With all the construction going on around town, I need longer poles. The construction workers seldom place the cones with the correct space needed for our poles to clear. Truck drivers also park too far away from the curb and their trailer box also interferes with the ropes attached to our trolley of poles. There seems to be no route or line that avoids lane closed signs because they are literally everywhere in the city.
On Hayes Street lane closures make for an interesting game of chicken as we must pass by a block with only one lane open. If the flagmen are distracted by the inspector, they miss the oncoming bus entering the gauntlet in the other direction. They will wave me on when it is not safe, and I ultimately am responsible for my passengers and my safety record by ignoring the wave from the inattentive flagman, and staying put.
If they don't really change heart and pay attention, I can always play with lawn bowling or bocce ball rules whereby the cone is the marker and I try to see how close I come to the cone at my rear tire without knocking it over. The most awesome week is when I can touch the cone and spin it to move into the correct position without anyone having to move it. This is one of my reminders I am having a great day, even in a line delay. I got past the narrows and am on my way to the gold, just like a skier in the Winter Olympics!
The Trolleybus of Happy Destiny: definitely not a bus that is rushing down the road! Especially with a lane closed!
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People watching is the greatest job benefit of being a transit operator in the Bagdad-by- the-bay. Friends and family always ask about the great benefits a civil service worker must have in being a government employee. I usually mention the post office as having the best defined contribution plan or pension. But in the day-to-day flow of ants moving to and from the anthill that are the skyscrapers built on the bones of boats in the bay downtown, it isn't a column of numbers in the year-to-date tab on a paycheck that is a job perk in being a bus driver over and in the arteries flowing from the heart of San Francisco that make for daily job benefits behind the wheel.
Visitors are easy to spot as the alpha dog always holds all the transit passports in their hand for all of the group. They usually follow at the end of the queue. When a large family passes by the farebox without paying, the alpha comes up the steps at the end with the fares. Sometimes, a large group passes, and there is no alpha with no fare! To keep my ambassadorial role as a representative of the city, I don't say anything. When I do, they usually have their fare, buried in the back of their backpack.
Many times the person asking the questions is in front, and the ticket holder is at the rear. I can usually tell who they are. If they are asking a question I don't understand, I ask them where they are going. If they can't answer this, I then switch over to intuitive mode and say yes and ask them to step up. When this fails, I beckon them with my hand.
Talking to just one person, the alpha dog as Zen master, is best to keep the herd in line!
If an entire family is wearing brand new hoodies and sweat tops with Alcatraz images, it is obvious the ferry ride over to the famous prison island caught them unawares of how cold our sea breeze hits the skin. Especially true when traveling the rails of a boat over the bay or waiting for a bus on a hill.
The current gold rush becomes apparent. The gold is not in the hills at Sutter's Mill. The gold is found by selling hoodies and sweat shirts to tourists at Fisherman's Wharf; or out of a blanket atop Twin Peaks. It can even be mined from a handbag held side saddle with a wide open top or side pocket.
Not limited to the wharf, other places, such as tour bus vista stops, also become a bazaar for clothing sales. In order to bypass permits, vendors have all the shirts and gear laying on large blankets and sheets. If the spotter sees police cars coming up the hill on the road below, they quickly wrap the garments in the blanket and throw them over the rail. The clothing becomes invisible to the police in the patrol car when it passes by the vista point area.
Great places for selfies and shots with friends are the Hearts of San Francisco on the corners of Union Square. Alamo Square by the Painted Ladies has landscaping of new trees and freshly sodded green grass. New plumbing for sprinklers and a bathroom have also been upgraded. The Victorian beauties abound around the 4 block square, and look great as a backdrop for a picture.
If you want to cool off on a vacation in July, San Francisco is the place to be!
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