There we all stand like good little soldiers in a row. Or sailors, airmen, or marines depending on the individual background. The white woman next to me is fashionably dressed, hair professionally styled, and make-up impeccable. The African American woman next to me on the other side wears a warm down coat, furry trimmed hood tucked closely to her head. There is a white guy in a wheel chair which should prove interesting. I am standing sixth in line, waiting to board the Metro bus headed to the SFVA at 0800 this chilly Friday morning. The diversity in race, age and dress extends behind me as well as forward. This is San Francisco, it is not the white bread of the mid-west.
All together there are 18 of us joining the dozen or so who are already on the bus. The stop prior to ours – the Trans-Bay Terminal picks up riders from Muni, Cal Train, several shuttles and along haul bus or two. The earlier runs are busier. By the time 0800 rolls around, most VA workers are already hard at work.
The elderly vet with the wheelchair carefully hauls himself up the front stairs to the first row of seats while the driver places his chair in one of the lower storage compartments. The young woman with crutches hops up the steps on one leg while keeping a death grip on those same crutches.
From the 5th and Powell stop it is 30 min to the VA. Since I am headed to the Dental Clinic I don’t stop for coffee, donut or muffin no matter how tasty they look. By shortly after 1000 I am at the bus stop waiting for the 38R to get me back to a BART station so that I can work my way hom