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.

Photo diary: Furry little face

Ed at BART Don’t Lie says:

Ok, technically this was taken on Muni, but as I consider it the slightly troubled sister of my beloved BART I’m going to allow it. Besides, lookit that little guy’s furry little face. Adorable. Also, on this same train … a guy threw down his book in disgust and stomped off the train at the next stop. It was some beat up paperback copy of a sci-fi novel… I wonder what pissed him off so much?

Seen something fun, funny, or furry on Muni? Send it our way, please.

A Party on the Delayed 33-Stanyan Outbound

full-bus says my bus arrives in 18 minutes and the next one comes in 32 minutes. Next I check it’s 9 minutes and 23. Then the ETA jumps up to 12/18…then 13/16…and finally 4/4. By the time I get to my stop, both buses are pulling in together. Just another typical morning waiting for the 33 in Upper Haight.

I hop on the first one, frustrated that yet again it would have been faster to drive. The bus driver apologizes, saying the two buses that were supposed to be in front of hers aren’t running today. Then she offers me my choice of wrapped candy from a dish by the fare machine and for the first time I actually look around at bus 2442 driven by Tammy.

It’s like a Fourth of July party inside Tammy’s bus. There are red white and blue streamers, balloons, coils that say “happy,” banners and party lanterns hanging from the railings. Large handwritten posters adorn the windows thanking her riders and spouting truths such as “Until Muni realizes that without our passengers there’s no Muni!” and pretty much everyone has a smile on their face.

As I sit in the bus watching new passengers board, I witness a Muni miracle: a sea of frowns turn into big grins as people enter and see what awaits them. I overhear nearly every newcomer commenting on the scene to either Tammy or their fellow straphangers. “How cool is this,” they ponder aloud. “Is this for Mother’s day?” “Is someone retiring?” “I can’t believe I got candy.” Even the woman on her cell phone discussing how her doctor just found a lump in her breast seemed upbeat, enjoying her Tootsie-Roll lollipop with her lips curled up from ear to ear.

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Weekend Photos: Munimals

Photo by blarfiejandro

I swear I’m not going all Anne Geddes on you (for the record I think that woman’s disturbed), but I can’t help it — I’m a sucker for dogs and cats. These cuties are certainly a reprieve after this week’s Muni news:

– Drivers overwhelm March Against Muni (SFWeekly)
– For a minute there it was close, but MTA Board takes more service cuts and fees for transfers off the table (StreetsBlog SF)
– SF Chronicle has an editorial about SPUR’s alternative budget proposal: “SPUR has made a good-faith effort to advance the discussion. There is plenty to hate in its package, but it is certainly preferable to an unthinking across-the-board service.”
– The Chronicle also reports that “public anger over Muni grows.” Uh, duh.
– Accidents: the 5-Fulton hits bicyclist and keeps going. M-Ocean View hits pedestrian Thursday (SFAppeal)
– State Legislature could restore millions in funding to MTA (StreetsBlog SF)

Tomorrow is the Muni Summit (reports the Examiner) at 8:15 a.m. at the Women’s Building in the Mission.

Enjoy your weekend!

Photo by Flickr user engnr_chik

Well heeled rover on the J line
Photo by Flickr user pamalamadag

A beagle on Muni?
Photo by Flickr user azza-bazoo

365 Animals #42
Photo by Flickr user pup ajax

Obit-lette: 38-Geary Ocean Beach

38 Geary Ocean Beach
Photo by Flickr user Jeremy Brooks

100 Muni StoriesIn 2009, several Muni lines got the axe. To further anthropomorphize our city transit system — and to be a bit silly about the cuts — we solicited Muni obituaries from our readers. We learned San Franciscans were more attached to their pet lines than we ever imagined, not just because of proximity or convenience. This part of Sara’s writeup, in its entirety below, says it all for me: “For me and my husband, that turn means we’re going home.”

The 38-Geary Ocean Beach was eliminated over the weekend along with other route segments. Here’s Sara’s obituary for it.

So we took what is probably our last ride on the 38 Geary Ocean Beach line Friday night — even waited a few extra moments in the dark and cold on Geary for it, turning our noses up at an earlier bus so that we could experience that heart-warming turn off at 33rd Avenue one last time. For me and my husband, that turn means we’re going home.

I suspect a lot of Geary riders hardly knew the Ocean Beach branch line existed, or if they did it was just as that annoying occasional bus that would suddenly and inexplicably turn off of Geary, just as they were approaching the end of the line. There was always a confused scramble for the exits just after the turn as riders found themselves suddenly traveling what they obviously thought was the wrong way. And inevitably, one old guy asking plaintively “Hey, does this bus go to the VA Hospital?”

It was my favorite bus line though, because it ran right by my front door on Balboa and carried me to and from all the busy spots on Geary where I needed to be. Also, it effectively doubled the bus service on what will now be a very quiet and poorly served residential stretch of Balboa. That especially matters to me because I work a late shift downtown, and there will now be fewer options and longer waits at midnight on Market street. Standing there under the streetlight with the other late-night stragglers, I always felt like I’d hit the jackpot when I saw the “Ocean Beach” sign on the front of the approaching bus.

Sure there is a Balboa bus, but it’s not terribly frequent. As Muni helpfully points out, I can take the regular Geary bus or the Fulton– only two blocks in either direction from Balboa– but they neglect to mention the fairly daunting hills involved or the size of those blocks. And I guess now they’re offering the rather piss-poor alternative of getting off the Geary at 33rd and waiting for an infrequent 18 bus to show up and take you down Balboa. But change buses to travel 10 blocks, and at midnight no less? No.

I was pleased to see another reader eulogize this line last week, because I figured nobody else cares. I’m well aware that my desire to see it continue is pretty selfish — I was often the only rider left by the time we reached my stop. But nevertheless, I’m going to miss you, 38 Ocean Beach.

Read last week’s eulogy for the 38-Geary Ocean Beach here.

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