Eugenia Chien has been eavesdropping on the 47, 49, or 1 lines since the mid-90's. She lives by the adage, "Anything can happen on Muni" (and also, "That's not water.")
You know what makes me sad? Seeing those pairs of iron trolley rails on various city streets and discovering that they don’t go anywhere.
For example, at the Transbay Terminal — there’s a set of Muni trolley rails on the bus pad. Follow them with your eyes to Fremont Street, only to find they’ve been paved over. Nobody’s using those anymore.
While there are still a number of remnants like that above ground throughout The City, I’ll bet there’s plenty more that have been torn up and/or buried under asphalt.
When I went to the Railway Museum, I learned that the city used to have many, many more trolley lines, but with time most of them were replaced with buses. I find the trolleys so much more pleasant than buses. Drivers get out of their way more often. They don’t wallow back and forth and make you seasick. And, for some reason, they seem less smelly and more enjoyable. Maybe it’s because I’m a rail freak, you never know, but part of me wishes they’d go back to more trolleys, fewer buses.
At any rate, I don’t have a comprehensive mental map of all those rail-bits I’ve seen all over The City. But I get excited when I spot them, and then feel deflated when I realize that that 100 feet of track are all that remain of someone’s daily commuter route, or perhaps the first streetcar ride they ever took in San Francisco.
— Beth W.
Beth is a reporter and author. And rail junkie.
I had a surprisingly pleasant Muni experience on the way to work yesterday, only because it went beyond my expectations. As I believe I’ve said before, I have a good Muni location, I walk down from the Lower Haight to Church and Duboce, give a quick glance for any incoming N-Judahs or J-Churches, and if I don’t see one, I continue down to Church Street Station and try my luck at an L, M or the dreaded K/T whatever the hell it is. I say dreaded because it is usually only one car, and even though it technically begins just one station away at Castro Street, it is usually packed to the gills. I guess that’s because it’s also a K, and has come all the way from Balboa Street Station. Anyway, when I got down to Church Street Station on Monday I was immediately disheartened because on the incoming train monitor I saw a one-car K was the only train coming. I said to myself, “I guess I’ll be standing all nice and intimate all the way to Powell Street today.” But, I was wrong, for the first time ever on my way to work and since the T was introduced, the train was sparsely populated, well air-conditioned and hauled ass downtown. Just want to give Muni props, that although it seems like you can and should only expect the worst, sometimes Muni doesn’t screw you. You have to enjoy it when it happens.
Rob Nagle works at a free San Francisco daily newspaper that has been sprucing up its Web presence.
While waiting for the 38-Geary at the end of a beautiful sunny day, a young man with a professional-looking (read: big lens! Nikon neck strap! Looks professional to me!) camera complimented me on my sandals. Little did he know that I overspent on these snappy little gold shoes and am constantly justifying to myself about their existence in my closet.
Thank you, photographer guy! You made my day, and when I got home and logged onto my computer, I found that the same pair of sandals is now on sale in a different color. Guess what I bought?
– Eugenia, helping the American economy, one pair of shoes at a time.
A Muni ride puts you in much closer proximity with our city’s less fortunate – instead of just walking over yet another homeless person huddled in a blanket or ignoring yet another outstretched hand for spare change, a Muni ride makes you look at people in the eye. Or does it?
I was on the 38-Geary on Sunday when a older man wearing a trench coat got onboard. He sat across from a toddler bouncing on her mom’s lap, and the next thing I know, the man started singing a pretty, soulful tune to the little girl. “The girl of my dreams…ain’t no mountain too high…nothing can keep us apart.” “You know what I’m talking about,” he says to no one in particular.
He rambles on and tells the bus that his name is Fillmore Holmes (“That’s right. That’s my real name.”) and sings right in front of Virgin Records downtown. “My last show is on August 23! Are y’all going to come see me at my last show?”
So I was riding the J-Church on Friday to my chiropractor’s office and there was an empty seat next to mine. I was listening to something on my iPod — heavy metal probably — at some incredibly loud volume, as I am wont to do.
A family got on, and their son, who I’m guessing was about 10-12, sat down next to me. He turned toward me and I figured he was just looking out the window. But then I realized he had opened his mouth.
I pulled out my earbuds and said, “Sorry, what?”
“Hello!” he said. He was adorable — blond, blue-eyed, pint-sized glasses, dressed casually.
“Hi,” I said, in a genuinely friendly way, and then went back to my introspective rocking out.
About two seconds later, I thought to myself: Doesn’t it just figure, the first time a cute boy says hello to me on the train, he’s prepubescent?
And then he got up and went to sit somewhere else. Hmph.
— Beth W.
Beth loves the J-Church, hates being hit on by strangers, and yet secretly wonders why it never happens to her.
It was a majestic morning in Diamond Heights and my sweetheart was going to ride Muni to downtown with me. We walked holding hands to Castro and Market and decided to take the F because it was, well, more romantic. It would be ten times slower than hoping on underground, but this way we could stay together a little longer on those charming, rickety old wooden seats. We’d able to see the sun and watch the world go by. Obviously we had forgotten all about Civic Center and what riding Muni really means.
Therefore, innocently and blissfully we got on at the start of the F line and headed to the very back of the train. Little did we know that our lovebird strategy placed us in the best seats in the house to witness a spectacle of alcoholic love so deeply poetic and profound it changed the way we thought about love forever.