When Women Rule the World: what I learned on the 1 California

Not Connie Chung, but still

Not Connie Chung, but still

I was on the 1 California with my younger sister and cousin when a man wearing his Army uniform came to sit next to us. It’s such a beautiful day, he said, too bad the economy is in the dumps. We laugh and agree. Then he said:

“But you guys, you will do fine, women make better decisions! This bad stuff wouldn’t happen if women ran the world, you know, like Hillary Clinton. Also, I like that Connie Chung too.”

Not missing a beat, my sister said:

“Isn’t Connie Chung busy having babies with Maury Povich?”

Very helpful, Muni

I happened to be at Powell Street station Thursday night trying to get an underground train toward Embarcadero. The hanging signs were not displaying anything, so I trekked over to see what the LCD said.

I was greeted with this:

<img src=”http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3278/2949708901_a57235c3e7.jpg” alt=”Muni display” />

If you can’t see it on the smaller image, look at <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/96304466@N00/2949708901/sizes/l/”>the larger one</a>. Yup, that’s a broken-image X. Thanks, guys.

— Beth W.

<i>Beth really wanted to see that red X travel slowly from West Portal to Powell so she could hop on and ride it to goodness-knows-where.</i>

Documentary About London Underground Maps

We don’t talk about Muni transit maps on this site much. Perhaps we should.

But I came across this riveting documentary about the maps for the London Underground. (Thx: Kottke)

The documentary is really more about design than transit per se. But maps affect our understanding of how a system works. Therefore, in my mind, the maps are key to the efficient use of any public transit system.

Now, if only we had a world-class system here in San Francisco …

– Jeff wishes we could start San Francisco over, SIMS-style, and give it the transit-first layout it truly deserves.

no comprende?

As a word nerd, as well as a recent visitor to a handful of foreign countries, odd sentence construction is one of the biggest WTFs you can come across if you’re not entirely fluent in a language; even if you speak a fairly decent textbook version thereof.

But I mostly write this tale as a woman, horrified by a man’s conversational skills on a moving vehicle, where everyone can (unfortunately) hear every word of his awkward conversation with two girls from Switzerland.

It’s good to be home.

Let me start the tale of awkwardness by explaining the body language in this situation, for which I fully craned my neck to get a gander at. Two girls, maybe 20, but probably younger, were standing on a crowded bus, chatting among themselves. A man, who was probably around 30, was standing behind them, attempting over (and over) again to engage them in conversation. I think we all know that it’s a bad sign when the object of your conversational interest: 1) doesn’t ask you a single question back, or 2) only turns around to face you when you ask one of your many questions.

But off he went anyway. Here’s a sampling:

Guy: So what goes on in Switzerland?
Swiss girls: What?
Guy: What do you do there? Like, for fun?

Commentary: “What’s going on?” is a very oddly worded phrase on its own. Turn it around like the way he did, to people who aren’t fluent in English, and you get this.

There’s a reason foreign English is funny; we never say things like “The reason for this is because…” unless we’re directly translating from another language. So a phrase like “What’s going on?” definitely loses something in the translation.

Guy: So there are a lot of mountains and stuff in Switzerland?
Swiss girls: Um, yes. Many mountains.

Commentary: Clutching at straws then, aren’t we? This kind of question is always the low point, on whatever end of the conversation you’re on. I personally ask questions like this when I don’t like someone, but am forced to be in their company, or am horribly uncomfortable.

But he continues with the kicker!

Guy: So, how old are you girls? 15? 16? 17?
Swiss girl 1: What’s the saying? You don’t ask a woman her age?
Guy: Nah, that’s only for women in their 30s!

Commentary: Good answer from the girls, and probably a good indication that they spoke better English than they first let on. Also, you’re a creepy asshole if you look anywhere near the vicinity of 30 (or older) and ask such a question. You then earn more creepy points for denouncing the statement as something for women…in your own age group.

Everyone eventually got off the bus, leaving me to stew in their residual cloud of awkward.

Yeah, it’s good to be home.

Tara Ramroop has only been let down a handful of times by Muni in the week since she’s been back. Progress?

Driver of 8366 on 43-Masonic, You’re Pretty Cool

off your trolley

Rarely do you have that driver who, after shutting his doors and cranking his diesel-hybrid engine, stops for you. Rarely do you have that driver who answers whether or not his bus passes Lincoln and 14th – and goes a step further with suggestions on how to get there. Rarely do you have the driver who waits for the 80-year-old lady with a cane to take her seat before pulling the clutch. And rarely do you have the driver who smiles at you – during rush hour. Thanks, man. What can I do for you? Does screaming “thank you!” upon exiting really help in showing my appreciation?


Fleeing Fleet Week

Okay, okay, yes, we went to Fleet Week. And by “go to Fleet Week,” I mean we grabbed some sandwiches at the pretty people’s Safeway and plopped our asses on Marina Green for free to watch a bunch of screaming planes do tricks. A friend had never experienced the glory, and being the nice people that we are, we chose to humor her.

Getting over to the north side of town from the Mission was actually a pleasant exercise. The 49-Van Ness zipped us right down to where we needed to be. The bus was neither crowded nor slow. We got there in about 20 minutes, I’d guess.

Getting back home was a different story altogether.

We waited things out a while at a friend’s house on Chestnut, then boarded a nearly capacity 49, only to stand there for what seemed like a eternity (seriously, something tells me, hours later, that that bus is still there). We got off at the next stop, after peering up Van Ness (to the south) and seeing nothing but stopped cars with their brake lights on.

So we walked. We walked from Greenwich to Market, passing at least three 49s and three 47s. We walked all the way to the heart of the Mission. God knows whatever became of any of those Van Ness buses.

Anyone else experience meltdown over the weekend with all the hullabaloo? Please share.

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