Tuesday, December 2, 2008

You guys, we are in the wrong sector...

Via SFist via SFGate:

Nathaniel Ford

-is the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency chief
-has the highest base salary on the city payroll ($315,140!!)
-was set to receive a $13,236 raise and a $26,787 bonus
-but, it looks like the raise/bonus will be deferred.


P.S. SFMTA faces a budget deficit of about $40 million this year.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Argh mateys, there be pirates roaming these city streets!

One of my favorite San Francisco characters is a guy I call "The Muni Pirate." He hangs out on Market Street, usually between Powell and Montgomery, hawking transfers. He always wears a headscarf, heavy boots and a gold earring. I'm still trying to figure out if he uses eyeliner or if his eyes are just naturally well-outlined. Sometimes he has a carpetbag.

A few weeks ago, I was on my way home from work when I saw TMP in action! But let's get this straight, the guy is always in action. When he's not running onto buses, throwing pennies in the meter and grabbing a stack of transfers to sell, he's giving potential customers the once-over and siding up to you all shady whispering, "Hey, you need one?" From what I've been quoted, his going price is between 50 cents to a dollar.

I've never bought a transfer from him, but I'm always curious about who does. My curiosity has been sated because I saw not one, but two exchanges take place, on two different days, in two different spots. I was excited about it.

Number one comes from the median across from Abercrombie. I saw him sell this old lady a crumply pass for some change. He gave her a head nod and disappeared. She was unfazed.



Number two took place at Market and Montgomery. He sold the guy in scrubs a pass for a dollar. Scrubs guy kept his earphones in and didn't say anything. He did give the pirate a head nod after the exchange though.


I'm just so curious about this guy. Has he ever been busted? What's his deal? Is this profitable? Maybe one of these days I can line up an interview.

Until then, stay tuned. I promise to be back on track soon. I sort of took a summer hiatus and just never came off of it. It happens.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Muni Take Note!

Eeeeesh!*

Also, crazy Muni beautification. Personally, I would appreciate functionality, but you know, small steps.

*Thanks Kelly!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Watch where you sit!

This morning my co-worker and I traded Muni Fail stories: the 38BX never came, causing me to be late, and apparently on her 10 Townsend the driver got up and announced that yesterday two people were stuck by needles left in the seats. He warned everyone to be careful on the afternoon ride. What?!

Which makes me wonder, what's the weirdest/grossest thing you've seen/experienced on Muni seats?

I think mine's probably a puddle of urine on the 5 Fulton. Disgusting.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Watch yourselves fair city dwellers...

This isn't about Muni, but it is about insanity and since the two are synonymous I thought I'd pass it along.

Could you even imagine?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Straight From the Horse's Mouth

A few nights ago, in a roundabout way of getting home, I ended up on the 22 and heard an interesting conversation which I thought I would pass on.

Time: 6:47 p.m.
Stop: Church and Duboce

I'm sitting in the back, on the left side of the forward facing quad seats. Across from me is a smirky man wearing a Giants hat, next to him is a bored looking guy with headphones on, next to me is a guy with a hat wearing a huge camouflage jacket and behind all of us is a Muni driver who just got off a shift.

When the Muni driver got on he was really friendly and started talking to everyone. He sort of reminded me of that one kid in high school who knows everybody and is super comfortable being all loud and chatty.

Camouflage guy and the Muni driver start talking. I'm not sure what they started talking about but my ears perked up when I heard Camouflage saying he used to be in the Marines and has since had multiple surgeries on his brain and was left with "almost no real bones in [his] body!" He has to go to Stanford all the time for testing, takes pills at multiple points in the day and keeps a strict diet of fruits and vegetables. Muni driver, also a former Marine, is shocked that Camouflage can't eat meat. "Have you been to Safeway recently? You can get those big Niman Ranch steaks for real cheap!" Camouflage says again that he can't have meat, but if he did he would get it at Foods Co. He shakes his head, "They have much better prices."

As we start going up Fillmore, the conversation turns to driving the bus. Camouflage is impressed by the drivers since it's such a hard job. Muni driver explains how he applies the same principles from the Marines to his job driving. The principles? "Staying physically strong ... and remembering [he's] in a position of service." They talk about finding purpose in the Marines. Then they started talking about drugs. I think I zoned out for 20 seconds or something around that point thus the disconnect in subject matter. (Or is it?)

Muni driver explains that there is a drug policy in place now where if you test dirty you're unable to drive for two years. The two of them agree that it's a good, forgiving policy, especially after Muni driver explains that within his first three years, before the policy was in place, 900 drivers were let go. Nine hundred?!

The driver continues throwing big numbers around saying, "Currently we're 700 drivers short, so we're hiring." Marine guy says he might be interested. Muni driver is thrilled and gives him a bright orange flier. "Yeah, they're interviewing on the 17th, 18th and 21st, just down at 401 Van Ness. Just go right on in on the first level!" Marine guy gets very excited and says he might do it. He hops out at McCallister and Fillmore.

Muni driver stands up as the bus pulls away and fans the rest of the papers at me, the Giants guy and the man with headphones. "Anybody else want to make $27 an hour?"

The Giants hat guy exclaims, "Twenty seven dollars?!"

"Yeah, and $41.41 after eight hours!"

I momentarily contemplate quitting my job.

Giants hat guy and I exchange the same wide-eyed look. He says, "Wow," under his breath.

The driver laughs and walks to the front. Giants hat guy smirks at me. Headphones guy hides behind his sunglasses and remains unfazed. Oh, Muni.

------------------

But seriously, if you're in the market for a new job and you've always dreampt of a career in Muni, now is your time!

In other things, my life is starting to slow down and this NoLineLeftBehind hiatus is almost over. I promise to post more new, exciting explorations very soon. Watch out!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Too Good Not to Share...

In the vein of Rachel's Fog City Notes, an excerpt of my travels outbound on the 31 Balboa this evening:

Time: 7:55 p.m. (approx.)
Stop: Turk Street & Taylor Street

The bus is pretty full. Most people look like they're headed home from work. We pick up some people and the bus starts to move. Through the music on my iPod, I hear screaming. Is someone stuck in the door?

I pull my pods out. "Let me on! Let me on!" Someone at the front of the bus tells the driver there's a woman in a wheelchair chasing the bus. The bus stops. Doors open.

Thinking the action is over, I put my pods back in. I look out towards Aunt Charlie's. About two minutes go by and this woman is still trying to get on the bus. The people towards the front seem displaced. Some of them move to the back, some of them stand around the front confused. I pull out my pods. Someone yells, "She's too heavy!" I hear the woman screaming but it's garbled. The bus driver is up and trying to help her. She starts saying something about how it's a new chair, she doesn't know how to work it. Suddenly she's on the bus, zipping around the front and bumping into the front seats. An old man stands up on his seat and clutches the top rail. Talk about dexterity, wow. The woman tries to maneuver the wheelchair but she can't. It keeps going out of control. Finally, she gets over to the wheelchair corner. She keeps babbling loudly about the chair being new and not knowing how to work it. It's a pretty nice chair, it looks cushy and padded.

I'm pretty sure she wasn't locked in because she kept scooting the chair around but we started moving again anyway. She continues yelling nonsense. I put my pods back in.

Time: 8:05 p.m. (approx.)
Stop: Eddy Street and Laguna Street

The bus stops and I'm pulled out of my end-of-the-day-lull by more screaming. The bus driver is yelling at the woman. "You pushed the button to get off here! I heard it"

She's indignant. "No, I DIDN'T! This is not where I get off!"

"You pushed the button to get off here, you're getting off!"

I was in the back, so I couldn't see any of this, but if I had to guess I would say she pushed it. She was rolling around a lot so intentional or not, it seems probable that she did signal to get off.

They continue their shouting match until she calls the driver "a punk ass nigga" to which the driver says, "That's it. I'm getting the police!" The back of the bus sighs an audible collective groan. This could be a while.

The bus driver gets off the bus and heads towards the back. I look out the back window and see the driver and a cop car but no cop. Meanwhile, on the bus, the woman has started crying hysterically. "I take this bus all the time, nothing like this has ever happened to me before!" Seriously, if I had a dollar every time I heard that on MUNI, I would be a very rich lady.

The old man who was previously standing on his chair tries to comfort her in a very thick Russian accent. I'm pretty sure I heard her call him a bitch. As in, "Bitch, it's not ok!" She continues her scream-rambling about being mistreated by the driver when all of the sudden she stands up and walks off the bus.

A guy across from me is on his cell phone. He tells the person on the other end, "Yeah, I'm watching a show MUNI." No kidding. I turn around to look at the driver again. He sees the woman walking and his face is the dictionary definition picture of disbelief. He yells, "YOU CAN WALK?!"

Everyone on the bus laughs. The bus driver is not laughing. "Ohhhh, no!" She gets back on the bus. Out of nowhere the cop appears and he's smirking as he walks to the front of the bus. There's more "I'm not going anywhere! You can't make me do anything!" The police officer says, "Come here, I'll help you get off." She doesn't want help, she doesn't want to get off, this isn't her stop. Finally she gets off. The bus driver closes the door quickly, I guess in case she decided to make a mad dash for the door sans wheelchair.

Outside, the cop has a notepad out and then woman has tears streaming down her face. As we pull away, I notice that she is either wearing hot pants or maybe just panties. Either way, there was a lot of old lady thigh happening.

End Scene.

In other MUNI-related things, anyone know what line this driver is on? Not going to lie, I'm kind of excited for it.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Counting on MUNI, mathematically speaking

Lots of exciting stuff is happening in the next few days and it's a three day weekend so MUNI might be slightly ridiculous.

If you're anything like me, you'll wait and wait for a bus, give up in a huff when it doesn't come and start walking. Of course, the bus I was waiting for passes me in between stops and then I look like a madwoman chasing a bus at fullspeed for two blocks.

This article mathematically proves why it's better to just wait. Guess you should pack a crossword puzzle or something.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

MUNI gets towed!


Cell phone cameras do no justice but this is a 49 getting towed at Van Ness, as seen from the 5.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Oh, MUNI...

Guess what everyone?! I have a not-so-MUNI related (but still exciting) transit story and lots of ridiculousness as experienced on the M-Ocean View. Keep an eye out for those two.

But for now, a story.

A couple weekends ago I was down in the Mission and used my MUNI pass on BART. I usually keep my MUNI pass in a passholder thing, but it's sort of inconvenient on BART so I ended up just putting the pass in my back pocket.

Fast forward to Monday, I go to get on my morning bus and realize, "My pass is gone!" At first I thought I lost it, but then I realized I just forgot to take it out of my jeans pocket. Phew. Luckily Mr. 31BX and I are tight so he let me on, no problem.

On the ride to work, I hatch this terrific plan to photocopy my coworker's May pass and just stick it in my passholder. Of course I forget.

I leave downtown around 7:30 p.m. and decide to just be cool, get on my phone, flash my April pass with my thumb over the "APR" and go to the back of the bus. No problem, tons of people evade MUNI everyday.

Except that I hate lying and stealing, I'm not very good at it and my poker face is suspicious. So of course the bus driver yells at me. "Ma'am! What do you think you're doing?" Blergh.

I look down at my pass and gasp. "Oh no! I am so sorry." Of course my change purse is completely empty except for two one-dollar bills.

I sat down angry. I can't believe I had to pay TWO DOLLARS! I can't believe he wouldn't just let me on! I could have shown him a year's worth of passes!

So basically, I'm 0-2 in MUNI fare evasion. The first time, I was in college and lost my bus pass ID and tried to get on near Balboa Park. The driver yelled at me, made me pay and told me if I ever tried to do it again I would be prosecuted. Thankfully I wasn't.

And yet, people ride for free everyday. Life's mysteries.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

L - Taraval

Line: L - Taraval, Inbound
Date: April 12, 2008
Weather Conditions: Warm & Sunny

Time: 10:53 a.m.
First Stop: Wawona Street & 46th Avenue

Taking a break and gearing up.

Today is a beautiful day but the Outer Sunset is kind of a ghost town. My guesses for everyone's whereabouts are: the Zoo, Ocean Beach or eating brunch. An L is sitting at the stop but the driver won't let anyone on. As a non-regular train rider I'm sort of confused about where passengers are supposed to stand. On the little train island or near the bus shelter? An older man with a yellow shopping bag seems to be thinking the same thing; we both pace in between the two areas in case the train decides to move and we need to make a run for it. (Thinking about it now, I really doubt the old man would have run. I would probably have to be that idiot running to catch MUNI for the both of us.)

Yellow bag man checks out one of many ever present Sarah Marshall ads.

Some other people show up and stand on the train island. Around the stop there are two motels, Roberts Motel and Ocean Park Motel. There is a sign on Roberts Motel, "Sleep By The Sea."

Time: 10:57 a.m.

Yes! Finally the train looks like it's going to start. I head over to the island. Passengers are me, yellow bag man, a guy wearing an AIDS prevention shirt with a zoo visitor sticker , a middle aged runner with a newspaper and an old woman who reminds me of Aunt Edna from National Lampoon's Vacation. We file on the train. The driver does not check passes. Yellow bag man sits down in my normal seat. Oh no he didn't! He must feel my inner territorial rage because he gets up. I sit down. All is well.

We start rolling along. The train is air conditioned which feels great.

Time: 11:01 a.m.
Stop: 46th Avenue & Taraval Street

We come to a stop. On the left there is a burger place called Bashful Bull Too. (Apparently it's not so good.) A group of middle school girls gets on. One is wearing a purple shirt that says, "Make Love, Not War." We make eye contact and she gives me a weird look. I realize that my pen is hanging out of my mouth. The middle schoolers head to the second car.

Time: 11:02 a.m
Stop: 40th Avenue & Taraval Street

The car is very, very quiet. We pass a video store, SeaBee Liquor and a Walgreens. There are a lot of stores with signs in, what I think is, Chinese. There are quite a few older people on the train. I think it's interesting how visible old people are in the city. Or maybe I just notice them so it seems like there are a lot. In any case, it seems like elderly people in San Francisco are pretty mobile and do a lot of things. I'm not sure what they do, but they always seem to be going somewhere.

Time: 11:04 a.m.
Stop: Taraval Street & Sunset Boulevard

The driver comes on the loudspeaker, "It's, uhhh, Sunset Boulevard. The 29 is at Sunset Boulevard." I love the questioning tone in his voice. We cross the intersection and pass a judo institute.

At 35th Avenue we pass a Curves, causing me to wonder where on Earth there isn't a Curves. (I'm also wondering how it's possible to burn 500 calories in half an hour. I welcome any success stories you may have in the comments section.)

No joke, a whole store full. Stock up!

Time: 11:07 a.m.
Stop: Taraval Street & 30th Avenue

The driver speaks again, "It's, uh, 30th Avenue, I think. Yeah, it is." I am loving this driver. Not that this could really happen on the train, but I've always wondered what it would be like to be on a bus where the driver didn't know the route. If I wasn't in a hurry I'd probably be pretty amused.

Pretty lofty statement.

Time: 11:08 a.m.
Stop: Taraval Street & 24th Avenue

At 24th, the driver makes the best announcement, "Next stop is 22nd Avenue. There's a Walgreens." I love it! We pass Sunset Hydroponics; it brings good memories of 11th grade science class and budding lettuce plants.

The train is incredibly quiet. Everyone is sitting very still. Everyone must be sleeping in. There are no cars around us and no people on the sidewalk.

A Walgreens worth mentioning.

Time: 11:11 a.m.
Stop: Taraval Street & 19th Avenue

Someone breaks the dead silence and laughs in the second car.

At the 17th Avenue stop, the man across from me, wearing a Hawaiian shirt, stands up and waves to a woman on the street. She waves back and gets on the train. They move to the back. A middle aged woman sits down next to me very carefully. She crosses her hands in her lap. We pass a Brazilian jujitsu place and make a turn on 15th at Taraval.

Time: 11:15 a.m.
Stop: Ulloa Street & Forest Side Avenue

A man with a leprechaun tattoo on his calf gets out. We pass the house where I had my worst and last babysitting experience ever. Watching two fussy newborn twins, one of whom can't swallow and has to be tipped upside down to drink, is a wholly unpleasant experience. Trust me.

"We're approaching West Portal Station, the stairs are going up," says the driver. I really appreciate his good communication. Half the time I have no idea what the drivers are saying. We ease into the station very slowly.

Time: 11:18 a.m.
Stop: West Portal Station

Three men get on, two are wearing Giants attire. The guy behind me blows his nose. I turn around and see Hawaiian shirt man shaking his finger disapprovingly at the woman he's with.

The driver makes an announcement. "Forest Hill Station is next. I believe you can catch the 52 Excelsior there."

Taking MUNI to the game!

Time: 11:20 a.m.
Stop: Forest Hill Station

The guy across from me is reading the paper. The leprechaun tattoo guy sat in the same spot and was also reading the paper. The train is moving really fast. My seat partner is looking straight ahead, which is how she's been for the entire ride. I am impressed by her discipline. She is probably the best seat partner yet.

Time: 11:24 a.m.
Stop: Castro Station

Two men get on. One is young, one is old, both are wearing straw cowboy-looking hats. They are not together. What a funny coincidence.

Time: 11:25 a.m.
Stop: Church Street Station

One person gets on at Church, no one gets off.

The Giants guys are talking. The train is moving through the tunnel now so it's hard to eavesdrop, but I do hear, "Oh yeah, that's over in the East Bay," and "She slept with him?!"

The train is otherwise quiet. It's actually been a very boring ride, minus the driver. There haven't been too many people on the L today. Maybe people are walking or biking to get here and there because it's so sunny. Maybe they are out of town. Maybe they are hungover and still asleep. Hard to say.

This is the kind of old lady I want to be.

Time: 11:27 p.m.
Stop: Van Ness Station

My seat partner gets off. "Next stop is Civic Center, it's the first BART connection," says the driver. The wheels of the train are screeching.

I imagine she was headed to Dolores Park. Such a good day for frisbee.

Time: 11:29 a.m.
Stop: Civic Center Station

No one gets on and there aren't too many people waiting at the station. A baby in the front of the car makes a soft crying noise, but isn't crying. I look around, the Giants are gone.

Time: 11:30 a.m.
Stop: Powell Station

Most people get off at Powell. Now I know where the elderly like to hang out: The Mall. Blue socks woman sits next to me. I'm excited. There are some brochures in the plastic holders near the door. A girl picks one up and starts looking at it. I'm curious about what it's for.

What does it say?

Time: 11:32 a.m.
Stop: Montgomery Station

Ten people get out. Blue socks moves. I always wonder about this bus phenomenon. Sometimes when most people clear out of the bus, the person who is sitting next to you will get up and move somewhere else. I don't do this, but I always wonder the reasoning. Is it to be polite and give the other person space? Sometimes I think I did something wrong, making the person not want to sit next to me. I feel especially bad when I think we've made good bus seat partners. Maybe it's just me, but I feel like I form unspoken (usually) relationships with seat partners, so I like to think about these things. Maybe people just like to sit alone.

A guy goes and picks up one of the brochures. I am totally curious now.

Time: 11:33 a.m.
Stop: Embarcadero Station

Finally the last stop. I gather up all of my stuff and go to get a brochure. I am the last person aboard. The driver comes on the loudspeaker and says, "Rise and shine, end of the line!" I appreciate the rhyme.

Once out of the train, I check out the brochure. It's for the Transit Effectiveness Project, which kind of seems like an oxymoron, but ok. It looks like MUNI wants our opinions in order to help "refine proposals to make MUNI service more reliable and efficient." As of now there are four meetings left and you can win a Fast Pass. Totally hit that.

Total Time: 40 minutes (approx.)
How I got there: 5 to 18
Where can you see more? HERE

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Google Schools You in New MUNI Tools

Dearest Fellow Adventure-ers,

I promise I will post my L Taraval findings soon. I'm aiming for Thursday.

In other transit-related news, Google has rolled out GoogleTransit* in the Bay Area, which although by no means perfect, seems much more comprehensive than the jenky Transit.511 Trip Planner.

Of course, you could always rely on my favorite method and look at a map. The best part is you can print it out, glue it in your notebook and never be lost again!

Until next time, happy travels friends!

*Thanks SFCitizen for the heads up!

Monday, April 14, 2008

More Questions, More Answers

My co-worker Terry is interested to know how I pick which lines to go on first and "do [I] rate them from shitty to fun?"

To answer the first question, I'm not picking lines arbitrarily. I'm going by the same order that SFMTA and NextMuni follow. Looking at the SFMTA list, I just realized that the cable cars are coming up soon. I cannot wait!

In terms of rating, that obviously does not play a part in the order I'm following but I have thought about creating some sort of best/worst list. However, in order to accurately determine which line has the best sights, for example, I'm going to need to get farther into the project. Maybe at the halfway point I'll do something like that. Wait and see!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

KT – Ingleside/Third Street

Line: KT – Ingleside/Third, Inbound
Date: March 29, 2008
Weather Conditions: Cool & Overcast

Time: 12:19 p.m.
First Stop: Green Division Yard

I rush out of the BART tunnel. Ah, Green Division Yard, you are familiar this time so I know where to stand. The K starts moving, I run as not to miss it. The driver stops the train and starts talking to someone. Phew. I will make it.


Everybody on!

I pull myself together. I don’t really notice the other people waiting, but I do see that the bitchin’ trash can moved. The doors open. I debate which car to sit in but end up sitting in the first car, seat by the door like last time. I thrive on consistency.

We start moving along and turning. The train moves forward slowly and squeaks; the rails need some oil.

Time: 12:23 p.m.
Stop: City College Pedestrian Bridge

We pass City College quickly, but from what I can see the campus is pretty large. It reminds me that I should look at the summer schedule and see if they have any good non-credit classes. They’re free!

Time: 12:25 p.m.
Stop: Ocean Avenue & Lee Street

Twin Peaks. Remember this, it will come up later.

There is a strange smell on the train. Sort of a cross between weed and potstickers. Appetizing. The train is beeping a lot. Maybe because there have been so many accidents.

Time: 12:27 p.m.
Stop: Ocean Avenue & Miramar Avenue

A mystery! High school love spelled out in bricks? Marriage proposal?

Oh. My. God. A woman channeling Cher circa 1980-something gets on! She is wearing leather pants and a leather jacket. Her hair is huge, long and amazing. I cannot stop staring. Cher has a friend, but I don’t really notice. Most people pale in comparison to Cher, wouldn’t you agree? I’m pulled out of my jaw-dropped amazement when I hear the man across from me yell, “This is the third time I’ve been transferred and I’m really getting upset right now!”

He takes a deep breath and says calmly, “My name is Tyrone.” Tyrone is probably in his thirties and he also has exciting hair. It is tightly curled and magenta.


He continues yelling, “Give me my respect as a customer!" There’s a short pause, before Tyrone erupts again, “EXCUSE ME! I’m going to work right now. Now. Just like you’re at work and I have no time for this!”


Time: 12:31 p.m.

I like this anchor. It looks like it would make a nice bench.


We pass through a nice area of houses, getting into West Portal. Compared to most places in the city they look like mansions with front yards, long driveways, and big windows.


“I’m serious! I don’t have time for this shit! If I did I wouldn’t be talking to you!” Zing! I accidentally laugh out loud at Tyrone’s last sentence. He’s put on hold and shakes his head. He tells me that pre-paid phone companies are ridiculous. I shake my head and say, “It sounds like it.”


Time: 12:34 p.m.
Stop: Junipero Serra Boulevard & Ocean Avenue


The pre-paid phone company person comes back and Tyrone says, “You are very rude and I do not appreciate it.”


A lot of older Asian people are getting on the train. There are also three or four younger Asian kids carrying instrument bags. I noticed a few young Asian kids with instruments on the J, too. I wonder if they’re headed to individual music lessons or they’re all part of a band. My thoughts are interrupted by, “I AM SO UPSET RIGHT NOW, I CAN’T EVEN THINK! I am calm.” Such a bipolar conversation. Half of his sentences are screaming and the other half sound calm and rational. “Excuse me? Do I sound like I have attitude?” Pause. “Well, I DON’T. I want to be transferred to your manager. Thank you very much.”


He rolls his eyes and shakes his head at me again. I shake my head back.


Time: 12:36 p.m.
Stop: Saint Francis Circle


Tyrone gets off the train. I’m incredibly disappointed. We roll along West Portal Avenue. It’s a cutesy area. There are breakfast places, coffee shops, an old movie theater and random little trinket stores. The driver announces, “Fourteenth Avenue!” I see a store called Alexander Collections. There is a mannequin wearing a pink tutu in the window. It’s the most exciting thing I’ve seen on this street.

So very stylish.

A young girl with a music bag sits where Tyrone was sitting. I can’t figure out what sort of instrument she has. A guitar?

It still smells like potstickers and weed. I feel nauseous. On my left I see some Greenpeace people. They are everywhere.

To my right I see the movie theater. I was there once to see “The Science of Sleep.” I don’t remember much about the theater except that there were lots of couples and the theater was small.

Time: 12:41 p.m.
Stop: West Portal Station

We ease into the station. Cher and friend get up and move towards the back door. I fumble to get my camera. They see me taking a picture and they start laughing. Cher motions towards her friend and asks me, “Doesn’t she look sexy?” I have no idea what her friend is supposed to be. She has a red velvety cape, a Budweiser bodysuit and devil horns. Beer is the devil? “Oh yeah, looking good,” I say. “Here! We’ll pose for you,” says Cher. Snap. Beer girl says, “This will be in places on day!” Ha. We both wish. They get off.

Cher, the beer-devil and the oranges guy. Enjoy fame.

The train starts to move and I notice the route sign change from “K-Ingleside” to “T-Third.” We are racing underground.

Time: 12:43 p.m.
Stop: Forest Hill Station

I look at the older man across from me. He is reading a paperback with a Borders sticker still attached. I can’t see what it is but I’m guessing some sort of guide book. He has a bag of oranges at his feet. I hope they don’t go rolling. That would be terrible.

Would you trust this bag?

There aren’t many people on the train and for the most part it is very quiet.

Time: 12:47 p.m.
Stop: Castro Station

We pull into the station and I notice lots of ads, namely the ones for the Sarah Marshall movie and for meth addiction. In the Sarah Marshall ad, someone replaced the “T” with a “B” causing it to read “You do look faB in those jeans Sarah Marshall.” I thought it was funny. That movie has the most ridiculous amount of advertising around the city. I feel personally attacked by the visual pollution that is the Judd Apatow Empire. Regarding the meth ads, the one ad I keep seeing has a guy who looks sort of like Ryan Gosling. I am curious about their effectiveness, but I guess they’re probably better than this.

Lots of people get on but the person that catches my eye is a man wearing head to toe black and red workout gear. He is wearing red Puma's and sits down next to the oranges guy.

The puma might jump off the shoe. Imagine if that happened. Chaos!

Time: 12:49 p.m.
Stop: Church Street Station

A boy who looks like a lumberjack gets on and stands in the doorway. After 40 minutes of having my own seat, a 50-something man with a few grocery bags gets on and sits next to me. I’m kind of annoyed.

Time: 12:51 p.m.
Stop: Van Ness Station


Lots of people get on at Van Ness, including an older man in a wheel chair. He gets into the train rolling backwards, which seems difficult because no one is moving from their spot. I start looking around and wondering where the wheelchair seats are. I guess there aren’t any, but that seems like a major hassle to the wheelchair-bound. (Note: I checked MUNI’s website and it does not make reference to special wheelchair areas on the trains. The only mention is in regards to boarding and exiting.)


On the back of the wheelchair, he has a lime green tote bag advertising a Baptist church.

I wonder what's inside.

The train continues on. Even though the train is full, it is still pretty quiet. At Civic Center, a father and son get on. The son, probably about 10 years old, has a very bloody lip. At Powell the red-shoed workout guy gets out.

My seat partner starts talking to wheelchair man, presumably about his bag. “I remember Pastor Hughes!” The two talk about different church pastors for about a minute before wheelchair man says he needs to get off.

Time: 12:57 p.m.
Stop: Montgomery Station

Maneuvering the wheelchair is a problem. “Excuse me, excuse me.” Despite his repeated attempts to disembark, no one moves. Seriously? Finally he rolls out.

Time: 1:00 p.m.
Stop: Embarcadero Station Tunnel

It’s stop and go in the tunnel and I can hear the under-rails of the train squeaking and lurching. They need some oil. I turn my head around to see what’s going on in the second car and instead I make direct eye contact with the guy behind me. It was unexpected and kind of freaks me out. I look at the window instead. Someone scratched lines into the glass. So obnoxious.

We finally exit the tunnel and stop at Folsom Street. I look up and see the Bay Bridge looming above. It looks so big from underneath. I take a picture and my seat partner starts talking to me.

The picture that started the adventure...

“Are you writing down the camera settings in your notebook?”

I am completely caught off guard. “Oh, no. I have a blog where I write about MUNI adventures and the pictures are for that. I’m on an adventure right now.”

Seat partner starts laughing, “Oh! I thought I you were a photographer and you were writing down the settings!”

“Oh, yeah, no.”

“I’m a photographer myself. I take pictures on MUNI, too.” He pulls out some developed 4 x 6’s and shows them to me. It’s been so long since I’ve held an actual photo; it’s such a weird feeling. He has pictures he took on the streetcar. Seat partner points out his favorites, “I like this one because I like this guy’s expression.”

“Yeah, that’s a good one,” I say. In the picture, there’s an old Asian man standing on the platform looking determined. He’s in focus and everyone behind him is kind of blurry and rushing. He shows me another one he likes; it is of a baby making a silly face.

“Yeah, those are really nice. I like how you captured their expressions.” I look out the window. We’re passing Fourth and King. I haven’t written anything down since we started talking. I feel stressed about this interaction breaking up my normal routine.

“I take pictures for churches, too.”

I feel baffled for a second and then a million questions rush to mind. Wait, like you get paid to take pictures? Or you take them for church websites? Instead, I blurt out, “What…what does that mean?”

“I take pictures for churches,” he repeats matter-of-factly. I wonder if this is a simple concept and I’m just being slow.

He pulls out his camera and hands it to me. “Here, look.”

He explains how this morning he went to a church meeting and took pictures of the meeting and the people. I flip though images of prayers hung up on walls, children playing and adults talking. I hand him back his camera and say, “Oh, these are cool. What are you going to do with them?”

He intends to print them out and enlarge the ones of the prayers. Seat partner starts asking me questions about photography terms. Have I heard of ASA? Do I know what it is? My mind feels bombarded as I try to recall all the information I tried to understand from video and photo classes. I come clean and admit, “I don’t know. Maybe it has something to do with shutter speed or exposure? I get kind of confused and overwhelmed with that stuff. I usually shoot on auto; it’s just easier that way.”

He admits that he, too, isn’t completely proficient in photo-speak, but bought his Konica to practice. He’s saving up for a Nikon. “Oh yeah! My dad has one, they’re really nice. They take great pictures.” I look out the window again; we’re going through the Dogpatch. They’re doing so much construction down here.

We reach a lull in the conversation. I mistakenly think I can continue documenting the exterior environment of the adventure when seat partner starts talking again. (Note: At the time, I thought our interaction was a disturbance to my routine of documentation. Now, as I write this, I am realizing that this conversation is just as, if not more, legitimate as looking at street signs and the world outside of the MUNI train.)

He tells me how black churches have dynasties of church leaders and how those leaders are now getting older, changing the dynamic of the church experience and the makeup of the congregations. He is passionate about recruiting younger church leaders. At one point, seat partner wonders about the dynamic in other religions and says, “I don’t know about white churches…” and then looks at me as if he’s said something wrong. “Oh, no, I understand,” I say. It struck me as funny. It was almost as if he seemed apologetic for not knowing the politics of other race’s churches.

I glance outside again. I think we’re past the Dogpatch and getting into the tip of Bayview. (Note: Upon further inspection, it seems that this area has gone unnamed. It’s below the Dogpatch, but to side of Potrero Hill and above Bayview. Maybe it’s just called Third Street.)

Seat partner starts explaining that it is important for young men to get involved with their church and their family and not run away. He tells me that he works on two websites: one deals with offering support to husbands and fathers, and the other, still in the conception stages, will be an encouraging site for everyone, offering inspirational pictures, quotes and the like.

He blames TV shows for providing a poor model for youth and fathers. “With shows like The Simpsons, the husband is always portrayed as an idiot! There need to be smarter shows. The father needs to act as the backbone of the family.” Seat partner is also unimpressed by George Lopez and the Belushi brothers as role models.

It seems that he left when his kids were growing up but has since realized that as a mistake and is trying to make restitution now.

Time: 1:23 p.m.
Stop: Third Street & Hudson/Innes Avenue

Seat partner gathers his things and gets up. He introduces himself, "I'm Brother Mitchell, it was good talking to you." We shake. "I'm Kathleen. Good talking to you too."

He exits. I look out the window. The neighborhood is broken down. There are quite a few storefronts, most of which don't seem to be open anymore. There aren't too many people left on the train. I notice that there are a lot of people, mostly men, standing in front of the inoperative stores watching the train pass.

Time: 1:25 p.m.
Stop: Third Street & Kirkwood/La Salle

I see a store with a sign that says "SF Cobras." Standing outside are about five or six older men. I make eye contact with one of them and the whole group waves to me. I can't help but laugh.

And me.

From this point forward, I stop taking detailed notes. Instead, I think about how this area was the site of the government's biggest facility for nuclear research during World War II. Though not used as such anymore, or used anymore, period, there are still quite a few radioactive zones. I think about my earth science class in college, and how we toured the facility. I think about how this area has the highest number of deaths from cancer and heart disease, which most people blame on a combination of poor diet and exposure to toxic waste.

I think about how within only the last two or three years an actual vegetable market opened amidst the plethora of liquor stores and fast food joints. I think about how this area has the highest homicide rate in the city, mostly due to gang violence and drug trade. How it has the highest number of children in the whole city, but the fewest resources for them. I think about the art studios. I wonder what will happen when the new homes are built. From what I've read, it seems like a large number of the older community members have cashed out and moved to the East Bay to live in more affordable housing. How will that change the makeup of the community? I wonder where BAYCAT is located. I wonder how the new train I'm riding has affected the area. With every stop we pass, SFMTA ads remind me that I could be experiencing one of the historical gems of the area.

I would like to see this organ.

These thoughts make me sad. It makes me question the strange dichotomy that is San Francisco, with its insane wealth and insane poverty, both existing in the same seven-mile spread. Do you remember the picture of Twin Peaks from the beginning of the post?

Twin Peaks, as seen from Hunter's Point.

Do you too find it strange, looking at the same structure from two completely different areas?

I apologize for the depressing, albeit realistic, tone in the last few paragraphs. I just think as a citizen, as a person, it's important to remember that the town we live in does not just consist of the 40 minute, less if you're lucky, stretch in between our homes and work. There are other people, other lives, other experiences, outside of our own singular lens. Despite many differences, it seems like we might all be seeing the same radio tower. Interesting, no?

Towards the end of the ride I saw some things I thought were noteworthy. The first is an ad:

Any guesses on what it says beneath towing?

I noticed quite a few Baptist churches and a Catholic church on Third Street. At Revere and Shafter I noticed Your Community Restaurant, which reminded me of the now-defunct Your Black Muslim Bakery in Oakland. Outside of the restaurant was the Turkey flag, making me curious about the Muslim population in Hunter's Point. I saw the flag again when I was on the way back to downtown via the T. It was hanging inside an office building in SOMA.

Also,

About the only time I've seen palm trees in San Francisco.

Time: 1:47 p.m.
Stop: Bayshore Boulevard & Sunnydale Avenue

I get out of the train, take a quick stretch break and hop back in to see what I missed the first time.


End of the line, folks.

Total Time: 88 minutes/1 hour & 28 minutes (approx.)
How I got there: 5 to Civic Center BART, off at Balboa Park Station
Where can you see more? HERE

Monday, March 24, 2008

You've got questions, I've got answers aplenty

Last post I mentioned the "No answering the phone" rule, prompting my friend Alicia to ask, "What are the rules?" You will find the answer below but first I just want to say that Alicia has one of the craziest bus experiences I've ever heard: A few years ago some dude pulled a gun out on the 38 and threatened her and her friend. They're ok. I don't remember what happened to the guy. Insane.

The Rules:

I'm the type of person that lives by many self-imposed rules so as such, this project is no different. Before I began I came up with some things that I decided I would absolutely not do, but now that I've started things are getting modified; however, the spirit of the law is what's important here.

First there are the technology rules: No cell phone and no iPod.

I need to bring my phone so I can tell time since I don't use a watch but I've vowed not to take calls while adventuring. The only reason I took a call on the J was because I had plans later in the day that needed to be discussed. I felt very bad for answering even though it was legitimate. I won't do it again.

Yes, I have an iPod. No, I did not break down and buy it for myself. Yes, I listen to it all the time on the bus. No, I do not listen to it on adventures. I don't even bring it along.

I think that these two things would be distracting and allow for a less authentic bus experience. Who wants that? Not me.

Second Rule: No getting off.

I don't necessarily foresee this being a problem for me but it's always good to have a rule you know you can keep. Also, if the bus breaks down and I have to get off, I will wait for another one, except if the weather is really bad. Then I will stop living my dream and get real because I hate cold weather.

Third Rule: I must start at the first stop and get off at the very last stop.

Originally I tried to ride the 1 line to start but mis-read the MUNI map and got on at the SECOND stop. Even though it was only a block away from the first stop, I couldn't let myself just go with it. The whole point of this project is to a) see the entire bus line, and b) stay aware that many of us only follow a route from certain points, rather than experiencing the whole thing. The most interesting thing, for me, about MUNI and other forms of transportation is that in one stretch of road there are so many different lives and sights all connected. So it's very important to go from start to finish in order to get a correct sense of what's going on.

Fourth Rule: Talking to people during an adventure.

When I first started this, I was adamant: I will not talk to anyone else. I'm not going to get involved. I will just sit on the bus and write about what I see. About 10 minutes into the first ride, I knew this was a mistake. It's almost impossible to ride public transit and not interact with the public. Someone will talk to you or look at you, or someone will do something and you'll react to it. Non-participation is not really an option. Especially for me with a notebook open and a camera out. People seem curious, but don't want to ask questions (probably because I look so
threatening.) The good news for the curious is that I'm revamping my business cards so that should take care of some of the silent questioning.

Fifth Rule: I will ride EVERY line.

I think this is the most important rule. Some bus lines are less desirable than others. Some go to the outskirts of town. Some are a pain to get to. Some have people we don't want to see. Some are dangerous.

No matter. This isn't about only riding the pretty, safe bus lines. It's about seeing and experiencing everything.

That being said, I'm not stupid. Sometimes it's better to go somewhere with a partner and I'm thinking about how I want to do that. If someone else comes along, there will be NO TALKING. I might even make us sit apart. The other person could contribute as a guest blogger. I haven't totally figured it out yet, so stay tuned.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

J - Church

Line: J – Church, Inbound
Date: March 15, 2008
Weather Conditions: Breezy & Sunny

Time: 11:53 a.m.
First Stop: Green Division Yard

I exit the BART station and feel a little confused. I’m not entirely sure where I’m supposed to pick up the J because this area seems more like a MUNI train graveyard rather than an actual stop. To the side of the tracks is a small walkway. I follow the path and see some other people so I assume I’m in the right place. I got here just in time because a J is leaving the yard. Yessss!

A garbage can at the station, bitchin'!

The train begins to pull out and the driver motions at me. I have no idea what he’s motioning about so I walk further down the walkway in case he was trying to say, “Yo, move it.” Good call. He starts moving again. Stop. Move. Stop. Finally he pushes the magic button and opens the doors.

Ooooh, the J-Church!

Five other people get on: two thugish looking dudes, two tourists and a guy who looks half asleep. I debate which car to sit in, first or second? After a trip to the second car, I decide to sit in the first car, on the right side, behind the door.

The train moves quickly, smoothly, and mostly quietly, save for the murmur of the tracks. The area we pass through is nice, very residential. We pass parks with kids playing Saturday league. I see a strip mall type area with a huge building. It reads, “Community Assembly of God.” We pass a few stops where no one gets on.

Yellow vs. Blue, who will beat who?

I glance up and notice an old woman with purple hair. I love when old people have purple hair! It’s a nice shade of purple, more dark lavender colored than that blue-ish-purple Kool-Aid color that happens sometimes. OH! But wait! Suddenly we are on the freeway! (The 280 East to be exact.) We are racing. I’m having a hard time balancing my responsibilities of writing and taking pictures. I need two more arms.

Well played, Grandma.

Time: 12:01 p.m.
Stop: San Jose & Randall

The purple haired Glamour Grandma gets off slowly. I’m not sure who gets on, I’m caught up looking at the beautiful skyline of the city. We turn at 30th and now we’re on 30th and Dolores. We’re moving so quickly. My phone starts ringing and I feel stressed. I ignore my own rule and answer it. Ok, no more answering the phone. We pass through the area of Noe Valley that I’m most familiar with. People are out picking up produce and eating breakfast on the sidewalk. There are some people in the furniture store looking at a table.

Time: 12:03 p.m.
Stop: Church & 30th

A lot of white, hip looking people and couples get on board. I’m overwhelmed by colorful skinny jeans, expensive shoes and jackets with careful detailing. I feel let down by the J-Church. You move so fast and your riders are so boring!

Time: 12:05 p.m.
Stop: Church & 27th

A family of four gets on and the wife sits next to me. I think it’s a mom and a dad visiting their daughter and her boyfriend. I’m pretty sure it’s a boyfriend because he and Daughter don’t have rings and the dad is sort of fishing with his conversation topics. I look out the window and see three little furry dogs on leashes sniffing each other. When I turn back I notice that the mom next to me is trying to read my notebook! I give her a look of disgust and she faces forward. (It’s only now striking me how funny it is that I’m being curious about others but when someone tries to do it to me, no way. That’s an example of irony, yes?)

Time: 12:06 p.m.
Stop: Clipper & Noe

A slew of people get on wearing green for the St. Patrick’s Day parade. Mom and Dad hold a conversation:

“Oh, the parade must be in town.”

“It seems like it.”

Boyfriend, a scruffily coiffed guy with lots of facial hair and aviator sunglasses says, out of nowhere, “St. Paul, Minnesota.”

“What?”

St. Paul, Minnesota. They celebrate St. Patrick’s Day pretty hard.”

Mom and Dad exchange puzzled looks. Daughter lowers her head. Oh dear.

Time: 12:08 p.m.
Stop: Church & 24th

I don’t hear the rest of the conversation because we stop, the doors open and a screaming child is trying to board. “Patrick! Hold my hand! Don’t climb up like that!” Patrick is probably about two and is trying to scale the train stairs like a mountain climber. There is a huge line of people behind him. Once Patrick is cleared out of the way, more little kids get on, including The Crayola’s, a family of three children in bright, primary-colored raincoats and a dad. Too bad it does not look rainy today. More drunk people dressed in green get on and move to the back. It’s very noisy in the back. I wonder if they ordered their coffee Irish-style today.

Patrick is still throwing a fit. Seriously, Patrick? That was like two minutes ago. GET OVER IT. Patrick’s daddy and Family of Four Dad start talking about Irish baby names. Family of Four Dad tells Patrick’s daddy that his oldest daughter just had a third child and named her Rona. Her son is named Kieran. “Good, strong Irish names!” Patrick’s daddy is impressed. He has an Irish accent. Patrick’s daddy introduces himself to Family of Four Dad as “Patrick Kelly.” Family of Four Dad laughs and says, “I’m Terry Flynn! Nice to meet you.” Terry and his wife (Mom the Spy) are visiting from Tucson, Arizona. She’s a part-time teacher and he’s retired. They came to California to visit their kids.

Time: 12:11 p.m.
Stop: Chattanooga & 21st (Also called Right of Way and 21st)

Best Street Name EVER.

Chattanooga is the best street name ever. A rainbow child gets on. I’m not sure if it’s a boy or a girl. It could be a boy dressed like a girl, or a girl with a boy’s haircut. No matter. Rainbow Child has a rainbow striped turtleneck on, bright green pants, patterned socks and orange galoshes. The best part is that Rainbow Child is wearing bright yellow fuzzy earphones and bopping along to a cassette player. We make eyes for a second and we both smile. I’d like to think we were bonding over the schizophrenic feeling of the ride but probably R.C. heard something funny on the Yo Gabba Gabba tape. I’m guessing.

Best outfit EVER.

I hear snippets of different conversations, “You should check http://www.sfist.com/,” “You need to get your STD’s looked at,” and “This is FAR!” Mom the Spy tries to peer over my notebook again. Still not happening.

We start passing through Dolores Park. It is mostly empty except for a few dogs and their owners. There’s a pickup basketball game happening and I see more people in green running to catch the train.

The best type of day to be at D-Park.

Time: 12:14 p.m.
Stop: Church & 18th

A group of green, glittery teenage girls get on. One says, “Make sure you don’t lose anything today Tess!” Tess says, “I’ll try really hard!” The group laughs. She must be a perpetual lose-er.

There is some movement around me. Daughter is in the seat directly behind mine and the woman next to her gets up. Mom the Spy gets up to sit next to Daughter. A boy with a girly-looking face takes her spot.

An Aside: I like to collect different things in my mind. It's sort of a recognition of patterns that I see. Most recent mental collections include people with canes (which made me wonder if polio is making a comeback,) people with partly burned-off faces (which makes me a) sad and b) think of this,) and dogs with shaved bodies but furry legs that look like legwarmers (Example.) Today I will collect ambiguous-looking people. Count so far: Two.

The driver comes on the PA system and announces, “Next stop—Church and Market. Next stop.”

From behind me I hear Mom the Spy say, “Have you seen ‘There Will Be Blood’? It’s great!”

Time: 12:18 p.m.
Stop: Church & Market

We pass the big Safeway. I try to take a picture and while trying to juggle my notebook, bag, camera and pen, I end up writing all over my sweater. Ugh.

We stop at Church and Duboce. The girl-ish looking boy gets up and is replaced by an older man-ish looking woman. Amazing. Count: Three. She adjusts her baseball cap and fixes her really cool earphones. They are blue and yellow with a blue and yellow striped cord. She opens a book, “The King Must Die.”

From the second car I hear the girls who got on at Dolores Park wooing and yelling, “PARTY BUS!!!”

The Dolores Park Girls and the back of Mom the Spy's head.

A guy who looks like he just came from the gym stands in front of me. He is carrying a huge bag on his back. He gives me a missing-front-teeth-smile, and says, “How are you pretty lady?” “Good, thanks.” He doesn’t listen to me reply.

Time: 12:20 p.m.
Stop: Inside the MUNI Underground Tunnel

The missing tooth gym guy, Toothless, says loudly, “I only like one type of music: Mexican stripper music.” One of the Dolores Park Girls yells back, “Oh my GOD! That’s my favorite too!”

“Oh, yeeeeeeah! This is the best music EVER. This is what you listen to when a girl is sliding down the pole. Mexico is great. Red Bull and doo-doo. Red Bull and doo-doo. You listen to this when you’re getting busy with a lady.” He starts air-humping. The Dolores Park girls woo and scream, the man-ish woman next to me rolls her eyes and I switch my camera setting to video record. This is MUNI gold.

“Y’all wanna hear this, dontcha?” Without waiting for a response, out of nowhere he pulls out a boom box. Really though, where was that hiding?

The train is still paused in the tunnel. He fiddles with some knobs and Mexican tango starts blaring. I’m pretty sure I’ve heard this same song at Chevy’s.


video
I suggest watching this first, then listening to it twice with your eyes closed. Once to hear the music, and a second time to fully understand what's he talking about. If you can.

Toothless starts air-humping again. The Dolores Park girls woo. Again. The train starts moving.

The driver announces, “Van Ness Station.”

Boyfriend gets up and as the train pulls to a stop he bumps into Toothless who yells, “DON’T TOUCH ME! DO NOT TOUCH ME. What is wrong with you, man? Bobby Brown is part of my family, you should KNOW better!” Boyfriend looks thoroughly confused and just stands there with his head cocked. Toothless just shakes his head.

The doors open and close, people get on and off. We start moving again.

Time: 12:24 p.m.
Stop: Civic Center Station

We finally get to Civic Center and the train mostly empties. Toothless, the Family of Four and the Dolores Park Girls all get off. The man-ish woman next to me turns to me and takes out her earphones, “God, I can’t concentrate. I forgot about the parade.” Her voice confirms that she is indeed a woman.

I say, “Yeah, people get pretty excited about St. Patrick’s Day.”

She shakes her head.

Patrick Kelly starts giving little Patrick and older sister Mimi directions. “We’re going to get off at the next stop. You need to get in the stroller.” Mimi, who has the face of a Kewpie doll says, “The next one, Daddy?”

“Yes. Please hold hands.” Mimi goes to hold Patrick’s hand. He freaks out and tries to hold on to Daddy. This child, seriously.

Patrick, in a calmer moment.


Time: 12:26 p.m.
Stop: Powell Station

Patrick, Patrick and Mimi make it out in a more organized fashion than they entered. The man-ish woman starts talking to me again. “It’s a long day of being Irish.”

“Yeah, very long day.”

“A long day of wearing green. I usually try to avoid this stuff. All the colorful people.”

“Yeah, well, it’s hard to avoid, you know. The city is always pretty crazy.”

She sighs. “Why can’t they celebrate on the 17th?”

I spare her the official Church explanation of not indulging during Holy Week and say, “Some people just like to get wasted and wear green as much as they can.” I wonder if she thinks it’s weird that I’m talking to her and writing, simultaneously.

Time: 12:27 p.m.
Stop: Montgomery Station

From the second car I hear Ramones style chanting, “HEY, HO! LET’S GO! HEY, HO! LET’S GO!”

The man-ish woman says, ‘I’m going to get off and see if I can find some peace now.”

“I hope you do. Good luck with that."

The doors open and she exits. Her absolute sobriety and sanity is probably the funniest thing I’ve seen all day. I guess that maybe it’s weird when “crazy” starts seeming “normal” and “normal” starts seeming like a big joke.

I see The Ramones walking through the station. One guy is wearing a green track jacket that reads, “World Class Pub Champion.” He is carrying a 24-pack of Guinness. Of course.

The doors close, the train starts moving. The Crayola's and I are about the only ones left.

Crayon people, ready for the rain.

Time: 12:30
Last Stop: Embarcadero Station

The voice of the recorded MUNI woman comes on, “This train is going out of service. Please exit.” So I do.

Everybody out!


Total Time: 38 minutes (approx.)
How I got there: 5 to Civic Center BART, off at Balboa Park Station
Where can you see more? HERE