i do not take a pretty bus line to work on the days i take public transportation to get to my job.
instead, the bus line i take rolls right through the heart of the Tenderloin. now, for those of you who do not know, all of san francisco is divided into various neighborhoods and they each have their own plusses and minuses. except the 'Loin has decidedly more "minuses" than "plusses" in that it's pretty much the slummiest part of the city, and is rife with the smell of urine and drunk. its plusses are mainly the number of good, cheap restaurants (mostly thai*), bars, and apartments (not that you really want to be living there) (though both Ish and i live fairly 'Loin-Adjacent).
anyway. as you might well imagine, the bus i take picks up some very interesting characters in the morning. some are people like me, clearly on their way to their office jobs. then there are those nice folks who clearly aren't going to an "office," but who don't look homeless or deathly ill, so i am appreciative of their presence.
then you have the rest, who -- and don't think i am not sensitive to the plight of the poor -- are just uncomfortable to have to sit near, for many reasons. like the person who coughs and hacks without covering his mouth and then openly spits. or the person who mutters mostly incoherent but very angry things incessantly. or the one who yells at other passengers.
or the guy who gets on the bus and smokes a bowl. just right there. on the bus. with closed windows. this morning.
party people, do not think i am big on harshing anyone's buzz.
but you have to agree that seeing a very large man in a very large coat (that may or may not be housing much of his earthly posessions beneath it) and big winter hat with white hair protruding everywhere, who just gets on the bus reeeeeeeeking of pot is not maybe the wake-up you want on your morning commute.
and then to see him actually smoking?
a couple people opened some bus windows. a couple people moved away from him. otherwise, no one really did anything or said anything, except for the older woman sitting near me, who was incensed.
"THAT MAN IS SMOKING MARIJUANA!" she announced, in case anyone had missed it. "You know, I have been to places where they allow marijuana like HOLLAND but they don't let you just smoke it ON THE BUS. Why doesn't someone tell the bus driver?" she then asked, not realizing that probably no one was doing anything about it for the same reason she wasn't. "Oh my god, we are all going to show up at work a little high today!"
i got off a stop early to try and avoid showing up at work smelling like a bong hit.
and then i descended the escalator to get on the BART and passed my favorite BART station musician, The Voilinist.
most mornings The Violinist is there, poised in front of his music stand, playing complex, up-tempo modernist pieces on his trusty violin.
it is very clear that this man has no idea how to play the violin.
what is not clear, however, is if this man knows he does not know how to play the violin. i mean, i can't tell (and won't be asking) if he is completely crazy, and thinks he is, actually, playing something legitimate...or if he knows he isn't but thinks none of us will notice.
and so goes my morning commute.
at least now i feel like a real city person because i know where the BART station is and don't get lost and actually often travel with an air of superiority since i recently learned that the monthly adult MUNI pass (the "fast pass") ALSO works as a BART ticket when traveling within the city, all the way from the Embarcadero to the Balboa Park station. cool, huh?