$2 Ride in Hell: The Dirty 38-Geary


(This story by Ryan is also posted at Broke-Ass Stuart’s Goddamn Website)

When you’re a young and curious broke ass, coming up with $2 and stepping onto the SF Muni can be a very thrilling and sexual experience. But the thing to remember is you have to make sure you’re ready for this responsibility. When two people love each other very much, they sometimes have urges to ride the Muni; however, it’s very important to be sure you’ve prepared yourself for this encounter. True, you may see a total fox that’s eyeing you from across the aisle, but sometimes you may see a homeless person with their hand down their pants. The real beauty is you never really know which it’s going to be. But more often than not, it’s Big Reggie smiling at you with a toothless grin.


There is one bus line in particular that really makes me want to drive needles through my eyeballs to guarantee I will never have to witness such painful images again. When I first moved to this city, I was working late in the Financial District. Every night at 11:30pm, I’d catch the 38 (or the Dirty-8 if you will), which goes through the Tenderloin on its way to Ocean Beach. You may think that at this time of night, things would have slowed down and you could actually score a seat in this tin can full of broken dreams. Think again.

One night really stands out in my mind. I was looking at a scrubby man sitting a couple of feet away from me. I was thinking about his life, his past and how frustrating it must feel to be a human being with nowhere to turn and no one there to give you a chance. Immediately, my thought process was interrupted when he reached into his shirt and started scratching with a vengeance. He then pulled his hand out, picked underneath his fingernails and flicked whatever it was that he found onto the floor of the bus. When we reached his stop, he made sure to touch every pole before exiting (this is why it’s important to always wash your bus hands).

Another time, I was sitting near a group of young girls in the back. They were laughing, being super cute and made me remember how fun and innocent middle school was. Then, a mother and her daughter stepped on the bus and worked their way towards the back to get some empty seats. The mother accidentally nudged the foot of one of the girls from the group with hers, and that’s when they all started screaming and cussing her out while she sat there silent and terrified the entire time. It actually got to the point where they were telling the lady’s daughter that her mom was an “ugly bitch” and they were going to throw her “old ass in front of the bus.”


Between these horrifying events, countless people shamelessly vomiting and the jars of urine rolling around underneath the seats, I’d have to say this bus line may have been invented by the devil himself. There are plenty of options to protect yourself, but the only way to truly prevent these experiences is 100% abstinence from the 38 Geary. I trust you’ll make the right decision.


  • ang

    hey, have u tried riding the 31?
    western addition AND TL.. match made in heaven.

  • I used to ride the 31. That shit was so fucked up it was magical.

  • Yes, the 31, good god I never knew how bad things could be until I rode the 31 home from work one night. But yeah, the 38, it can be your worst nightmare at times.

  • Helene

    I’d have to chime in and say the 31 is a bit more dirtier than the 38. At least the 38 skirts the TL…the 31 dives into the belly. I don’t necessarily feel safe until the 31 reaches Divisadero and Turk.

  • DT

    Heh, I’d rather take the 31 than the 38, and I do. It has been cleaner than the 38’s (which I occasionally hop for a short Avenues trip). 38 is nasty around Washington, the Junior High on 30th and Roosevelt. Way too many taggers.

    38 is dip central, especially around Van Ness & Polk by the giant methadone clinic. I won’t go to the movies there.

  • Greg

    Shocking, disgusting, abhorrent – who do these kids think they are? How did these kids learn to talk to somebody’s mom like that in front of her daughter! How would they feel if somebody talked to their mom like that? If that’s the way they act at home, they must come from a pretty ugly environment. I feel so sorry for that Mother and daughter! I had no idea the Devil himself designed the 38.

  • Ryan

    He most certainly did, and I’m pretty sure he was having a bad day when he came up with the plan.

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