Why you can’t sit under her umbrella

Photo by @cyclones01

Last week, we featured a photo of a woman who had opened her umbrella on a crowded Muni Metro LRV. Shortly after posting, we tracked down the story behind this mischief. Muni rider Katie has the details.

That black umbrella was not deployed to deflect rain from Muni’s leaking tunnels or even to stave off the threat of being sucked out an open door in the tunnel. It was there to separate a woman and her feet from the likes of me.

When I jumped on the crowded N-Judah that day, some lady was loudly spewing expletives and insults nearby. Since this is nearly a daily occurrence on Muni, it wouldn’t have likely captured my attention except I happened to notice she was directing them at this nice but distressed looking white-haired old man sitting nearby.

“You don’t even know what you’re doing to my feet,” she told him, her voice soaked in vitriol. “I hope someone murders you, you asshole. I hope someone kills you. You don’t deserve to be alive after what you’re doing to my feet.”

The woman had both of her feet propped up on the seat in front of her, and the little old man had apparently sat next to them in one of the seats reserved for disabled and seniors, a demographic he clearly fit into, and her feet clearly did not.

The man averted his eyes, perplexed and upset at this exchange. I gave him what I hoped was a sympathetic smile.

That’s when she laid into me. “I saw you smile at him! Don’t go smiling at him!”

She sneered at me.

“You don’t even know what he’s doing to my feet. You don’t know anything, you bitch. I hope someone rapes you, and somebody else hears it but just thinks you’re having sex so they don’t help you. That would be the equivalent of what he’s doing to my feet.”

I giggled, impressed by her creativity and specificity. That did not please homeless foot lady. She haughtily pulled a giant black umbrella out of one of her bags, opened it and held it between us so she wouldn’t have to look at me or the old man anymore.

The old man got off after a while but the umbrella stayed up all the way to Powell. At that point, a crowd separated us but she peered angrily at me from her seat when she could get a glimpse of me.

I smiled back.

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