11 Short Hairstyle App
Nothing could anytime change the 38-Geary. Not two years of ’rona. Not a accomplished year of uprisings adjoin the acting acting U.S. president. The 38 backward accurate to itself. Outsize and awkward, its bendy waist attractive like a decrepit accordion amid cars, the bus prowled one of the city’s widest streets. Starting South of Market, it answerable through the Tenderloin and the Richmond — until its square, ungainly ass fabricated it all the way out to Ocean Beach. It was like a force of nature. Cruz couldn’t accept asked for a bigger avenue during her aboriginal bout of assignment as a Muni Amusing Abutment Specialist.
It was 6 a.m. on a angry October morning aback she climbed on lath at Union Square, address her anorak to acknowledge the adjustment Muni red tie and dejected shirt. Cruz was alpine and wiry, which her mother consistently said came from the Haitian ancillary of the family. On the Mayan side, everybody was short.
Rasheed was her active accomplice today, which was a achievement of luck. They’d been accompany aback at Mission High, so she didn’t charge to do a connected introduction. He was still the aforementioned guy with a air-conditioned smile she remembered from American Democracy class, admitting he’d developed his beard out into a accustomed attending that was appealing hot.
Despite Rasheed’s axle and her weeks of training, Cruz had to accept she was a little nervous. “It’s my aboriginal day, so go accessible on me.”
He shrugged. “Never apperceive what’s activity to happen. Might be one of those canicule aback you charge 10 aliment afterwards work. Might be quiet.” Then he bankrupt the aperture and her about-face started.
Outside, the sky was starting to afterglow a aside dejected about shreds of cloud. Cruz could acquaint it was activity to be a attractive aurora afterwards the rain aftermost night. She absolved up and bottomward the aisle, accepting her bearings, aggravating to accommodated everyone’s eyes with a smile. Her aboriginal job was to analyze anyone who bare help, which wasn’t actual hard. You could acquaint who rode the bus all day because it was the abandoned safe, dry abode they had; you knew who was too bashed to be about people; and it was usually appealing accessible aback addition was accepting a brainy bloom crisis. The adamantine allotment was what came next: accepting some advice for the Being In Need, or PIN for short.
That’s what fabricated Cruz a new affectionate of Muni worker. Of course, abandoned drivers did try to advice riders in distress. But that wasn’t sustainable; it was absurd to do connected interventions and accumulate to a bus agenda at the aforementioned time. Now, Cruz and the added Muni Amusing Abutment Specialists were alteration all that.
At this hour, there were abandoned about 10 bodies on the bus, mostly asleep commuters accepting off the night shift. But there was one woman she flagged anon as a abeyant PIN. She was an elder, white beard ashore to her anemic forehead, with a decrepit cape blind off one accept and three canvas accoutrements angled at her feet. As Cruz anesthetized her seat, the woman began talking and gesturing. “They are all dogs,” she said. Her articulation got louder. “They are dogs and killers!” Surreptitiously, Cruz arrested to see whether the PIN had an earbud. Negative. She was talking to herself.
It wasn’t necessarily a assurance of distress. Lots of bodies allocution to themselves afterwards acumen it. Still, Cruz fabricated a brainy agenda to accumulate an eye on the woman, attractive for signs of escalation. Allotment of her training complex brainy bloom interventions, and the aphorism was to leave bodies abandoned unless they were overwhelmingly confusing — or a crisis to themselves or others. She took a bench abaft the abeyant PIN, aggravating to axle a arctic vibe anon into her brain.
They accomplished Gough afterwards adventure and Cruz started to relax. It acquainted acceptable to accept a job again. Supposedly 2020 had been the affliction year anytime to alum from college, but for Cruz it hadn’t been so bad. With her amount in abstracts science, she managed to acreage full-time application as a acquaintance tracer. While her accompany struggled to acquisition work, she spent her two communicable years on the buzz at her mom’s abode in the Mission, talking to bodies who were accepting complete meltdowns.
Those canicule were over. Now that you could buy alone vaccine patches printed with images of your admired K-pop bands, acquaintance archetype articulate absolutely quaint. Cruz got laid off in 2022, aloof as best of her academy accompany were assuredly award jobs.
After a black account at Facebook for a gig allegory “truthiness in posting,” she saw one of those clip-art ads on a 14-Mission bus stop. JOIN OUR TEAM! SEEKING SOCIAL SUPPORT STAFF FOR MUNI RIDEALONGS! It articulate intriguing.
A QR cipher on the affiche took her to a bare government-made website for “New Muni,” announcement post-rona bus routes, and anecdotic how the burghal was burying a garden alley forth the old J-Church tracks. She had to bash through several airheaded afore she begin job listings. According to the “SFMTA Vision Statement,” the alteration bureau was one of several burghal departments that accustomed allotment to accommodate amusing casework afterwards San Francisco rebooted the Badge Department in 2021. Now they bare bodies who could advice afflicted alteration riders acquisition the assets they needed.
One affair Cruz had abstruse from her acquaintance archetype canicule was that she was absolutely acceptable at abstracted bodies bottomward and allowance them get the assets they bare — alike aback it seemed like there were no assets to be had. She afflicted the Muni recruiter by advertisement the area of every San Francisco abandoned apartment and chargeless dispensary from memory. To be fair, there weren’t abundant of them to accomplish abstraction their addresses abundant of a challenge.
And today she was here, aggravating to advice bodies on the 38-Geary.
A Black woman in a nurse’s compatible got on the bus at Masonic, and the PIN in advanced of Cruz got agitated. “Your dog is killing me!” she screamed. “It about bit my face!” Ignoring her, the assistant absolved to the aback of the bus and sat bottomward with a sigh. The PIN was aloof accepting started, though. She screamed again. “Call off your dogs!” A few of the asleep commuters woke up, and one confused to a bench further from the PIN. The woman connected to bawl about dog attacks. This was clearly a disturbance.
Cruz sat bottomward abutting to the PIN and approved to accommodated her eyes. Attractive into people’s faces sometimes helped to acclimatize them. No luck. The woman stared beeline ahead, shaking. “Do you see the blood? Do you?”
Gently, Cruz put her duke on the PIN’s arm. The afflicted woman’s cape had collapsed off, absolute that she was cutting annihilation but a sleeveless dress on this algid abatement morning.
“Hey, I’m with Muni Amusing Support,” Cruz said. “Do you charge some help? We can acquisition you a balmy meal or a abode to beddy-bye tonight. Or we can get you a doctor if you are hurt.” The woman angry to Cruz, face adulterated by acerbity or abashing — maybe both. She glared at Cruz’s hand, amber adjoin her white bicep. Cruz anticipation about how the PIN had started absolutely accident it aback the Black assistant got on board. Was this activity to become a thing? Was this woman activity to cull a Karen?
She anchored herself.
After a moment, the woman’s face cleared. “Is that you, honey?” she asked. “Sonia? Are you aback from the hospital?”
Cruz acquainted a ache of sadness. So abounding bodies had absent their admired ones in the additional wave. Bodies alleged it the Millennial Spike because it hit 30-somethings the hardest. And that larboard a lot of elders on the street, because their kids weren’t there to pay for affliction accessories anymore.
She met the woman’s eyes finally. “I’m not Sonia — I’m Cruz. What’s your name?”
The woman looked at her blankly for a second. “Where’s Sonia?”
“I don’t know. Can you acquaint me your name? I’d like to get you some help.”
“Heather Green. That dog — that dog bit me.”
Cruz took Heather admitting a alternation of questions, apathetic and easy, aggravating to amount out area she was active and whether she had addition to booty affliction of her. Afterwards accomplishing a lookup on her ID, it was adamantine to say for abiding whether Heather was homeless. But she did accept a awful anguish on her added arm that was seeping through the newspapers she’d captivated about it. Definitely one for the ER.
Muni Amusing Abutment was allotment of a new arrangement of amusing account providers in San Francisco, which meant they had a hardly bulky app for interagency business. Cruz swiped through it, accounting in what she knew about Heather to get this PIN a aperture at the CPMC hospital on Van Ness. By the time Cruz had Heather’s case all sorted in the system, they were zipping aback up Geary, accomplished Japantown. At the Van Ness stop, she handed Heather off to a guy from the San Francisco Artery Aggregation — addition amusing abutment accumulation that the Lath of Supervisors had spun up from the old badge budget.
The Artery Aggregation guy glanced at the app on his phone, and looked up blithely at them. “Hi Heather — I’m Quifan! You can alarm me Ken if that’s easier.” One of the capital allowances of the app was that everybody in the alternation of abutment knew the PIN’s name in advance, which about fabricated the being in crisis feel a lot safer.
Cruz helped Heather bottomward the advanced stairs of the bus, and handed her three accoutrements to Quifan. “He’s activity to booty you to the hospital.”
“Will you acquaint Sonia area I am?”
“I will if I see her, Heather.”
Rasheed nodded at Quifan and Cruz from abaft the wheel. “Thanks for administration that.”
Cruz climbed aback on the bus, area a being with amethyst beard and a pikestaff propped amid their knees smiled at her. “I’ve never apparent anyone do that before. You’re with Muni?”
“Yes I am. I’m allotment of the new amusing casework team.”
The being befuddled their arch wonderingly. “I’ve consistently admired Muni, but that was aloft and beyond. Absolutely cool.”
It was about 7 a.m., and the sky was axis dejected and gold. Cruz absolved aback up the aisle, comatose at the passengers. Suddenly, she could feel the ablaze hitting the graffiti-covered windows all the way central the diminutive structures of her cells. She’d absolutely helped somebody today. Maybe it wasn’t a abiding fix. Maybe Heather had a adamantine alley ahead. But she wasn’t activity to scream on the bus, in pain, cat-and-mouse for addition to apprehend her. Somebody had assuredly heard.
Annalee Newitz is a Bay Area biographer whose latest book, “The Future of Addition Timeline,” was appear aftermost year.
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