Tara Ramroop has laughed, cried, and commiserated with this amazing community from the start. She’s been writing for as long as she can remember and riding Muni for nearly a decade.

Sloshed on Muni: Keeping tabs on live cargo

We love your photos, your videos, and your tweets. But going back to our roots with a good old-fashioned story-story still gives us the warm fuzzies.

James, 71, spends his mornings in retirement walking around San Francisco and then takes Muni home. Here’s James with a sloshy, delightful tale from the 29:

I caught the 29-Sunset early afternoon at 25th & Clement about six months ago for my destination near San Francisco State University. Boarding the bus was a very inebriated man carrying a very large plastic snack jar, which contained water (half full) and three very large, live frogs. The individual sat directly behind the driver. As the bus drove, this individual’s jar was sloshing a lot and he was having trouble sitting up. Two girls on the bus were laughing and asked the man if he could show them one of his frogs. The man took one of the frogs out, waving it in front of the girls who were squealing. The frog got loose and started hopping down the aisle of the bus. At this point, the man placed the jar on the seat beside him and started to weave down the aisle, caught the frog, and returned it to the jar on his seat. He departed the bus several stops later. An unforgettable scene.

Early-afternoon drunkles, pets gone awry, and connecting with strangers; this Muni story really sums it up, doesn’t it?

Got other important news for your fellow riders? Tag us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Our email inbox, muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com, is always open!

Pic by Natalie McNear on Flickr

How extra-SF are you getting with your Halloween costume?

A friend grew up in the Castro, in the ’80s. Adorably, she thought trick-or-treating was something kids only did on TV.

Celebrating Halloween in the Castro was more than just fucking around in the city. The party raged for decades, and many touted it the best Halloween celebration in the country. When I worked at The Examiner in 2006, the party turned deadly, and its status as a city-sanctioned event was canceled from then on. In 2007, additional evening reporters were planned to cover a night of adjacent festivities that, fingers crossed, didn’t turn into calls to the local police stations.

But celebrating Halloween in the city was exactly that: celebrating. And by god, we love celebrating in costume. What’s the most extra-SF Halloween costume you can think of this year? Wrap yourself in gray chiffon as Karl the Fog? Or go all out as the Golden Gate Bridge?

Photo by @Best San Francisco

Or, pull a really punny costume about Muni that only you can enjoy. Via @mcsheffrey

Let’s keep San Francisco’s Halloween a damn good party where everyone also makes it out in one piece. Don’t forget to send us your San Francisco Halloween pics, whether you’re walking your costumed kids around their elementary school or crushing a box of Franzia on Muni Metro. Tag us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Our email inbox muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com is always open!

Pic by Ken Banks on Flickr

Like walking on a terrible Tilt-a-Whirl: Loma Prieta at age 8

A friend, then a KCBS Radio reporter, recently shared how “life in the Bay Area stood still for days” in the aftermath of the Loma Prieta earthquake, which shook Northern California 28 years ago today.

On Oct. 17, 2017, fires ravage our northern neighbors and ash dusts our windowsills and sneaks into our lungs. Thousands are impacted by the literal loss of life and property as a sense of loss and anxiety hovers over the region—just as it did nearly three decades ago. But as one disaster seems to follow another in 2017, I’m thinking today of our ability to come together when shit gets really, really bad.

I turned eight two days before Oct. 17, 1989, in time for my first and, so far, only experience in a massive quake. At 5:04 p.m., I was sitting on my couch in South San Francisco, flipping between reruns of Silver Spoons and the Giants-A’s World Series pregame. Everyone at my elementary school wanted the Giants to win, so, of course, I did, too.

My dad had just come home from work and the little girl my mom babysat was eating a snack. The metal windows in our ’70s condo started rattling slightly, and the sounds of vibrating porcelain knick knacks quickly followed suit.

Instead of a shudder that rippled through the house and then stopped, the rattling sounds combined audibly and sickeningly with a rumble I imagined was like thunder—I hadn’t really experienced that, either.

It was like walking on a terrible Tilt-a-Whirl, being unable to get myself in a straight line from the couch to where my dad was losing balance in a doorway.

After everything stopped moving, we spilled into my street in the Westborough neighborhood of town, along with all of our neighbors. Every single person backed into the middle of the street, facing our houses, expecting them to fall down right in front of us.

I was terrified to cross the eastbound span of the Bay Bridge for months, which we did pretty regularly—kid logic concluded that being on the upper deck meant we had a greater chance of living if we fell into the lower one vs. into the Bay. Oddly enough, I was driving on the lower deck of the Bay Bridge during the next-largest earthquake to hit the Bay Area nearly two decades later.

I and many others I knew were lucky. As Diana’s story reminded me, 42 people lost their lives in the Cypress Structure alone. Had I been a digital-era adult when this happened, I wonder if I’d have had a heightened capacity to understand and collectively grieve those losses, while also feeling the impact of communities coming together in the time of need. My world was much smaller then; I think it was smaller for all of us, whether we were one or 100 in 1989. As I scroll through my news sources and friend feeds on the tiny computer in my pocket, I am glad to see plenty of evidence that the Bay Area is still in it together.

Pic by sanbeiji on Flickr.

Animal magnetism: The undeniable pull of underground SF

Sometimes opportunity knocks. Other times, you inadvertently stumble through its door. That’s what storyteller Steve Pepple discovered, when an unmarked door at a SoMa diner turned out to be a portal to a mysterious underground scene.

A designer at OpenGov, Steve works toward making cities (including our favorite one) more livable, whether he’s working on a budget or a bus. Podcast listeners, here’s Steve’s story:

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Since we expanded our storytelling lens in August, you’ve submitted amazing stories like a day in the life of a Nob Hill employee, the secret history behind the Transamerica building, and how a Bernal shopkeeper survived losing her lease. Remember to subscribe to the podcast so you don’t miss an episode!

You can also catch Steve telling a new story live at Muni Diaries Live on Nov. 4; tickets are on sale now.

For your reading pleasure, here’s a transcript of Steve’s story: Read more

Heart-eyes for my hood: Upper Maltese Falcon


Photo from Tara’s IG profile @roopisonfire

Some thought my move from La Mision to downtown amounted to trading an interesting neighborhood for not a neighborhood at all.

Not quite.

An area I christened “Chinunionob” upon arrival, I found blocks of apartment buildings teeming with character. I became a regular at the oldest dim sum house in the city, and I learned just how happy the Tunnel Top bar makes people when I mention that it’s my local.

Dashiell Hammett’s universe from The Maltese Falcon is inextricably connected to this part of the world, exciting for history buffs, noir fanatics, or anyone, which is a lot of us, who is drawn to art that imitates life in San Francisco.

Burritt Street borders a store that sells “Shit, I need a tomato” tomatoes, last-minute runs for Haagen-Dazs Rocky Road, and bestickered bottles of wine, from which I’ve peeled many stubborn price tags en route to dinner. This same alley is where Hammett’s Miles Archer was “done in” by fictional femme fatale Brigid O’Shaughnessy.

My trusty sedan occasionally sleeps on Dashiell Hammett Street, so named after a successful effort by City Lights Booksellers & Publishers owner Lawrence Ferlinghetti to honor San Francisco writers.

Considered through this historical Viewfinder, my life in Chinunionob sparkles a little brighter knowing that it moved one of the most celebrated noir storytellers of our time. More than an intersection of Chinatown, Union Square, and Nob Hill, it’s become a personal crossroads of inspiration, motivation, civic pride, and love.

Add Don Herron’s Maltese Falcon Tour, in its 40th year, to your to-do list. I certainly am.

Tara Ramroop is Hamster 1 of 2 keeping the San Francisco Diaries wheel in motion. She has hella heart-eyes emoji for SF, even when she’s walking up those pee-pee stairs on Stockton and Bush Streets. Tag us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter with your tale.

Reer: Catty Muni bus ain’t having none of it

This 47-Van Ness:

a) is taking its Catbus aspirations way too far.

b) finally found a way to react to being San Francisco’s punching bag day in and day out.

Punk rock cat was more punk rock than all y’all, and nothing was cooler than Sunglass cat’s medically necessary duds, but we never quite expected one of our transit chariots to actually become a cat.

Thanks for the tip, @jchrthomas.

Have a favorite story on (or along) the 47? Tag us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter with your favorite tale (or tease to a tale) about SF living.

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