WTF: Weirdness on Muni

I was riding the 14-Mission during Loma Prieta

loma prieta earthquake. by joe lewis
Photo by Joe Lewis

Of all the days you could get on the wrong bus, Karla Milosevich accidentally got on an express on Oct. 17, 1989, the day that the big one hit. Today is the 25th anniversary of the Loma Prieta earthquake, and the website Earthquake Weather has been gathering stories about the quake. Here’s Karla’s:

I was working a temp job on the 12th floor of a downtown office on Spear Street, and had just gotten off work. I caught the 14 Mission bus to go to the café on Valencia Street where my sister worked, but accidentally boarded the express one, which was headed towards Daly City. I couldn’t get off before the freeway so I was standing in the crowded bus, holding the rail over my head, looking out the window and lamenting how much longer it was going to take me to get home.

We were stopped, waiting for a light, and then the bus kind of rolled and it sounded like metal on metal, I figured we were having an accident on the side I couldn’t see. It seemed like a car was scraping against the bus. But then I could also see a guy who had been asleep in his car– he woke up and was all startled. I was wondering about the connection because his car wasn’t touching the bus, then people started saying “Earthquake”, “That was an earthquake!”

We sat there for a few minutes, then got on the freeway anyway, business as usual. I got off as soon as I could, in the way outer Mission. Around then, all the buses stopped running, so there was no way to get back. This was before cell phones, so I started walking to the Mission. As it happened, this guy I know, Dave Cohen, happened to be driving by and gave me a ride home. That was pretty lucky! That’s when I started to hear about how much damage there was.

Were you on Muni during the ’89 earthquake? Tell your story to 1989Quake.com.

What We Talk About When We Talk About a Muni Rider Like Tim

muni stop by lynn friedland
Photo by Lynn Friedland

Muni rider Rory sent us this thoughtful letter about a fellow regular passenger named Tim. We have all known or met someone like Tim, and we’ve all probably looked away awkwardly when someone like Tim murmurs to himself on the bus. Rory describes one evening when looking away was not enough. What would you do?

Tim is one of those guys you meet on the bus without a filter between his thoughts and speech. It seems pretty common on Muni: thoughts just come out as psycho-babble and he could go on for a very long time. Our bus schedules are quite similar so I run into him on the 38-L a lot, but this particular ride last night made me question Muni practices and passenger reactions.

Nerves were brought to the breaking point last night when the driver insisted on over-crowding a bus that was already full. (more…)

Vodka and broken glass on the 49-Van Ness

49-Van Ness
Photo by lpcmidst0128

Expert Muni rider Beth knows what’s up (spoiler alert, it’s usually not good) when you hear a banging bottle near you on the bus.

My partner and I were riding the 49 north into the Mission recently when a handful of teenagers got on the bus. We were sitting near the very back, and one of the teens went to the window behind me and overhead and began banging on it. At first, I thought he was just trying to get the window open, but when I looked, I realized he was banging the top of a liquor bottle on the window frame. I cringed and ducked, just hoping he wouldn’t shower me with vodka and broken glass. Meanwhile, one of his friends was trying to convince him to stop, while another one was offering pointers, but the kid insisted he knew what he was doing. He must have been right, because eventually I smelled liquor and figured he’d gotten it open. They got off the bus at the next stop, taking their little party with them.

The 49 is full of surprises, be it Muni uberfan John Waters whenever he’s in town, a dispute over air quality (seriously), or literal pillow talk. What has the 49 gift horse sent you lately?

A Quiet Night on the 38-Geary

quiet_night_38
Photo by Justin

Appreciative people-watching has always been part of the appeal here at Muni Diaries, and I think the view from Muni rider Stuart’s seat reminds us as much. The vomit shower is pretty gross, though.

A man boards the 38 with his hair in what appeared to be a two-foot tall orange condom. Another man staggers aboard on, asking everyone in earshot where he could get his fix. A woman talks about her divorce on speakerphone. A group of bros holding burritos and PBRs yammer and sway.

Nothing happens.

I sit in a singleton seat, and I look outside, and it is raining. I open the window, relishing the cool scent of wet asphalt, and turn my head toward the rain, smiling as my eyelashes catch the few drops that fall in upon me from outside. It strikes me that sitting there, smiling at nothing, and smelling the rain, I might be the strangest guy on the bus.

One of the bros takes a bite of his burrito, a swig of his PBR, and showers his buddies and their poorly tailored suits in vomit as the 38 swerves to miss a double-parked car.

Everything returns to the status quo, as madness erupts around me.

The 38-Geary is one of our most talked-about lines. Who knows, you may run into The Most Interesting Man in the World (you may even be him, depending on how your day went), or you may find yourself quietly defending your sexuality and Little Mermaid backpack. If you have a story that’s worthy of the #OnlyonMuni hashtag, send it our way and you could win tickets (and saved choice seating) to Muni Diaries Live, set for Nov. 8 at the Elbo Room.

More sci-fi on a Muni seat

seat_goo

You always want a seat on Muni, but you’re smart enough to look first. At least, that’s the hope around here.

Muni rider Michael looked first, that’s for sure. And he was shocked to discover what you see above. WTF? Melted blue Otter Pops, or what’s left of the aliens who abducted your sister on the bus? Michael only had this to say: “unidentified, blue, liquid puddles on the seats of [sic] the muni.”

Just last week, we learned of a mysterious glob that was spotted on the seat of a Muni LRV. What’s next?