Friday, June 03, 2011

How to ride the bus in San Francisco

this is a short short story i wrote awhile ago. i dug it out from folders in my computer that i haven't looked at for months and i actually kind of like it.

How to ride the bus in San Francisco
Expect that you’ll be waiting for the K Ingleside streetcar every morning. And that your feet will hurt. Your new shoes will pinch and make you regret your unfortunate footwear choice. You stand on the little concrete island watching the traffic rush by. Every day at the bus stop, there will be the usual suspects waiting alongside you. Partners in waiting, you think. And then you wonder if their feet hurt too.

When the streetcar finally arrives, the doors slide open and you rush to your favorite seat. It’s the one in the back where you can prop your feet up. This set of seats is usually empty, but not today. Someone slides into your seat. You know it’s silly and childish to have a favorite seat. But it bothers you because you are stuck sitting in between 3 other people while you are trying to read a book but the guy next to you has music buzzing so loudly, you wonder why he isn’t deaf yet.

The driver stops and speeds up, stops and speeds up. It’s a jarring ride with elbows and backpacks and the excuse mes. Sometimes you would like to fold yourself up as if you were an envelope. You fidget like a four year old and wish the bus would go faster.You close your eyes and try to shut out the swishing noise when the streetcar enters the first tunnel.

But when you open your eyes, you hear “Passengers, please take out your valid transfers or passes,” and you think, oh shit.


Anonymous said...

fabulous. and thanks for the butterfly letter!

Carole said...

Your city's buses are quite an adventure. We rode them a couple of years ago while on a weeks holiday. The jerking and lurching made it difficult to read the map! :)

catwrangler said...

I actually like Muni. My husband has driven my OCD crazy by not following these rules.

1. Have bus fair ready, take transfer, do not talk to driver.
2. Move to back of bus.
3. Right after the bus passes the stop before yours, pull rope and get up and make way to BACK door.
4. Go out BACK DOOR.

He has historically refused to do #4 so now I just get off the bus and if he ends up at the next stop - so be it.