The 31 diaries
I’m generally pretty complimentary about the 31-Balboa because it generally deserves it. At best, this means it’s somewhat innocuous, boring and quiet, which can be a good thing when you’re riding clear across town.
Today’s ride home on the 31 was actually above-average, if you can believe it, and it had nothing to do with how punctual the bus was.
First, let’s discuss the “BACK DOOR!! BACK DOOR!” phenomenon. The back doors open when you step into the stairwell. Sometimes, you have to touch the door handles to make them open, which, on the 49-Van Ness, for example, is akin to licking your fingers after using a public bathroom. However, do not stand in the stairwell when the bus is trying to move from a stop, because it pretty much won’t if someone is still standing in the stairwell. This is complex exiting protocol for some, but I find it uniquely Muni, in its own irritating way.
As a woman and man were conversing, loudly, clear across the bus the whole time they were riding, Man decides he wanted to get off. He screams louder than I ever heard anyone scream for the back doors to open, when Woman poignantly (crazily? angrily?) offered some advice:
“You gotta step down! STEP DOWN! Step down! This ain’t Oakland, you gotta step down to open the doors; you’re in San Francisco, motherfucker!”
San Francisco, indeed. Now, if someone could record this woman and have this very message blast to everyone yelling their heads off for the back doors, I guarantee it would be more effective than the posted signs.
An unrelated, quieter incident was a mini love connection. Two people apparently met on the Muni, had a pleasant conversation about law school and where they grew up, and exchanged names and numbers. He called her immediately afterward, which was kind of weird in my book, but cute. It reminded me that, despite the staggering amount of unwelcome interactions with fellow Muni riders, some do manage to make friends.
Tara Ramroop writes and edits on and off the clock in San Francisco, motherfucker! She finds this to be a curse and a blessing, if you can believe it. She has never made a friend on Muni, nor has she ever yelled at any back-door violators.
I have never made friends with anyone on Muni either – unless you count the crazy dude trying to count out a bundle of crumpled $1 bills on the 49-Van Ness. He thanked me profusely when I pointed out that he dropped one.