On the bus

San Francisco has a completely different rhythm from New York. Proportionally, many more people here take the bus, which is kind of intense, as buses tend to get very full (a bus is a lot smaller than a NY subway car).

Everyone here just tunes out the intensity and goes into their own world. It’s one of those things, I think, that people accept about living in the beautiful City by the Bay.

The bus drivers here are godlike beings, brusk but fair, dispensing justice as they go. They have no room for politeness, and won’t hesitate to face down someone who tries to get on without a MUNI pass, but they seem to really look out for their charges.

If you don’t have a pass (if, say, you are a clueless out-of-towner like me), you need to pay two bucks cash. Exact change, if you please.

Today I got to the bus stop downtown and realized, to my chagrin, that I had no singles. I figured I would just pay the driver a five, since my friends who were waiting for me had made dinner reservations.

When I got on the bus, I showed the driver my five dollar bill, told him I didn’t have any singles, and asked if I could just pay with this.

“Exact change,” he said impassively.

“Could I just give you this five and you can keep the change?” I asked hopefully.

He stared at me. “Why would you want to do that?”

I had no time to think of any answer but the truth. “Because I really need to get there.”

With a tired shrug, he waved me in. He wasn’t interested in taking my five. Apparently, the fact that I had offered it was payment enough.

One thought on “On the bus”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *