This morning I walked out the door, late, and down the sloping hill to look for a bus. Instead I found my boyfriend. Running in to him at a bus stop unexpectedly is like going to work and finding your desk covered with cupcakes. With pink sprinkles.
After a ride six blocks, I left him on the bus, and boarded a BART train. I watched a woman French braid her own hair, something I have never even been able to do to anyone else, much less myself. A young boy with a European accent I couldn't place explained to another young boy what Berkeley was like: "Young students, people in flowing clothes, revolutionaries and poets, bums."
After exiting the train car I swooped around a mother and her three children who were all holding hands, walking four abreast. I was too irritated by their blocking of pedestrian traffic and toddler-pace that I failed to find it cute. Even though it was.
At Pine and Front a cop car screamed up, slid to a stop, and an officer climbed out. A man in the middle of the intersection pointed to the northeast corner, where I finally saw what the police were there for. A woman, screaming, her legs maybe broken, or, just, somehow not near her, in a lump in the street. Officers attempted to pull her out of the road. Her face was twisted, and she howled. My walk light turned white, and I had to go. Attempts to look back on the scene were obscured by hurried pedestrians and darting cars.
A man told me he liked my coat.
I arrived a good half hour behind schedule.
UPDATE: This comment from the very boyfriend I ran into this morning deserves front page status:
I’m glad that you wrote this because after you got off the bus, I had an amazing rest of my trip.
First, I get a seat and sit with my crutches in front of me. As you know, it was a crowded bus. As the middle-aged man in the aisle did not know, my crutches are not a reliable thing to hold on to. The bus pulled away and he nearly fell over as my crutches and I were unprepared to bear his weight.
Then, the larger gentlemen next to me starts complaining about something I don’t understand, and appears to be talking to me. Finally I get it: something smells like garlic and he is displeased. “I don’t mind it, garlic,” he says, “but not first thing in the morning!”
A few stops later a cane-wielding middle aged black guy and an elderly Hispanic woman are both aiming for the one remaining seat in the front of the bus. He asks if she’s going to sit there, and she replies (in Spanish) “I am going to sit there, but I am in pain and moving slowly.” He sits down and says to her, “This is America, lady. I don’t speak Spanish. Here in America, we speak English! Am I right?”
A few moments later my garlic-obsessed friend leans over and says “Spanish is our second language, isn’t it?” I nod in non-official agreement.
Same friend has a buddy named Charles a few seats over. At 7th and Mission, they stand up and exclaim “Heading off! Out of the way please!” as they move towards the front of the bus. When people aren’t moving out of their way (both Charles and my friend are large gentlemen), my pal starts shouting “Let us offboard and then you all can board. Are you too stupid to understand that?”
One of the boarders in question, clearly with a better grasp of Muni etiquette, states loudly “Are you too stupid to get off in the back?” To which guy replies “We’re elderly! We get off in the front!” and she replies “Y’all ain’t elderly, y’all is just high.” Good times. I was laughing. Neither Charles nor my garlic-in-the-morning-loathing compatriot appeared to be much older than 50 or so.
I love the 14, particularly the 14L.