Pillow Talk on the 49-Van Ness

On the F Market with a pillow..
Photo by juicyrai

Sometimes Muni seems like San Francisco’s living room.

One night last week I walked up to the 49 bus shelter on Van Ness and saw that there was a young couple waiting for the bus, each carrying a huge cardboard box that said, Tempurpedic Pillow (with pictures of a high-tech-looking foam pillow). The bus arrived and we got on. It was crowded so the couple stood near the front.

I settled into a seat and the man next to me, a large scruffy older guy carrying a box of Chinese leftovers, pointed to the couple and said, “Hey, what are those?” “Pillows,” the girl said. “How much are they?” the big guy asked. The girl, a little uncomfortable already, said, “Oh we got them on sale.”

Where? The big guy wanted to know. The boyfriend tried to fend off all the questions about these shiny new pillows, but the big guy really wanted to know everything about them. “Well I hope they are comfortable. You guys look like newlyweds and you’ll probably be testing them out a lot! It’s like buying a new car, you gotta test the ride, you know what I mean?!” The people around him laughed and the big guy launched into a different conversation with another guy about cars as we passed by the car dealerships on Van Ness.

The young couple seemed relieved that the attention was off of them. By this time a new crop of passengers got onto the bus and I heard one of them say, “Hey, what’s in those boxes? Pillows? Where’d you buy those?”

A whole new thread of conversation about foam pillows was being started among the new strangers in the front of the bus. The big guy was still deep in his car conversation and I thought, Hey, this is San Francisco’s living room.

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