From the driver’s seat: ‘Sometimes I Miss Driving Muni’

Ed. note: A reader who calls himself Trolleypup and tells us that he works as a Muni supervisor shares his perspective on what it takes to “have happy people instead of cranky people,” especially on Halloween. He even sent us a picture of his train decked out in Halloween fun. – Eugenia

As a supervisor, I describe the job as “Less Stress, Less Fun!”

Not that operating buses and streetcars for Muni is a bowl of cherries all the time, but sometimes you can make your own and others’ day.

So, Halloween: a night that one tries to avoid being out in the mayhem, unless you can be part of it! My schedule request for Halloween was always “Late finish NIGHTS, if not available, early finish DAYS.” And if I got a late night run, I would decorate my bus and wear a costume (adding bits to the uniform, anyway).

One night, I was doing the Halloween Shuttle in the subway — two-car train, back and forth. I had decorated my train in each cab with electric pumpkins, Halloween lights, custom head signs, with me in some sort of costume, Halloween music, and sound effects over the PA. By the end of the night, I was the ONLY shuttle train that without some sort of incident to write up.

Sometimes it just takes a little bit of work to have happy people instead of cranky people. And on an extremely crowded train, that can make all the difference.

Muni Playlist: From Joe Jackson to Flight of the Conchords

Music Friends
Photo by WarzauWynn

Last week, we brought you the A-Side of our second Muni Playlist (see the first Muni playlist, from November 2009). As promised, today we bring you the so-called B-Side. There’s no reason to think these tracks are any less awesome than last week’s; there were simply too many excellent submissions of readers’ choice Muni-riding tunes to fit into a single playlist.

So here they are, the tracks you guys are listening to. We hope you enjoy checking out what your fellow Muni riders are listening to as much as we enjoy discovering and reporting it.

  • JimmyD This morning: ‘Role Models,’ written and read by John Waters. Brilliant! (we couldn’t find this on YouTube, so we substituted an interview with the always-entertaining Waters. -eds.)
  • smallerdemon: I tend to [listen] to podcast[s] unless there’s some specific thing I need to drown out with guitars and drums going on. SModcast, Tell’em SteveDave, Mysterious Universe, The Philosopher’s Zone, The Bugle.
  • Pappu: during my morning commute, Bollywood bhangra type songs; Bon Iver; that Lady Antebellum song, “Need You Now”– being single during Pride is not fun.
  • Francesca: This morning – “Business Time” by Flight of the Conchords!
  • Jazee I am listening to Joe Jackson. (Perhaps betraying our age, we took the liberty of choosing “Stepping Out” as the Joe Jackson track. -eds)
  • Ben: New Blitzen Trapper Album.

Enjoy, and let us know what you are listening to on Muni:

Muni Playlist: From Kanye to Kerouac

SF Muni
Photo by laughlin

Early last week, we asked you what you were listening to on Muni. We can’t help it: we want to know what’s emanating from those sexy earbuds you’ve got in there, drowning out the noise around you as you slip into your own private headspace.

Today’s playlist is the A side, if you will, of the musical selections you sent us via comments and tweets. The B side (in no way inferior to this one) drops next week. Stay tuned. In the meantime, check out what your fellow Muni riders are rocking out to. Here they are, in their own words:

  • @anniebanannie kanye west (we took the liberty of choosing “Heartless”)
  • @revunderpants #Pavement! (we chose “Gold Soundz”)
  • @tonyriggins Jeezy “Put On” … for my city. Perfect for people watching on the Embarcadero
  • Lola LCD Soundsystem (This is Happening), Massive Attack (Heligoland), Matt and Kim (Grand), and Broken Social Scene (Forgiveness Rock Record)
  • Dancing Penguin Dog&Panther – Love Make // The Sweet Serenades – Die Young // Neon Walrus – We Don’t Matter // We Are Enfant Terrible – Seagull // Bonaparte – My Body is a Battlefield // MNDR – I go away…
  • Andrea My morning entertainment this morning was . . . Blues and Haikus – from Jack Kerouac, Al Cohn and Zoot Zims.
  • Sam “Bulletproof” by La Roux

For your listening (and possibly viewing, if you’ve got that kind of time in your day) pleasure, we’ve created another Muni Playlist on YouTube. Enjoy!

Want another soundtrack from the bus? Check out last fall’s Muni playlist,

Marrying the woman I met on the 22-Fillmore

Rider Eric W. shares his story of why he’s extremely thankful to Muni for being an excellent matchmaker.

It’s spring 2001. It just rained like hell the night before and I’m late for work.. as usual. I grab the 1-California from Nob Hill to Fillmore, where I catch the 22 to the Marina.. that’s where I’m working; just behind the Marina Safeway. The busses are filled with cranky, wet, smelly people. I’ve just finished a slew of relationships, and have finally reached the conclusion that I’m just not the type to have a “steady.”

I’m a musician and an audio engineer. My work, my life, my schedule (for christ’s sake!) is loopy. I am what I am, and it just doesn’t seem to jive with anybody else. It took a while, but I’m just now feeling OK with it. You know the feeling… SO!

I’m standing on Fillmore at Sac, surrounded by numerous Chinese shoppers on their way back to the Richmond (I say that because I’m over 6 feet…. let’s just say that I’m sticking out) when the 22 arrives… finally. I get on… finally… and see the most amazingly beautiful woman ever… in… my… life!

Well, did I forget to mention how late I was? No shower, no coffee… not my best impression. All the lilliputians enter into the bus, there are seats in the back, but, I decide to stand next to her. I’m not thinking clearly yet… so I got nothin’. Big zero. I’m standing there on the lurch-and-puke that is the 1-California, and the woman sitting next to Her gets off…. then – she looks up at me and moves to the inside chair… holy #h&*! What to do?!?!

So I sit next to her… “sit next to her idiot!” I tell myself. Well, I don’t want to seem like a fool so I hold my paper out in front of me (turns out that it was upside down). I can’t stop staring at her hands.. they are long and sleek, so beautiful.. plus I can’t just stare directly at her, that would be rude.

No, I haven’t said a word yet.

So the bus goes down the hill and prepares to turn right onto Union, SHE shuffles her stuff and I think she’s going to get off at the corner, so I stand up all gentleman-y (I’m getting stupider and stupider) and she gets off the bus.

NOW…. in my head is a conversation, more of a scolding really, “you idiot! You didn’t even say hello! Say something! Who cares if she laughs at you, at least you’ll be able to look yourself in the mirror and know that you tried!” Good point. Of course by now she’s left the bus.
So I stay standing, watching her. Yea… here’s my plan…. see which store she goes into, then come back over lunch and “just” happen to go into the same store… brilliant! (Idiot)

But then something happens. As the bus is progressing along Union she looks back at me… and sees me staring at her…. then I see her laugh to herself! She saw me! She wasn’t creeped out! Holy s#*t! OK OK. Here’s my plan. I sometimes get off at the corner, by the Coffee Roastery, and get coffee… ahhhh coffee.. did I mention? Hadn’t had any yet. SO! I’ll get off and get coffee, then just “happen” to come out at just the time she walks by and…. Perfect plan. (Idiot)

Well, others seem to have not had their daily dose yet. The line is too long… this is taking too long! I’m looking out the window to she if she’s coming, then she comes into the Roastery! Damn! Now what?! (Idiot)

So my new plan (Idiot) is to take a long time putting cream into my coffee aaaaannnnd… she gets hers and is there at the cream and sugar station in a flash. (Damn!)

So in my head is a conversation… “Just say something you moron! What’s the worst that could happen? Your life already sucks!” Good point.
So in my best cool-as-Steve McQueen-manner I say “Hello. I saw you on the bus, and I don’t usually do things like this, but I just thought… would you like to have coffee some time?”

We are both standing there.
With coffee in our hands.
That was my best line.

Luckily for me, she thought I was funny and charming enough to give me her phone number…. (oh wait it gets better) BUT… I had just purchased a brand new Palm pilot. The first generation. Didn’t know how to use it yet. Had no pen or pencil. Yea…. (Idiot!) She uses a pen of her own and writes her number down on a napkin (God I feel like a moron right now) and agrees.

Well, do I wait the requisite 3 days (or whatever the f#c&), no! I had concert tickets for that weekend, (don’t remember what show). So I call her that evening… and the next day…. and the next day…. and the next day… (Idiot!) I say to myself I’ll try one more time, if she doesn’t return my call, at least I’ll be able to look myself in the mirror and know that I tried.


Well, we finally connected and eventually got married! But here’s the funny. The day in the Roastery. She had just gotten a new cell phone. Didn’t know how to retrieve messages. Actually, didn’t even know that there were messages to be retrieved, as she hadn’t read the manual. So, one of my calls woke her up one afternoon and sent her on a frenzy to find the manual. New technology is not always the answer, as it turns out. Anyway… she is wonderful, and found my clumsiness charming enough to give me a chance and now we are going on 9 years…. I never thought I’d say this, but, thank you Muni.

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