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.