Tracks to nowhere

You know what makes me sad? Seeing those pairs of iron trolley rails on various city streets and discovering that they don’t go anywhere.

For example, at the Transbay Terminal — there’s a set of Muni trolley rails on the bus pad. Follow them with your eyes to Fremont Street, only to find they’ve been paved over. Nobody’s using those anymore.

While there are still a number of remnants like that above ground throughout The City, I’ll bet there’s plenty more that have been torn up and/or buried under asphalt.

When I went to the Railway Museum, I learned that the city used to have many, many more trolley lines, but with time most of them were replaced with buses. I find the trolleys so much more pleasant than buses. Drivers get out of their way more often. They don’t wallow back and forth and make you seasick. And, for some reason, they seem less smelly and more enjoyable. Maybe it’s because I’m a rail freak, you never know, but part of me wishes they’d go back to more trolleys, fewer buses.

At any rate, I don’t have a comprehensive mental map of all those rail-bits I’ve seen all over The City. But I get excited when I spot them, and then feel deflated when I realize that that 100 feet of track are all that remain of someone’s daily commuter route, or perhaps the first streetcar ride they ever took in San Francisco.

Sigh.

— Beth W.

Beth is a reporter and author. And rail junkie.

Sometimes, dreams do come true

I had a surprisingly pleasant Muni experience on the way to work yesterday, only because it went beyond my expectations. As I believe I’ve said before, I have a good Muni location, I walk down from the Lower Haight to Church and Duboce, give a quick glance for any incoming N-Judahs or J-Churches, and if I don’t see one, I continue down to Church Street Station and try my luck at an L, M or the dreaded K/T whatever the hell it is. I say dreaded because it is usually only one car, and even though it technically begins just one station away at Castro Street, it is usually packed to the gills. I guess that’s because it’s also a K, and has come all the way from Balboa Street Station. Anyway, when I got down to Church Street Station on Monday I was immediately disheartened because on the incoming train monitor I saw a one-car K was the only train coming. I said to myself, “I guess I’ll be standing all nice and intimate all the way to Powell Street today.” But, I was wrong, for the first time ever on my way to work and since the T was introduced, the train was sparsely populated, well air-conditioned and hauled ass downtown. Just want to give Muni props, that although it seems like you can and should only expect the worst, sometimes Muni doesn’t screw you. You have to enjoy it when it happens.

— Rob

Rob Nagle works at a free San Francisco daily newspaper that has been sprucing up its Web presence.

Thank you, stranger photographer, for complimenting me on my shoes

While waiting for the 38-Geary at the end of a beautiful sunny day, a young man with a professional-looking (read: big lens! Nikon neck strap! Looks professional to me!) camera complimented me on my sandals. Little did he know that I overspent on these snappy little gold shoes and am constantly justifying to myself about their existence in my closet.

Thank you, photographer guy! You made my day, and when I got home and logged onto my computer, I found that the same pair of sandals is now on sale in a different color. Guess what I bought?

– Eugenia, helping the American economy, one pair of shoes at a time.

A Dose of International Homophobia on the 49

Judging by their accents, I’d say they were from some Eastern European country. When they got on, the bus was full, and the one man in the group took the open seat next to an extremely effeminate, probably-gay man. Probably-gay man was talking to his probably-straight female friend. Hands flailed, but in an oh-so respectful manner.

But that wasn’t good enough for gay-hating Eastern European man.

As soon as a seat opened across the aisle, he hopped over there and proceeded to stare back at probably-gay guy with a look that could cut glass.

Now, there’s a lot of speculation in this diary, to be sure. But that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

My advice to homophobes, no matter where you’re from: We have gay people here in San Francisco. Maybe you’ve heard. Do your best not to stare, especially with such disdain.

– Jeff

Jeff has seen a gay person or 10,000 in his eight years in San Francisco, but he’s never stared at them dismissively.

Seeing Our City’s Less Fortunate on Muni

A Muni ride puts you in much closer proximity with our city’s less fortunate – instead of just walking over yet another homeless person huddled in a blanket or ignoring yet another outstretched hand for spare change, a Muni ride makes you look at people in the eye. Or does it?

I was on the 38-Geary on Sunday when a older man wearing a trench coat got onboard. He sat across from a toddler bouncing on her mom’s lap, and the next thing I know, the man started singing a pretty, soulful tune to the little girl. “The girl of my dreams…ain’t no mountain too high…nothing can keep us apart.” “You know what I’m talking about,” he says to no one in particular.

He rambles on and tells the bus that his name is Fillmore Holmes (“That’s right. That’s my real name.”) and sings right in front of Virgin Records downtown. “My last show is on August 23! Are y’all going to come see me at my last show?”

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Thanks for sharing

No, ma’am. It wasn’t your facial hair. Nor was it your morbid obesity. These things I can look past.

You didn’t hoard any seats, spit, or litter. I’m pretty sure you flashed a Fast Pass and took your seat, not refusing to move to the back of a crowded coach like so many of your fellow riders.

No, your offense was perhaps more egregious: You treated us all, a peaceful bunch of weekday morning 31-Balboa riders, to an exclusive, VIP performance of … your phone conversation with a friend. Loud and clear, thank you.

It was so wonderfully annoying, really, the way you neglected to shield your loud mouth from us. Otherwise we might not have been privy to all those glorious details of your home and social life.

Unless it’s an emergency, or you can keep it brief and quiet, put your phone away.

– Jeff

Jeff has heard his fair share of excuses.

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