses do get a good scrub down. ..... check it out:








video

On the way home after 4 hours of work today I caught THE VERY SAME BUS, stickiness and all! What a day!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Monday, November 3, 2008

Gordie and Me.

Today I met a fellow at the Misson and 16th St. bus stop waiting for the 22. He was older, a little slow in speech and must have been from the streets by his dress and smell. He wore a smile despite the weather and told me his name was Gordie (spelling?). The most memorable moments of our conversation went like this:

Gordie - "Good people are good. Nature is good. The Birds ... feed 'em (gestures throwing seeds on the ground) and it comes back."

me - "What comes back?"

Gordie - "All goodness comes back.


You're good, talking to me.
I'm good, talking to you,
and ... well ...

I am ... well ... I don't really know what I am."


(we pause as he looks down as if trying to solve himself)


me - "I don't think anyone really knows what they are."

Friday, October 31, 2008

Exiting: A Right of Passage.

(Of course I have these momentary ridiculous thoughts while riding a bus.)

Has anyone before ever pondered over how many different exits there are available here on SF MUNI? It can be very confusing. Lets take a look shall we:

one: On most buses (the all famous) step down to open the back doors sets one free.
two: Step down, but you must push the bars in front of you to open back doors.
three: On muni rail push the side bars to open doors.
four: For exiting the 'green' bus press your palm to the back door and it magically opens.
five: And on the street car who the hell ever knows how those doors are going to open.

Thank god Bart doors open automatically.

No wonder people who don't ride often and tourists get so confused. Knowing how to get off a bus in SF is actually a very special piece of knowledge.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Accident

Did anyone see the accident on Van Ness at Geary this afternoon around 1pm? I think it was a 77x or 74x. One of those special buses, I guess. Well it was traveling down Van Ness and smashed into a pole on the corner of Van Ness and Geary. I saw if from the 47 window. Don't know if anyone was hurt, perhaps it will be in the papers? Wish I had had my camra on me. Oh well.

Where is the Special part II

I finally had an excuse to go to the SFMTA Customer Service building on Van Ness and Market.

I wanted to get to the bottom of why the word 'Special' was taken out of the 'Late Night Special' all night bus transfer ticket. I had no idea what to expect but I thought that this place, of all places would be the place that would know. Right when I walked in there sat a guard checking people in.

"How can I help you?"
"Yes, I would, um like to speak with someone about the transfers."
"Transfers?"
"Bus transfers."
"Bus ... transfers?" He said it like he had no idea what a bus transfer was. I struggled a little, then went on, "Yes, see... I am an artist and I use these (I take out 2 late nights. One with the special and the other without) in my art and see here they took the special out of 'late night special'
(He chuckled - amusingly or condescendingly - I couldn't tell) I would like to know who took out the special and why." At that moment I felt a burning sensation in my solar plexus. It occurred to me that I was talking to the wrong person. This guy had no clue what I was getting at.

The guard picked up the phone and dialed a number, "Uh yes, we have someone here who has a bus - transfer - and wants to know why the late night is missing.... yes... why, uh there is no more late night..."

No that's not it!

"Uh huh.... ok.....(to me) are you using this transfer at night?"
"Yes, but I-"
"(Back into the phone) Uh huh... huh uh huh... ok ..." He hangs up the phone, "you need to call this number (311 scratched onto a scrap paper) they will help you. Have a nice day."
"(shit) Thanks...."

I must re-think my strategy in getting to the bottom of this. To be continued...

Monday, October 20, 2008

"Orange Crush" and Fried Chicken Breakfast

An sunny, autumn, Sunday morning sitting in the back of the bus a woman drinking orange Crush soda strikes a conversation with a handsome man, reading the paper, sitting right in front of her. She tells this man about how she woke up that morning at 6am, "ta get me some whsky" (swishing her "Crush" can - sly smile) and proceeds to inform him how to make the perfect fried chicken and gravy breakfast going into detail about how you want to leave the skin on cause that's the best part, how much butter to use and how you want to save the grease for the gravy. The man is very polite, rolling with the conversation.

She sits back observing life happening by out the window, drinking Crush, sun in face. I wondered at that moment what it would be like to be her. ....

Monday, October 13, 2008

Please Litter


Back Door

No one really cares who you are. No one really pays attention to you when you are on the bus. People hardly lift a finger to help you in any way .... but .... if that back door light shuts off before you are able to exit suddenly the whole bus is going to make sure you get off at your intended stop,
"BACK DOOOOORRRR!!!!!!!"

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Butt Rock Yeah!

I get on the 49 Van Ness way out at Union Street planning to take it all the way down to Mission and 18th. One of those boom box guys gets on. First of all the "boom box guy" phenomenon has always puzzled me. It's not the fact that one person has the gall to blast their big, fat boom box on the bus or the fact that they choose to carry the damn thing around with them everywhere they go. Its that there are multiple boom box guys. I have never seen the same boom box guy twice!

So, ok they're out there and one of them gets on the bus with me blasting butt rock from the back of the bus. Traveling oh so slowly down Van Ness, sun in my face, bombarded by the boom box guy switching from butt rock station #1, butt rock station #2 and slightly less butt rock (but will do) station #3.

Surprisingly no one had a problem with this Happening. I thought it was absolutely awesome and didn't want to leave the experience of being forcibly subjected to these very loud and obnoxious sounds.

Finally a good song came on. "Wish you Were Here" by Pink Floyd..... right .... as... he exits at 16th & Mission....

Monday, September 1, 2008

You Never Know

Today I was on the meth bus..... Sometimes I get on the cute-boy-bus and sometimes its the meth bus....

Heather, Pdx.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Drive My Bus

This afternoon as I boarded the 22 Fillmore at Union st. the driver asked me if I wanted to take over! "Drive my bus, I'm serious" - He went as far as to show me where all the pedals, buttons, gadgets were located and everything I needed to know. I was all ready to hop in, but at the last minute he backed down, "No, no it's fine I'm just having a bad hair day" patting his bald head.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Where is the SPECIAL???!?


Bring Back the SPECIAL

Yesterday I found a full day and night transfer and noticed that:

They took the SPECIAL out of "LATE NIGHT SPECIAL"!!!!

it's just not the same without the word special. Of course we know what 'late night' means. And 'special' refers to the gift of being able to take any bus or train all night long. What a special! Why has it been removed?

no more late night special. Just "LATE NIGHT" and then a big fat blank.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Onward and Upward

The other day I get off work and wait for the 22 @ Union and Fillmore. First, I have to pose a question (and I wondered this during my 35 minute wait for the bus): Why, is there no "next bus" located at this stop? The reason I ask this is because the Union and Fillmore stop is a at the bottom of a huge fuckin' hill. I should have called 311, found out how long that wait would be so I could have just started climbing the hill, but I waited. I was lazy and tired and hungry, anyway so.... here it comes around the corner looking like all buses look when they're way late. My big, fat nemesis. It's never the driver or the passengers or the day or anything else. It's just me and the bus doing the squinty-eye stare-down. And he approaches, so anxious for me to board. And all I feel is pisssed-offness.

I get on.

So at least I wont need to climb the dreaded hill of hills, I thought. The bus starts up the hill and then 1/2 way we all hear a silent pumping of the pedal. The bus stops. pump, pump, pump, - - pause - - we hang there for a second or two and then proceed to roll backwards!! "oh shit!" we hear from the driver.

"You've got to be kidding me." I say.

Alright, we go again onward and upward... the cables click and we resume 1/2 way then the same pump, pump, pump - - pause - - hang - - roll back.

All passengers were looking at each other in silence. What do we do?

Three times. Up, down, up, down. On the fourth try the bus finally made it and all passengers gave a nice round of applause to the driver who must have been sweating a bucket by that time.

We just nearly made it without having to climb the hill. I felt so lucky. Then I turn my head and see that out the back window right behind us is another 22!!! We went through all that when we could have easily switched buses! ... I don't get it.

LK, SF.

Smoking - - Jogging in Place

Hi Lauren, I have a bus story:

I was on the 20 going home and its pretty warm here. And we pull up to a stop and there's this big huge black dude - - smoking and - - jogging in place and he was about to get on the bus, but the driver told him to wait 'cause some guy in a rascal needed to get off. She had to lower the ramp n'stuff.

And he's jogging in place - - smoking - - and then he tries to get on the bus and she told him he couldn't get on until he put his cigarette out and so he just stood there - - smoking - - and she said, "I'm not going to wait for you."

He tries to get on again and she said, "you can't get on unless you put that out!" and so he said, "Go on then!" and he stayed and he lit a match all mean and lit up another cigarette as we drove away. It was awesome.

He was like, fuck you bus I don't need you. I'm gonna stand here and smoke!

Heather - PDX

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Bus From Hell

i came across your blog while doing research for a film treatment i'm writing for a class in documentary screenwriting, naturally i chose to write about muni, because as your blog so eloquently brings to life; crazy shit happens on the san francisco municipal railway. reading through the entries brought back some hilarious/bizzare and disgusting things that i have witnessed on muni. naturally i'm compelled to share....
so this happened about 6 or 7 years ago, we were late to a movie at 1000 van ness so we hopped on the (47? 48? i cant remember the number of the one that runs straight up van ness) anyways, the bus is PACKED, it was rush hour, and that particular line always seems to be kinda dirty because it runs through civic center area, lower market etc. so we are in line to get on and this old homeless lady kinda stumbles down the front stairs, she has a pink "thank you" bag in one hand and is kinda dragging a decrepit walker behind her, as she walks by us to get off we smell THE MOST DISGUSTING SMELL IN THE ENTIRE WORLD...words cannot even express the magnitude of horrible.
assumming it was just a bad smelling semi homeless old woman we ignore it and board the bus. once we step up inside it becomes clear that something is terribly wrong, everyone on the bus is holding their noses, and wincing in disgust. two drunk bums drinking out of paper bags seated in the handicapped seats at the front of the bus are laughing and yelling to whoever will listen: "dont wanna sit there" (pointing to the first row of seats across from them) "lady straight up SHIT HERSELF!" clearly, they are the only 2 people on the bus amused by this, meanwhile, i followed their pointing and my eyes landed on a pile of yellow, runny diarhea sliding around in the row of seats (i'm gagging as i type this.)
the bus driver was clearly distraught, but before there was time for us to get off and wait for the next one, we were pulling away from the curb past city hall and up van ness. to make matters worse we were packed in the bus like sardines, people were burying their faces into strangers shoulders to avoid the smell and sight of the "mess."
"THIS IS THE BUS FROM HELL, next stop freddy kreugars gettin' on!" screamed the homeless man with no teeth in the front of the bus, still eyeing the shit, which had clearly not ruined his appetite for the olde english 40 he was enthusiastically drowning in.
i dont remember how we made it all the way to the movie theater without getting off, and strangley enough most of the other people on the bus endured the ride and didnt get off to wait for the next one...
it wouldnt surprise me if the driver completed the route that day...but i'll always wonder whos job it was to hose that bus down back at the depot. gross.
-claire, san francisco

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Bus Transfers etc. etc.


Since I began scavenging for discarded bus transfers I have found a total of:

- $23.50, (2 fives, 1 ten and 3 ones)
- a rhinestone earing,
- a crystal pendant,
- numerous toothbrushes
- a tube of toothpaste (? not with the brushes)
- 2 Nintendo® (the original) video game controllers
- vacuum
- and a child's Spiderman bedtime slipper

This project has opened my eyes. I now have such strong confidence in being able to find just about anything (and more) in this concrete wonderland. All I have to do is look down.

p.s. I did not take the slipper home with me....

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Overheard

I overheard a couple of interesting conversations today riding the bus. One on the way to work and one on the way home after my second shift. The stories are a little disjointed but they went something like this:

#5 Fulton -----> Downtown __ 8:50am - A lady in the front of the bus was talking to the driver, "... he died (short pause) he died at his own retirement party. That's why I got outta here... 22 years an I got out. I'm gonna get a shirt made that says, '22 years. I survived MUNI!' .... when I started it was different.. but now there's all these rules / schedules / / / it's pathetic..."

#22 Fillmore ---> Haight __ 8:20pm - An older man with a huge sac on his back, a large guitar case and a cowboy hat climbs onto the bus. He pays and asks the driver how late the bus runs. I could tell from his slight drawl and super tan skin that this man was just passing through, probably lives on the road. He sits and strikes a conversation with a young skater across from him, "Hi how are ya? - - - where ya goin? - - home? oh you work? (boy nods 'it's been a long day') - you work, I hitch hike... yeah I'm on my way to Haight St. whenever I pass through San Francisco I like to go to this place on Haight. A restaurant where there's an area in the back to sit and play my guitar... yeah when I was on the road an' you know who picked me up? Curly Carter Cash... yeah that's right Curly Carter Cash. She's the Daughter of Johnny Cash's wife. Said she saw me on the road an' told her husband to pull over an pick me up..."

The leathery faced man, half hidden by his hat and guitar case smiled ear to ear. He went on talking with the skater about all the places he's been and where he's going.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Discarded Bus Tickets.


I have not had many bus stories lately, but have been adventuring the search for discarded bus transfers for my collage projects. This detail is
part of a large piece that is, for the moment, living at John Sakkis's house.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

"The interpersonal relationships of people in big cities are characterized by a markedly greater emphasis on the use of the eyes than on that of the ears. This can be attributed chiefly to the institution of public conveyances. Before buses, railroads and streetcars became fully established during the nineteenth century people were never put in a position of having to stare at one another for minutes or hours on end without exchanging a word" -

- George Simmel,
quoted in Walter Benjamin's, "On Some Motifs in Baudelaire"

Sunday, April 20, 2008

I saw three guys harmonizing at the bus stop yesterday. That's a new one.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Answer

extracted this quote from Wikipedia.org:

'Muni's logo is a stylized, trademarked "worm" version of the word "MUNI."[4] This logo was designed by San Francisco-based graphic designer Walter Landor in the mid-1970s.'

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Random Ponderings

"I can't believe that the person who created the muni logo is not known. And that it's allowed on the muni train ... or anywhere. I can't believe it's in a commercial environment, because I feel its telling people to break free."

"Yeah who thought of that? I felt that too - I thought why am I in art school when someone else made up the muni logo."

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

You Know You Need a Peanut Right?

There were these two, old homeless guys on the bus all coghin' an hackin'. I saw one guy was having a coughing fit and the other hits the coughing guy on his shoulder, nudges him, handing him something - and at first I couldn't see what it was - The coughing guy pushes it away but the dude kept nudging him with whatever was in his hand insisting the coughing guy take it. Finally I could see and it was... cocktail peanuts - cause you know when you're coughing you need cocktail peanuts right? So it kept going; one guy coughing and the other guy offering peanuts, coughing guy refusing - cough - hack - peanut? - no - coughcough- peanut? - no - etc... until finally the coughing guy said,

"Naw man naw I don't have no teeth!"

"What?"

"Well I mean I got like two - I only got like two teeth an so I can't eat peanuts"

The other guy laughed and finally put the can of peanuts down (only after he had offered them to someone else on the bus, who didn't want them either).

I thought that the logic here was awesome. ... Cause you know need peanuts when you're coughing. It's true that nothing goes down better when you're hacking up a lung - throat all nasty an' tore up - than a big, fat, salty peanut right?

Good times...

Stitch in a Hurry

I was headed for the bus on the corner of 20th and Burnside and I always miss it, as soon as I turn the corner I miss it, so I came tearing around the corner all fast and for once the bus wasn't there, but there was this really good looking guy standing there in a suit and briefcase and he looked just like Johnathan (you know who's my husband) and he had curly hair and a scarf, super big blue eyes, long pretty eyelashes and pale skin. After a minute or two he asked me what time it was.

"Stitch in a Hurry" which is the name of the sewing place at the bus stop has a bus schedule and a clock in the window (I guess because they were tired of people asking or something), so I just pointed to the clock. I could tell when he saw the clock he felt kind of dumb. I realized that I might have come off like kind of a bitch just pointing like that and so I made a joke about how I always ask what time it is when there's a clock right there. Awkward silence..... then he says,

"yeah I am going to a job interview and, but the last bus I got on I went to pay and I did that thing where I'm patting down my suit looking for my pass and then I remember 'oh yeah it's in my wallet' and so I went for my wallet and my wallet wasn't there."

"Oh no!"

"Yeah so I have this job interview and I gotta take the bus so I'm hoping they'll have mercy on me and let me go, because the last one didn't and made me get off."

"Well, I'll spot you if they don't let you on."

"No, no it's okay I'll bet they let me on. It's just embarrassing because I look like the guy in the suit trying to hustle his way onto the bus."

Right then I saw my bus was coming - I thought he was taking the 20 and asked, but he was taking the 19 - so I gave him $1.75 and told him just in case and that I hoped he gets the job. He looked so grateful and said 'Thank you' and then I got on the bus. - Portland, OR.

Smokin' Granpa

On the 5 heading from downtown towards the park: I get on at Van Ness and make my way to the back. It was a bright sunny day - middle of the afternoon - I could feel the breeze come in from the open windows and then I smelled something.... something like weed .... was someone smoking weed on the bus? I look up and see in the very back seat an older black man with white-as-snow hair and beard all fro'ed out, large 70's glasses, a cap with fire flames and (plain as day) a 1 inch thick golden pipe in his mouth. He clicked his lighter and went for another drag. Another man caught me witnessing this,

"Oh yeah! (chuckle chuckle) you smell it too. You want some? Me too. We should ask him (chuckle chuckle again)..."

This is someone's grandpa here on the back of the 5 smoking out in broad daylight. Awesome.

I laughed.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

On the Way to Work

Two days I ago, as I was running out to catch the bus in the morning.
I saw my neighbor and his girlfriend. I don't know him personally but
I know he lives down the street from me. I said hello to them since
they were walking by just as I was leaving the house...

I then remembered that I had forgotten some Netflix movies at home
that needed to be returned so I went back to get them. I didn't take
long, but it was long enough for them to walk around the corner. I was
running late so I was walking at a faster than normal pace. When I
turned around the corner I saw the guy by him self yelling "STOP!"...
"STOP" "WHY WON'T YOU STOP!" really loud. I slowed down... I really
didn't want to catch up to them. But the mailbox was on the same side
of the street. I continued walking until I dropped the movies off. He
was still in front of me.

I noticed that the girl had crossed the street and was now waiting at
the bus stop. He kept yelling "Why would you do this to me?". I really
didn't want to deal with those two so I decided to keep walking. But
just as I got closer he crossed the street to her rather abrupt,
headed straight to her and pushed her up against the wall. He
continued to push her until she fell to the ground. I remember
thinking oh man why now. There was lots of yelling back and fourth
mostly from him. There was lots of pushing too. I think at some point
she started throwing punches at him too. They were so loud that people
came out to see what was going on. One guy was on the phone calling
the police. Another woman stopped her car and did the same. I didn't
really know what to do. I wanted to keep going and ignore the thing
but I couldn't bring myself to it. So what did I do? I went back.... I
went back to try and talk some sense into them. I mean I've seen the
guy around my block... He can't be more than a 18 or 19. And I knew
that the last thing either one of those two wanted was to have the
police involved. However he was much bigger than her and I for sure
didn't want him beating her up.

I got close enough to them to talk to them. But I wasn't able to say
much. He immediately started verbally attaching me and making threats
to me as well. I noticed that she must have hit him rather hard as he
was dripping blood from his head. "Mind Your Own Fucking Business" he
said. All I wanted to do was warn them that the Police was coming and
they best be their way. I walked back away from them still keeping an
eye to make sure nothing serious started. The man on the phone with
the police said to me "Don't worry about them. The police is on their
way. I'll make sure nothing happens and that she is safe"

I felt a lot better after talking to him. I wasn't able to stick
around much longer as I was already late to work, and my bus had
arrived. I am very proud of myself for not walking away tho. It sure
got me thinking about my experience with the bullies beating up the
nerd. I do still I had not walked away then and I had helped him, I
think I'm slowly outgrowing my fear of conflict. I do hope those two
find a way to work things out within their selves. Violence is never
the answer but sometimes it is the only way we know how to deal with
the situation. I keep thinking about how I will deal with the
situation next time I run into him. Part of me wants to just keep
walking but the other wants to let him know that I can be a friend if
he or she need someone to talk to. - Anonymous - SF, CA.

Anything But my ipod

Relaying this story from memory:

Woman - 30 something - kickboxer - lawyer - lives in SF - takes the bus to work everyday.

One morning while waiting for the bus a large man sat next to her.... pause... he turned, pulled a knife on her and told her to hand over her wallet. Scared, she fumbled around and tossed it to him. Then he asked her for the ipod she had on her. Scared again she started to take her ipod off - then in that moment she snapped - no... not my ipod - anything but my ipod - She stopped "What are you doing?" She said to him, "What would your mother think if she knew you were doing this?"

Something in what she said triggered the man. Right there he fell apart, put the knife down and started weeping. He gave her the wallet back and asked her for a hug.

"no way you just tried to rob me! Go home!"

Strange Man

My grandmother got on the bus and (this was in Guatemala too) at the next stop this man wearing a suit and hat got onto the bus and sat down. He had blood on his forehead. Someone inquired, "are you okay?" He said he was fine. There was a strange air about this man. More people saw the blood and asked him if he was okay... "yes" he continued. But people became concerned as the blood seemed to thicken. Soon everybody started questioning him,

"Are you okay?"
"You okay?"
"Do you want to stop to take care of your head?"
"Do you need some medical attention?"
"Do you need to get to a hospital?"
"you need a doctor"

This, back-and-forth went on for a while. The man was avoiding everybody, then started reacting violently to everyone's concern. One person finally had it, got up and took the hat off the strange man's head to see what was wrong with him. There - on his head - was a severed ear with earrings in it! ! !

Hijackers

So this you have not heard... So when I was about 9 ... well ... let's go back ... my grandfather... he was a very sweet man ... very liked, everybody liked everything about him, except he had a problem. He was an alcoholic and um you know everybody kind of knew about that. And he also uh, he had a child with this other woman/lover/not my grandmother.

One night my grandfather got in a fight with the other woman - his lover. She got upset and took the child to the other town over. They had both been drinking. He was also very upset, and so caught a bus to the next town to go after her. (this is in Guatemala by the way).

So he's on the bus, drunk, 1/2 way to the town and the bus got hijacked. The hijackers started taking peoples' money. One of them attacked a women. My grandfather recognized the hijackers. He stood up to them, punched the guy who was attacking the woman, then said, "I know you guys you are from my same town. why are you doing this? These people are also from your town."

People there said my grandfather was the only one who stood up to the guys.

The hijackers took him out of the bus and shot him 3 times. I was 9 years old. I remember that night I dreamt about my grandfather. The next day they told me that he had died.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Two Things

This was my voicemail today -

"Hi Lauren it's me. Two things:

A big seventies pimp got on the bus today. he had on a purple suit with a big fur coat and a red fedora. I've seen him before but today he was all cracked out and smelled real bad...

Um also...

What makes fat, disgusting, old men talk shit to me like, "your hot" and stuff like that. What am I gonna do with that Lauren? What am I gonna do?" - Heather - Portland, OR.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Ashamed

"So I'm really ashamed --- but --- I --- grew up in LA without a car. I grew up on the RATD - the rapid transit bus of LA, from age infancy to 18 and I was so traumatized by the horror and the infrequency and the un-dependability of ever getting anywhere in less than two hours in LA that I bought a car. I couldn't do it. ... I bought a car when I was 16 and I have never gone without a car since. I just can't handle it... I do the bus when I have to ... " - Jana - SF, CA.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

To Our Credit

Speaking to a woman from Boston the other day about East Coast vs. West Coast. She said, "I realize the difference between the East and West Coast the most when I'm on the bus, because everyone is so polite - it's not that way back home. Everyone gets up to give you a seat and people will actually talk to you. People out here are more open and friendly."

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Pretty Face

"I was on the bus and these two bummy guys were sitting diagonal behind me when I got on the bus and sat down and one of them looked at me and says, 'Look at that girl who just got on the bus she has a really pretty face' and the other one looks sat me said, 'Ehh, I don't like short hair. I like long hair.' And I thought it was funny, because I could hear them, but they were acting like I couldn't." - Heather - Portland, OR.

What is a Dork?

"I just rode the bus and there was this guy on the bus who was a dork. I wanted to tell you what a dork he was because he was this white, young guy meditating on the bus all serious in lotus position and everything. In his Prana pants. In his fleece vest and little hippy hat on his head. Ughh! I hated him so much! And the whole time he was meditating I was thinking; dork, dork dork to mess him up so... I just wanted to let you know what I saw this morning cause it was awesome" - Heather - Portland, OR.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Itch

Saturday night, I'm all dressed up to go to a party on the East Bay. Catch the Pittsburg Bay Point train and a window seat. A very nicely dressed boy comes on - forget which station - and sits next to me. He has a Gucci shopping bag, black suit and shiny shoes, but he's quite young from what I can tell. The Gucciboy takes out a small pamphlet and starts reading.

I felt an itch on my leg.

So I bent over to scratch it.

The Gucci boy saw me, thought something dropped lunged forward to pick "it" up for me.

"Something dropped??"
"Oh! no, no I just all of a sudden had an itch on my leg - I uh. ... scratched it...."
"Oh I see. ... Isn't that weird - when you all of a sudden get an itch somewhere. It comes out of nowhere. Where do those itches come from?"
"Yes!! I know!!!", I said, "Where do they come from? But you know what I figured out? That if I have an itch and I make myself not scratch it then it eventually goes away."
"No!! REALLY!!!"
"YES!"

- The Gucci boy decided it was time for him to share with me his pamphlet - it was a book on Zen Buddhism -

"I want to show you a quote I just read - it's really interesting!"

- The train enters an underground tunnel and all sound muffles out. A skater boy comes in from another car with his skate board in one hand and a fat book in another. Skaterboy stands at the doors and opens the book. Gucciboy finds the quote and starts reading. The train shakes and rattles. Skaterboy's voice is challenged by the noise of the train as he recites from his book, the Bible. With passion and angst he proclaims God Almighty!! Then slaps the book shut and exits just as the train calms to the next stop.

Gucci boy and I look to each other in silence...

"I wonder if he was doing that for us or for himself", I said softly.

"I don't know"

Gucciboy read on in his pamphlet something about reality not really being real, tells me this is his stop and to have a nice night. He takes his Gucci gift bag.

This dark mysterious young man vanished as quickly as he came. And I wondered if he was just a figment of my imagination.

Pastries on the 5

Today on the 5 Fulton from downtown heading to Fillmore I'm sitting in the back listening to my ipod. The bus is pretty full. Everyone in the back is hooked up to an ipod. One boy comes on with a plate of some kind of puffy pastries (and his ipod). He sits next to a girl who asks him what they are. "I go to the culinary school" he says with a huge smile and offers her a pastry from his plate. She accepts it.

It was a strange exchange. Two strangers. A plate of pastries. He gives her one. He's smiling and proud and bright. The older man (no ipod) to the other side of the girl looks on to what is happening eye-ing the pastries - looks like he wants one, but doesn't ask. She carefully places her pastry item carefully in a plastic Safeway bag (for later?), says "thank you" and leaves. The boy cook puts his ipod back in his ears and is still smiling. He smiled at me too, but didn't offer me a pastry.

That's ok.

Monday, February 11, 2008

in honor of LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE

Caught this image on the way to work one day (the 6 or the 71 going down Haight St.) It just fits right into the SF morning rush doesn't it?
Stories on LOVE:

-SIDEBURNS-
"She takes the same train home every evening from the city and every time she got on there was this boy that got on the same train as her. He was really mysterious and good-looking. He had side burns and long hair. She would scope him out from a distance and named him “Sideburns”. She would say to her friends “I saw Sideburns on BART today”. Finally she felt she had to say something to him so she used his hair as an excuse “oh you have really beautiful hair”. He said that he was growing it out for ‘Locks for Love’ where you can give your hair to make wigs for cancer patients. He seemed perfect. He lived near by, was in his mid twenties, had a stable job etc. So they went out on a few dates. Then she comes to find out that he is Mormon. That became an issue since she was not Mormon. They still are friends and see each other from time to time but nothing romantic ever came into play." - SF, CA.

-BUS SCREW- "My friend “Angela” tells me a story about her friend, a woman, who was dressed in casual business attire riding the bus downtown. She's standing, holding onto the rail above her, and lost in thought until she realizes someone is bumping her body from behind, hard. It had been going on for a little while, but she didn't notice because, when she got on the bus it had been crowded. However, she now realized the bus was not crowded at all. She looked around, and saw a man in business clothes rubbing up against her from behind. She froze, panicked--but quietly-- and got off at the next stop, and found a cum stain on her dress!” - SF, CA.


-THE EYE- "I lived in the Sunset and I went to San Francisco State. In the morning a lot of people took the same bus: 29 Sunset. The 29 man…. Anyway almost every time I got on the bus in the morning I saw this really cute boy he was tall, fair skinned, had big bright crystal blue eyes, and beautiful black dred locks. He seemed a little mysterious you know wore all black and never talked to anyone. We noticed each other for quite a while and gave each other “the eye”, but nothing else was ever exchanged. I was in a Chinese Medicine class at the time and our assignment for the week was to practice one week of silence. We were not supposed to say anything to anyone. We could only have a sign that said “I am observing one week of silence” but other than doing home-work we weren’t supposed to do anything in our spare time like read, watch TV or movies, write, draw etc. We were only to observe our lives through silence. So one morning during this silent week I got on the 29 and I sat down. The boy was there. He came over and sat down next to me. He seemed a little nervous…. pause… then finally, “Hi”. I nodded a hello. Then he asked, “So what’s your name?” I was nervous and showed him my sign, “I am observing one week of silence” The irony was too much. The very first time this guy has the guts to say something to me I can’t say anything back! What are the odds!?" - SF, CA.


-NIETZSCHE, CRUSHES & CITATIONS-
"Aged 21, the most beautiful woman I'd ever seen in close proximity was Danielle Jediny. We had a course on Nietzsche together, but never talked, just looked. and when that course ended so did my hopes of seeing Danielle. A year later, I'm sitting on one of the sideway seats of the M train coming from sf state. She sees me and walks to stand next to me in the middle of the train, the pivot the 2 cars swing upon. I think she's going to talk to me, so I get excited, but then the Muni police come walking up behind her looking for tickets and passes. She doesn't have one. So she's stopped looking at me, standing in the mid-section of the train with 2 officers hovering over her, writing her a citation. And while this is happening, while she's getting out her ID, I get up and start chit-chatting with her. So basically I'm hitting on her and somehow we make plans and I get her number or something and we get together for a very brief but lovely little fling." - Sf, CA.

-EASY COME EASY GO-

"About 7 years ago I dropped out of college temporarily to take a trip up to Canada to visit a man I thought was my "soul mate" (yeah right). I took a Greyhound bus from Oakland to Calgary, Alberta. In Oakland I met a French guy named Gael who was touring parts of the US and Canada. We sat next to one another and talked nonstop from Oakland to Vancouver, which is where he got off. We spoke of our dreams, our views on life and love. We joked about traveling together and me skipping Calgary altogether. He kissed me as we said goodbye in Vancouver and when he returned to Paris, he wrote a song about me and sent me the demo tape. The guy in Calgary turned out to be an asshole and broke my heart. I should've stayed on the bus with Gael!" - Oakland, CA.


Monday, January 28, 2008

"Above and beyond - this is theoretical transportation! Don't try to use it if you're actually trying to get anywhere on time (under two hours).

"Interestingly enough, people actually seem to ACCEPT this state." - Anonymous - SF, CA.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Another Elderly Mishap

This is a conversation with a young woman who asked for some 'Bus Wisdom' advice from a bus support group. It went like this:

(W= Woman, G = Group)


W - "I need advice"

G - “you need advice”

W - "I need help"

G - “Okay, we’re all here”

W - "I don’t know if anyone here rides the L sometimes. 'the L train' Well for some yanno I think there’s some ethnic tensions yanno and that’s a very serious situation but for some reason, not once, not twice but THREE times I’ve had to break up senior citizens getting into it on the bus and I just don’t know what to do with them. I’m sorry but I’m not the kind of person who can stand by and watch a 70 year old woman try an clock a like a 60 year old guy. I find it upsetting. So if anyone has some inside words of wisdom – I know I should step back and just let them duke it out on the L and --- - it happens a lot on Saturdays. …"

G - “Are they fighting over seats? what are they fighting over?”

W - “They’re fighting over, ‘you didn’t move over an inch for that woman to get off. You’re horrible you’re innately evil’ and yelling at them. It gets a little ugly”

G - “And do you just break it up or do you swoop in with some words of wisdom?”

W - “I say you’re too old to be doing this”

G - “And does this stress you, out? Or do you enjoy it a little bit?”

W - “I enjoy it.. I, I”

G - “Okay then, I think… you know what I think? I think you’re doing a damn good job.”

- Anonymous - SF, CA.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Send me your bus transfers.
Need more bus transfers.

P.O. Box 170027
SF. CA. 94117

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Thursday, January 3, 2008

LOL (little old ladies)

"A little old lady rang the bell to get off at the next stop. She was tiny and looked as if she wouldn't harm a fly. We were on the #5. She got up and said in a very loud, stern voice, 'gettin' off, gettin' off, gettin' off - ' A very tall man was getting on at the same time. Towering over her, he thought he was in her way so he started apologizing profusely. She turned sharply to the man and said, 'I wasn't talkin' to YOU - get outta MY WAY! Gettin' off!' She practically pushed the man over and she exited the bus." - L.Kohne - SF, CA.