Muni Mind Reader: When f*&king BART goes on strike!
It’s finally here. The long-threatened, much peanut-galleried BART strike is set to start Monday morning. Of course, for us Muni commuters, this really only means an influx of the unknowing, unaware, well-to-do BART commuter (stereotype much?). We’ll do well to welcome them with open arms. Well, maybe not. Just be nice. Don’t bite. Tiffany Maleshefski, aka Muni Mind Reader, homes in on what it must be like for this odd creature: the reluctant BART rider on Muni.
WTF? I wish when I decided to go on strike I had the ability to fuck with the lives of tens of thousands of people. But I don’t. And just because BART is finally going through on its threats to screw us all over for a couple of days, doesn’t mean I get to go on strike too. See, I’d just get fired, or my boss would tell me to get my ass on the closest Muni bus I can find…and fast.
Which is exactly what I’m doing. Finding the closest Muni bus. That’s a doable request. Can I find one fast? Probably not. Why? Because I’ve been waiting here for freakin’ 14 minutes, and every time the clock ticks down to 8 minutes, the goddamn NextBus sign bumps it back up to 10 or 12. PLUS, who the HELL schedules buses to come every 15 minutes at 8:30 a.m??? Hello Muni wunderkinds, this is peak commuting time. Hmmmph. BART would’ve had me to work by now.
OK! You’ve finally decided to show up, Mr. Bus. Thanks for that. Well I’ll be! There’s even a lovely, plastic, rock-hard seat available. It’s way in the back, but it’s a seat! I better push back there before anyone else snags it. I have this great book that I’m 10 pages away from finishing so…oh, I see why this seat is free. See, that’s the other thing on BART. You’d be hard-pressed to find a seat covered in soda and sunflower seeds.
I don’t want to sound like a snob, but another big plus for the BARTster, if you ask me, is there is this unspoken rule akin to, ya know, not pissing in your own home. Not to say that people never pee on BART, but those times are few and far between.
Now, I will say that the beauty of Muni is the ability to get off of it whenever you want. Even if it’s not your stop, bang on the door enough and make enough noise, and the driver is going to let you off. BART doesn’t have that kind of flexibility.
So, during those times when it’s a piping-hot 85 degrees in the East Bay and you suddenly realize that the BART car you’ve stepped on is without air conditioning, and you are pretty sure somebody peed somewhere, but it’s too late because the train is already moving and no sooner did it get moving that you’re now all trapped in a tunnel…OK, well, those times just suck.
Still, when I get on the BART every morning, yeah, I wish it felt more like a luxury shuttle. I sometimes wish I could handpick who my fellow riders were. I wish there was at the very least a coffee bar. But I’m not overwhelmed by the vehement hatred of the transit system that seems to come with the territory when you ride Muni. Not sure why that is. I know I’m not going to be forced to listen to someone else’s music, or have my morning reverie rattled by the ramblings of some batshit crazy dude going on about Cat Stevens. And for the most part, I’m going to get to where I’m going ON TIME. God, I can’t wait for this strike to be over!
Check back next Friday, when all the madness might well be over and Muni Mind Reader can move on to caricaturing normal, everyday Muni riders.