Rules for Avoiding People on Public Transit

Photo by /\/\ichael Patric|{

Muni rider Charles alerted us to a recent study which lead Yale sociologist Esther Kim to establish the rules for avoiding strangers on public transportation. Color us intrigued.

Kim’s totally unsocial rules:

  • Avoid eye contact.
  • Lean against the window and stretch out your legs.
  • Sit on the aisle seat and listen to music to pretend not to hear people asking for the window seat.
  • Place a large bag or multiple items in the empty seat to make it time-consuming to move.
  • Look out the window with a blank stare to appear crazy.
  • Pretend to be asleep.
  • Put your coat on the seat to make it appear already taken.
  • If all else fails, lie: Say the seat has been taken by someone else.

While much of Kim’s research was done on long-distance bus rides, some of the same conditions apply to intra-city travel. And this rang all sorts of bells for us:

Kim found that the greatest unspoken rule of bus travel is that if other seats are available you shouldn’t sit next to someone else. As the passengers claimed, “It makes you look weird.”

Read more about Kim’s work, including what people tend to do when drivers announce a full bus, here.

How do you handle strangers on Muni and BART?

“My mother’s most memorable Muni story”

Photo by foggydave

100 Muni StoriesNot many (most?) of us can say that their mother took them around town on Muni when they were kids. Not so for one of our favorite Muni Diaries commenters, Dexter Wong. Take it away, Dexter:

My mother’s most memorable Muni story is that she was taking me to the doctor on the old B Geary streetcar (I was still a baby.) As we neared our stop, she picked me up (I was wrapped in a blanket) and walked toward the open door. A gust of wind came through it and blew the blanket open, revealing I was barefoot. An old lady noticed me and said loudly, “That baby must be cold!” My mother then covered me back up and got off, saying nothing, but feeling quite embarrassed.

Sweet stuff.

Linda calls for ‘organisation’ on the 22-Fillmore

Photo by Lynn Friedman

100 Muni StoriesThe “If I were God” game is a fun one. Linda played it recently on the 22-Fillmore, much to Timmie’s delight:

A reasonable request, however totally impossible. Esp. when it comes to Muni, amirite?

Reminder: You have until next Tuesday to submit your best Muni tales for the 100 Days, 100 Muni Stories feature. After that, we’ll consult with our pal Isaac Fitzgerald to determine who’s ball of yarn is the best — that one’ll be excerpted for bus ads on every Muni bus in town. Rad, we know.

No, but thanks for asking

Photo by John ‘K’

Sam had a noteworthy experience on Muni recently. On her Tumblr, she called this “Lady next to me on Muni.” Here’s what happened:

LADY: *something in a different language*
ME: I’m sorry, what?
LADY: *again in different language*
ME: What?
LADY: You don’t speak Ordu?
ME: No, I’m Iranian.
LADY: Oh.. are you Iranian Muslim?
ME: No, I’m not religious
LADY: …..
ME: …..
LADY: ……
she goes and sits somewhere else

Score one for honesty!

Charmed on the 17-Park Merced

Photo by kathleenma

100 Muni StoriesYou know when you see something cute, and it makes you wanna do funny things? It happened to @elissaANNtorres on Muni.

Cute dogs do it to me, though I doubt seriously I could get a dog to play patty cake with me.

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