The 49 From Hell
Having put in a good 6-mile walk the day before, I decided I would take it easy today. Ha! What should have been a leisurely jaunt ended up being a 5-mile forced march.
I decided I would take a trip down memory lane and go down to Fisherman’s Wharf and the place where, in 1971, I worked as a teenager — Cost Plus Imports.
After checking the bus schedule, I decided to take the 22 to Mission and 16th and then catch a 49-Van Ness. The 49 runs every 10 minutes, so the wait would be short.
I got to 16th and Mission without incident.
I waited as 10 minutes went by and no 49 bus. Then 15 minutes, then 20. By now, an obviously impatient crowd was gathering and constantly looking down the street for the 49. One woman tried hailing a cab with no results and then got back up on the curb and started her wait again.
Elvis, seen above, seemed to be taunting me as I impatiently waited for the 49 to arrive.
While waiting I had the pleasure of being harangued by some crazy woman who accused me of being a cop and there was a constant parade of the unwashed masses going by the bus stop. I had never had the pleasure of waiting for a half hour at a Mission and 16th bus stop before. What fun!
Finally, the 49 came and it was already packed. We crammed our way into the smelly, stifling sardine can of humanity and all clung on for dear life as the bus lurched back into traffic. I was flanked by a woman holding her nose, a guy on a scooter in the handicapped slot, and some poor slob who was trying to manage a large heavy box on his shoulders while trying to hold on.
Meanwhile, some lunatic was hurling disparaging remarks punctuated with expletives at the bus driver while a woman next to him gave him crap about it. With each stop it got worse as more and more people jammed themselves onto the bus. By now it was like a sweat bath. Yummy.
Finally, the driver stopped taking more passengers (there was another 49 bus just a block behind us). At Geary Street half the bus emptied out and I got to sit down for the remaining four blocks of the ride. I got off at California with a great sigh of relief and relished the cool breeze. What a ride. Thank god I don’t have to endure this on regular basis like many of these hapless souls. Jeezus…
Excerpted from Epic Road Trips.