On the 49-Van Ness this morning, heading south on Van Ness. Just after I boarded, a man leaped up from one of the disabled-reserved seats screaming, “Back door!!!! Back door!” We weren’t at a stop, mind you. I had just boarded, remember, and we left that stop behind us.
Still, he lumbered over to the door, rolly-bag somewhat in hand. Still occasionally belting out a “back door!” This was when, by obligation, surrounding passengers started mumbling to things to one another like, “ah, San Francisco.”
It was a crowded bus, and I was standing just on the other side of the aisle from where this guy was in the door’s step-down. Now he started saying, over and over again, “Let me off the fucking bus!” and I noticed that, yes, there was snot dripping from his nose. He plopped his bag down into the steps beside him, but we were between stops, a three- or four-block span.
I was leaving the downtown area heading toward my apartment in the Lower Haight. This was some time ago so I don’t really remember where I was coming from, most likely I was on my way home from practicing with my old band. I was already in a bitchy mood, most likely for the amount of time I waited for a bus, but I also remember a general feeling of angst that comes over me from time to time that is usually a cumulative anger and/or depression, further compounded by waiting for a long time for Muni on a less than pleasant night. Finally, I remember, a 6-Parnassus picks me up – and perks me up. Of all lines I could get, this one would get me closest to home – one block away – and fast. Another plus – it wasn’t crowded. I get on and proceed toward the back of the bus; I certainly wouldn’t want to take a seat away from the elderly or a wheel-chair user. We proceed to the next stop, and just before I start to feel happy, I notice the loud, most likely high on crack woman board the bus. “Stay up front, stay up front,” I remember thinking, but no, to the back of the bus she comes, and she’s fired up, dancing, screaming and making a scene. This is no new situation to anyone who takes Muni, and I generally know how to deal with it – don’t make eye contact and ignore the behavior. Sometimes, if I were in a better mood, I might even have been entertained by the high woman, but not this night, I was in no mood for laughter. As she finally sits down I notice the smell, a very, very strong smell – of shit! No, ladies and gentlemen, this was no wafting fart that I couldn’t just hold my breath a bit and let pass, this was the straight up intense smell of a freshly pinched loaf, most likely nestled tightly between the crackhead’s ass and her blackened Levi’s. The smell consumed the back of the bus, you didn’t just smell it, you felt it. I was in a fog of poo, and as the smell hits, I look around – there were others in the back – and not many people seem to be noticing the smell I’m noticing. The crackhead’s sitting down but won’t shut up, and I wonder if she’s screaming to distract people from the smell. As we go another stop, I have to go to the front of the bus, old people be damned. There’s not much refuge there, but the smell is definitely less intense. Finally, others seem to smell it and an exodus toward the front begins, the crackhead’s screams intensify and I can take no more. Three blocks from my house I have to bail. As the 6 drives away, I see the people’s reaction on the back of the bus, heads in shirts, newspapers up against their faces, the looks of horror and disgust, the stampede toward the front of the bus. Never had the streets of San Francisco smelled so good. – Rob
A photo site documenting the mishmash of riding the subway in New York City. Or, as it bills itself, a “photostalker.” Transit paparazzi? Whatever.
We were riding the 49-Van Ness toward the 1000 Van Ness theater tonight. As we joined the clusterfuck around City Hall post-Pride, with its closed-off, trash-strewn, dyed-hair-filled streets. Halfway between Grove and McAllister, a horde of teenagers from (I’m guessing) Fairfield came screaming up to the bus outside. We inched forward, but they made it to the front door and proceeded to bang the glass, indignantly saying, “C’mon! Let us on!”
The driver, who was out of sight for us, said to them plainly, “This is not a taxi.” – Jeff
I was on one of the Market Street buses a couple of weeks ago — the 71-Haight, I think — heading toward the Ferry Building. The bus was nearly empty and a couple of folks got off just as I hopped on. As soon as the bus doors closed, the driver turned to a young couple sitting in the elderly/disabled section and said, “Check your bags. The guy who was sitting next to you is a pickpocket. Let me know if he took anything and I’ll call the cops.”
She waited while they frantically checked their bags. Fortunately, nothing was taken and the bus wasn’t seriously delayed. But I liked that this driver was looking out for out-of-towners possibly distracted and dazzled by their unfamiliar environment.
It almost made up for the 38L driver yesterday who spent more time yelling at every single passenger than actually driving… – Beth W.