The Examiner‘s Beth Winegarner takes a look at how even kids are SAH on public transit.
Whoever wrote that song about one being a lonely number had it wrong. One, in fact, is the best number, at least in the Muni universe. My search for a new place to call home has mostly brought me to the Richmond and Sunset areas, putting me on the foreign 38-Geary and, today, the 1-California.
There isn’t enough time or space to explain everything that’s wrong with the 38. But what I have to say about the 1 is (hopefully) shortish and sweet.
This has to be the best bus route in SF. A friend said this is among the highest-rated lines for on-time performance and, incidentally, is the one Mayor Gavin Newsom uses. Seeing as how Muni funds are being slashed left and right, I can’t say the latter is that compelling a fact. But anyway…
At the time I was living in Russian Hill and every morning would take the 30 to the Caltrain station downtown.
I was seated in the back of the bus, across from a severely pregnant woman accompanied by her younger brother. Her crop top left her swollen midriff exposed, a canvass displaying an array of stretch marks. She carried a cloud of tension with her onto the bus; her disposition was that of dynamite with a lit fuse. She swore and gesticulated so loudly that within no time she had commandeered the apprehensive attention of everyone on the bus. No one else dared speak in the shadow of such a volatile person.
I can almost see this becoming a recurring theme here on Muni Diaries: Rides that are so long, and traverse so many neighborhoods and socio-economic levels, they have time to … not mature, per se, but to change course dramatically in their demographic makeup.
Case in point: Yesterday, around 6 p.m., I boarded the 30 on Third and Harrison. There was a Giants game earlier in the day, but it ended around 4. Still, there was one couple sitting toward the back of the bus who had clearly left the game a little late, he borderline passed out, she leaning over his lap. The only coherent thing I heard from them the entire time was a plea from him: “No, PG-13, baby, PG-13.” I didn’t dare look.
I decided to play Muni races today — the 5 against the 21. I’m fairly certain that the 5 line outmaneuvers and outruns the 21. (The block-to-block stops on the 21 draws this conclusion.) But the 5 stops about three streets farther from my final destination (Ashbury and Fell), which is why I always opt for the 21 — pure laziness. But the question was: Could I overtake the 21 on foot once the 5 dropped me at my destination? This was something I’d pathetically pondered more times than a sane person should.
As I waited for the bus on Market and Second, I saw my shot to answer this ever-nagging question. Just behind the approaching 5 poked a 21 — back to back. They both came to a stop. So I decided to test my theory, and hopped onto the 5. After we loaded and left, I watched the 21 out of the rear window until the two buses made the split near Seventh street. The race was on.
December 2004: It was raining on the platform on 19th avenue across from SF state. There weren’t too many people waiting, telling me I had just missed the outbound M. Amazingly enough, though, there was another coming in about two minutes. Not enough time to pull out a magazine. And plus, it was a windy rain, and the platform roof wouldn’t have done much to protect the pages.
I noticed only one other rider on my end of the platform: an Asian guy with a football team’s baseball hat. Maroon. 49ers. Very everyday San Francisco.
We boarded the M, shoes squeaking in that way that they do only on rainy days inside a Muni train. I sat down and he took his seat in the row directly in front of me. No one else was on in the front of the train where we were.
A couple of stops later, now in Oceanview, two young women got on. They seemed to be SF State students as well, but not your mid-career, second-degree type. No, they were young. If I had to guess, I’d say 19, maybe 20.