We’ve known for 11 years (more if you count our pre-Muni Diaries days) that damn near anything can happen on public transit. Today’s story, told by Sureni Weerasekera, contrasts the magic of good juju on BART with a distinctly Bay Area brand of racism and othering.
Sureni was born in Sri Lanka, raised in San Diego, and is currently based in SF doing stand-up comedy, writing, and acting. She’s a contributing writer and actor for “Life of Trying” and runs two of Berkeley’s top comedy shows, “Pizza Party” and “Subhumans.” Follow her on Instagram @sureni, and check out her upcoming shows at: https://surenicomedy.com/.
Living in the city in which “Muni humper” incidents polluted our transit experiences not once (the first we were tipped off was in 2009), not twice (2017), but three times (2017 the sequel), I’m more than a little wary of crotch-to-shoulder distance. I’m also more than a little wary, full stop.
Japan, Mexico, and Brazil, among other nations, recognized this pervasive (and disgusting) problem and did something about it with women-only trains. In Osaka recently with girlfriends, I finally got to experience one of these myself—and it’s as good as I thought it would be.
In addition to beholding the wonder of trains running like clockwork, amid a culture that demonstrated an amazing level of public politeness and modesty, I appreciate the acknowledgement that the female experience on public transit —or at work, or in our home lives, or, or, or…—can be different in a bad way. Also them seats were heated and Hello Kitty is on the train car wrapper.
Our pre-show rehearsal is a necessary part of the live storytelling game—but it’s also a nice reminder of why we’re still collecting your stories about San Francisco commute life and, since 2017, of life all over this city we call home. We call the phenomenon surprise tears, where something universally true or poignant hits us all and then the eyes get stingy and we’re rooting around in our purse for tissue.
You’re in for a treat come Saturday. Get tickets today:
Muni Diaries Live (<- tix on Eventbrite) Sat., April 6 Doors: 5:30 pm Show: 6:30-8:30 pm
The Rickshaw Stop 155 Fell St (between Van Ness and Franklin)
Also! Today, April 3, is our 11th birthday: Thanks for coming along on the ride, however unpredictable and kooky it may have been, for all these years. We’d love to celebrate with you in our new home.
As it turns out, Chris is also the creator of these interactive street car maps. I think he deserves an award for being the transit fan of the month?
What are some of your favorite transit gear? Here are some of our past favs.
Hey, we have a live show coming up next Saturday, April 6! Maybe you’ll come and sport these fancy new pins? Muni Diaries Live is back at our new home, Rickshaw Stop in Hayes Valley. Get your tickets today!
Got important news for your fellow riders? Tag us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter with your dispatches. Our email inbox, email@example.com, is always open, too.
Tostitos apparently trademarked “Get Together Already” (a discussion for a different day), an imperative one Muni rider took to heart. One passenger on a 9-San Bruno was so keen on bringing the party, they left this lid and assorted snack detritus behind. Yes, it’s rude and messy, but this decidedly urban still-life gave me pause and I didn’t hate it.
Have an important dispatch for your fellow riders? Muni Diaries only exists because of your stories and submissions, so tag us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter with your finds or observations. Our email inbox (firstname.lastname@example.org) is always open, too.
Gwen Carmen is a cancer survivor and longtime teacher in the San Francisco Unified School District—but some of her best stories come straight off our own local transit. In this episode, Gwen tells a story about taking BART to see one of Aretha Franklin’s final performances at the Oakland Coliseum. On her journey home from the concert with a group of fellow riders, Gwen finds herself in the middle of a crime scene that brings the journey to a halt—but not the end.
You might remember Gwen from the live shows or from Episode 62 of this podcast, in which she told a story about serving sweet, sweet justice to a bus creeper while riding the 24.