With the Tales of the City show on Netflix and the Pride flags up on Market Street, we’ve got chosen family on the brain: the people you find by circumstance, often in pivotal times in your life, whom you end up keeping by choice.
On the podcast today, we have musician Colin Daly—incidentally among my own chosen family—who stopped by the studio to share a timely retelling and ode to his time at Camp Folsom: where a room in the Mission was only $300 and life lessons—about money, community, heartbreak, and learning to be a grownup—were included in the rent.
San Francisco Diaries, and our original project, Muni Diaries, are made of your stories and everyone’s experiences. Submit your own tale from the city by emailing us at email@example.com, or tag us on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook @munidiaries.
Pic courtesy of Brandy, upper left. Colin is in the foreground, and Meghan is behind him.
Rider Adrian Covert casually mentioned on Twitter the other day that he “drove the N-Judah once.” The driver actually invited him into the cockpit, he says. So, of course, we chased him down for the story.
Here’s Adrian’s tale:
I was about a block away from the N-Judah stop at 9th/Irving when I saw that I just missed the train. I was bummed at first, until I heard another train pulling behind it (as often happens with the N). I started running…
The train pulled to a stop just as I was running across the street. The driver, however, refused to open the door. Following a nightmare week of nightmare Muni service, I stepped in front of the train, and told the driver I wouldn’t budge until he opened the door.
He opened the door and I sat right next to him so that I could vent. He then asked, “Sir, what train is this?” I replied this was the N-Judah, and that I hated Muni. He asked again, and pointed to the sign, which read “Train out of service. Sorry, No Passengers.”
I looked around and noticed I was the only person on the train. I accepted that this was my bad, and apologized for being an ass. He said that what most worried him most was how I ran in front of the train at the intersection. He talked about how long it took trains to stop.
When we arrived at the entrance of the Carl & Cole Tunnel, he stopped the train, stepped out of the driver area (cockpit?) and asked if I wanted to drive the train. “Are you serious?” I asked. “F*ck yeah I want to drive the train.”
I sat in the driver seat, and he showed me the kill switches and levers. He said, “I want you to take the train to top speed, and then slam the brakes so you can see how long it takes to stop.” He mentioned this tunnel was safe, in that it was straight without any switches.
I took it to about 40 mph, and slammed the brakes. Took about a hundred yards to come to a complete stop, still in the tunnel. His point made, he then retook the “wheel” and let me sit in the control room with him until I got off at my stop.
We’re so glad Adrian took the driver up on his offer.
Underground (not literally but figuratively) Muni? Muni after dark? Whatever you call this genre, we want to know about it. In the same vein, Muni Diaries’ own Tara once got a private ride on an off-duty 49, straight-chillin’, cigarette-smoking operator and all. If anyone deserved it, this person did. (More than a decade later, she’s still not naming names.)
Muni Diaries is made of your stories, whether you’re in the driver’s seat or not! Submit your own tale on the bus by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or tag us on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook @munidiaries.
Carnaval this weekend offered up plenty of antidote for those of us tired of the “San Francisco is doomed/losing its soul/breaking your heart” meme. Our favorite is this group of young people who decided to turn their love for San Francisco up to 11. Not only did they dress up as old-school Muni transfers, they are also walking on stilts because, why not?
From the video, it looks like there is also a 14-Mission bus in costume at the parade. We would have loved to be a fly on the wall during the planning of this costume idea.
Thank you Rene and Cara on Twitter for pointing us to this latest ode to public transit! It’s certainly not the first bit of Muni transfer love we’ve gotten over the years. Alongside its Fast Pass cousin, the transfer is a well-established piece of transit ephemera, tattoo subject (the barometer for truly making it into the cultural canon around here), and source of existential outrage when news came about its environmentally necessary end.
Got other important news for your fellow riders? Tag us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Our email inbox, email@example.com, is always open, too.
Storyteller Kathleen Auterio is a longtime Mission resident who got along famously with rival groups staking their claims in the neighborhood—an affable quality that came in handy when she and fellow passengers on the 49 got caught in the crosshairs of a potential firefight.
Everyone drops to the ground with their faces against the Muni floor (ew!), and the typically unflappable Mission expert describes how she handled the tough situation alongside her neighbors.