I find it stressful being the navigator in a regular car, clarifying GPS-delayed directions from the tiny machine—is it the next turn or is it the next next turn? I might as well be guiding us through the solar system.
Now imagine trying to do the same for a bus, driving through San Francisco, with strangers who definitely aren’t on a fun road trip with you.
Well, imagine no more because it happened to Hayden Miller, who joined the Muni Diaries Live stage for the first time (and hopefully not the last) in April 2022. He might be in high school, but his expertise was known to a n00b Muni operator, who leaned on that knowhow for driving directions (seriously). All ended up in some…uncharted territory.
Listen to (or watch on the ol’ Muni Diaries YouTube) Hayden’s story:
It’s been a while since we brought you a tale from the stage, so we are extra thrilled to share a podcast episode featuring a story from Muni Diaries Live on April 7, 2022. Today’s episode features Muni operator (and Muni Haiku Battle alum) MC “Mack” Allen live from Rickshaw Stop, our first show back after our long pandemic winter.
We knew him from the Twitters as a transit fan and poet, but his love for the city and its transit system went above and beyond when he decided to become a Muni operator during the pandemic.
He jumped through many hoops to become a Muni operator (we think you’ll really enjoy the behind-the-scenes look into the journey), but MC had no idea what was yet to come. In mere weeks, he’d be briefing the entire Twitter universe about the ins and outs of driving Muni via a viral thread about the blockbuster movie, Shang-Chi. His star rising, SFGate called him the most famous bus driver in San Francisco, and we’re proud to have known him when.
We will absolutely squeeze as much mileage out of that joke as we can, sorry not sorry.
Almost exactly two years after canceling our 2020 show and thinking we might be up and running by the summer (LOL), we finally brought Muni Diaries Live back to the Rickshaw Stop last week. We celebrated our 14th (!) birthday with another sold-out crowd—no small feat after isolating ourselves for two years—and man, it felt great to hear stories in real life.
Our 14th (!) birthday is also a few days prior, and we can’t wait to celebrate another year of that transit life with all of you.
We’re forever changed from the last two years, and we don’t anticipate to cleanly pick up where we left off in 2020. Muni has always been a litmus test for what’s happening more broadly in San Francisco, and word in The San Francisco Chronicle is that ridership hasn’t returned to pre-pandemic levels. Furthermore, it’s unclear when it will. But people are still moving and shaking around this most dynamic town, and we’re here to celebrate that.
Per San Francisco guidelines, show will be vaxxed only. As of now, masks are no longer required indoors, but there is absolutely no shame in the mask game.
One of my favorite things about Muni Diaries is how naturally people share stories or “you won’t believe what happened” anecdotes. Sometimes those come in as longer write-ups or poignant images, but they’re often snack-size snapshots that sneak into our social feeds. From a reader on the Muni Diaries Facebook page:
One time I was super hungover trying to get home to the Sunset. I secretly puked in my own bag. I was only 2 stops away and didn’t feel like I could walk. I was almost there!!! (This was more than 10 years ago btw.)
I feel you, and I see you, reader. I also think this was the most polite option for all involved.
If you’ve cleared your last meal and are curious about how often this happens on Muni, listen to this podcast episode how it played out for Muni Diaries Live storyteller Kristee Ono, dig into our Muni vomit archive or come clean with a story of your own.
When we say “story,” it doesn’t have to be long, it doesn’t have to involve vomit, but it does have to be your own experience in this funny place we call home. Email email@example.com, or tag us @munidiaries on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.
Educator Kelly Gregor Hartlaub had been a librarian for some time until the pandemic hit, until she was suddenly called back to frontline classroom teaching, on Zoom, for distance learning. Her first task as a Zoom teacher? Sex education. Yikes.
But that wasn’t even the hardest part. In today’s podcast episode, Kelly shares the emotional, mental, and practical challenges of distance learning, how she and fellow teachers kept going, and how an English-learning student having an especially hard time helped her in kind.
We met Kelly a few years back, and here she is in the photo above (third from left), about to dig into a delicious burrito with some of San Francisco’s bloggerati (including Burrito Justice, Peter Hartlaub and Heather Knight from The San Francisco Chronicle and the Total SF project, and yours truly).
We’re always looking for stories about how San Francisco has changed and transformed you, whether it happened on Muni or off.
If you’ve been inspired by a story on our podcast or gone to one of our storytelling shows and imagined yourself on stage, we are here to help! Please email us your story idea at firstname.lastname@example.org, or tag us @munidiaries on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.