Muni Rider Roasting on the 24
Photo by Rick Audet
As I was riding the 24 home from work last week, two young men boarded the bus and immediately started sizing up the other riders in the back of the bus for potential roastability. Not finding enough meat for their roast they declared the bus “dry” as opposed to this morning’s selection which had been “wet.” This was a fairly incredible assessment, seeing as how the 24 is (always) stuffed to the gills with riders.
The roasters, doing their best with the available material, declared that “that dude there has a potato-head” (he didn’t). They then moved on to a young man who was listening to his ipod and had the luxury of pretending not to hear “look at this dude, he look like something out of mario brothers” (he didn’t). They then went on to mock his plain white t-shirt, cap and less than manicured fingers.
Meanwhile I’m feeling less and less comfortable, for the obvious reason that if unkempt nails were grounds for harassment, I could well be next. But mostly because I felt this was completely inappropriate. I mean, who does that? And why?
My stop was still three blocks away when I felt I could not handle it anymore. They had moved on to fresh meat, an older gentleman whose ear hair was somehow offending them (it wasn’t), when I vacated my seat. Clumsily and apologetically, I made my way to the front of the bus through the sea of fellow-riders. When I reached the front I reported to the driver that there were two young men harassing people in the back of the bus. The driver stood up and called to the back of the bus that they needed to “show some respect.” Feeling useless and edgy I then exited the 24, two stops early.
On my long walk home I thought of all the other ways the situation could have been handled. I had fantasies of rallying the other riders and declaring that we’re not going to take it! We’re all on the same bus here! We all have the right to a peaceful ride! Some of my less mature fantasies included roasting the aggressors: “your hair looks like bubble wrap!” and “if you’re lucky you might grow into those pants someday, son!” I digress.
Has anyone else witnessed a rider roasting? There must be a more effective way to handle it than to hassle the bus driver who is 20 ft and 30 people away….