No eating, no drinking, no smoking

Now, I know that sometimes — most times I guess — our Muni stories have nothing to do with us, or choices we make. Usually we’re victims of circumstance. But sometimes, we make our own Muni stories. Before I go on, let me preface this with the fact that, rules are rules, and if some rules aren’t enforced by Muni or are just completely ignored by other Muni riders, then those situations where said rules are ignored or unenforced are just reasons to criticize Muni, am I right? Of course I am.

So, let’s get to the first two rules, first — no eating. Now, myself, I’m going to have to be pretty motherfucking hungry to even want to eat on Muni in the first place. That’s just me, I guess, because I can’t even count the number of times I’ve been subjected to nasty fast food aromas and the grease said food emanates throughout the tiny confines of your standard-issue Muni coach. Then, of course, there’s the sunflower-seed shells that coat the floor of the bus like so many expended ordnance on the battle field. Let’s not forget the other trash that is left behind that we have to kick under the seat in front of us just so we can be comfortable. OK, so, people eat on the bus, whether I like it or not, whether I do it or not, this happens, it’s against the rules, but I’ve got to live with it.

Rule number two, no drinking. OK, so Muni is for commuting, and most people will use it to commute to their jobs, and we all enjoy a cup of coffee on our way to work. This is a rule I break frequently for that very same reason. In fact, I believe more people drink on Muni than any other rule that is broken. But there are some exceptions and abuse when it comes to the no-drinking policy. For instance, I am cursed with the faulty coffee lid curse, so that at least 7 out of 10 purchased cups of coffee has a leaky lid. 2 or 3 out of said 7 can be downright messy. And in one instance in my Muni life, I was not allowed to board a bus, the 19, because my hand was coated with coffee. It was a crowded bus, and I was a mess, I could understand where the driver was coming from, so I got off the bus and tried to down as much as my coffee and clean myself up before the next bus came. Good judgment, Muni driver!

But then there are situations that can hardly be explained. I used to work in the Marina and commuted to work on the 22-Fillmore. Set aside for a moment the fact that when you board a Muni bus, for some reason the front is always packed and the back is empty. This happens a lot, particularly on the 22, but ruminations on that issue can perhaps be saved for another entry. On one occasion when on my way to work I was confronted with this very situation, I fought my way to the back only to see that on this day, there was a very good reason indeed for no one sitting in the back. The entire back of the bus was covered in fruit punch, the seats, the floor and even the bars riders use to steady themselves as they stand. Never have I felt so sticky and gross. It was like a can or bottle of fruit juice had exploded. All I remember of the incident was thinking, “Why? Why? Who would do this and waste so much fruit punch?” So, another reason for no drinking on the bus.

Now we come to rule number three, no smoking. Now, in this day and age, it’s certainly getting harder and harder for smokers to be accepted anywhere, but even the most die-hard smoker nowadays can accept that not smoking in airplanes and transit vehicles makes sense. But on a night in the not so distant past, drunk from a company Christmas party and full of pent up rage from the aforementioned multiple cases of the breaking of rules one and two — and the fact that I hadn’t finished my cigarette by the time a bus came — I proceeded to stroll on a 6-Parnassus, lit cigarette in hand, and sit in the back at the seats right next to the back door, and continued puffing away. In my drunken head, I thought, what’s the big deal, I see people eating and drinking on Muni all the time, what’s one guy smoking? But this did not fly with the passengers or the driver at all. Luckily, in a way, for me, the driver was a woman who did not want to confront me, even as all the other passengers were all busy tattle-tailing away on me. As the ruckus grew, I figured I should give in, and I threw my cigarette out the window. But it was too late. The driver had alerted San Francisco’s finest, who came in the bus and quickly escorted me out of the bus. Thankfully, I wasn’t arrested, and it wasn’t long before another transit vehicle came to whisk me home.

I guess if there’s any moral to this story at all, it’s that all rules are equal, but some rules are more equal than others. Why, I’ve even been on a bus where people were smoking weed and it didn’t cause a stir. What’s up with that? – Rob

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