Put a lid on it: Urban still-life on Muni

blue chairs Tostitos lid, missing jar

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.

In some Sliding Doors parallel universe, the lid meets the bowl of milk on Muni (seriously), the discarded durian, and the party is brought for real.

Have an important dispatch for your fellow riders? Muni Diaries only exists because of your stories and submissions, so tag us on FacebookInstagram, or Twitter with your finds or observations. Our email inbox (muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com) is always open, too.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T meets B-A-R-T after Aretha Franklin’s final concert in OAK


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.

Listen to her story:

Want more Muni Diaries podcast goodness? We’re having our first podcast event at the Betabrand Podcast Theater this Thursday, March 7, at 7 p.m.! Tickets on sale now.

Photo by @rj3

Lost in Chinese translation: Please Support the Door?

Nobody wants to be that person holding the door open and breaking Muni, alarm blaring, multiple pairs of eyes throwing daggers, so this is generally good advice.

But rider Dave on the Muni Diaries Facebook page noticed that something might be lost in translation on this sign. The Chinese translation of “Please do not hold the doors” actually reads, “Please do not support or help the doors.”

(Well, the door might need a little help in the form of riders collectively yelling “Step down!”)

Being Chinese-speaking myself, I think the word “扶” can also mean “to physically hold.” Could the translation also be interpreted as, “Please do not lean on the doors”?

Chinese-speaking riders, help us out: what should the sign really say?

Saw something noteworthy on your ride? Your fellow riders want to know! Add your commute story to Muni Diaries by tagging us on FacebookTwitterInstagram; or you can email us at muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com.

NSFW: “Good vibes” found at Muni stop

Every day is a new opportunity to find something left on Muni that’s truly weird, possibly gross, and definitely appealing to our inner 13-year-old humor. There’s that bowl of milk that someone abandoned on the bus, then there’s the friendly leopard left waiting at the Muni stop. Today’s find is of an intimate sort. On Twitter, rider Kiley (@kilodeer) hipped the SFMTA to this item left at the bus stop:

Hey @sfmta_muni@SF311, you might want to come collect the wiggling dildo someone left at Filmore and Jackson, outbound on the 22-Filmore. (Stop 14623) This is the most San Francisco thing ever. Also, I’m sorry. @munidiaries

Kiley tells the SFMTA that they should be glad she only posted a photo of this dildo and not the video. Well, here at Muni Diaries headquarters, we are not one to let opportunities pass us by! Kiley kindly sent us the actual video of said wiggling dildo. Behold and also NSFW and whatnot:

Read more

What happens when you skip school and take Muni as your escape vehicle

When you’re a kid skipping school, your parents are probably the last people that you’d want to run into. For one San Francisco kid, luck was not on her side. Storyteller Meaghan Mitchell is a native San Franciscan and news editor at Hoodline, which you can imagine gives her tons of local cred. In this week’s podcast episode, Meaghan shares a story of one really hard day at school and how it brought her to a familiar face on Muni.

Listen to her story:

As an essential part of living here, Muni is so often the backdrop of childhood memories for native San Franciscans, like this story from Yayne Abeba, whose mother often gave her and her siblings money to ride Muni as a way to get them out of the house.

If you liked the stories you’ve heard on our podcast, come see us live on March 7 at the Betabrand Podcast Theater! We will be bringing the podcasts live to you for the first time with a studio audience! Tickets are only $5 and on sale now.

An anonymous letter about the no good very bad year (and A+ Muni story)

You might remember storyteller Nuala Sawyer, News Editor at SF Weekly and haver of what most of us would agree was a pretty shit year back in 2013. She told the story on stage at Muni Diaries Live in November 2018, and it gave us not-so-surprise tears again when we added it to our podcast lineup recently.

The podcast episode ended up having an impact on an anonymous podcast listener, too. That person sent Nuala this handwritten letter to SF Weekly and, just when you think you’re out of Muni-related surprise tears…

“Thank you for telling it. Thank you for your honesty. Thank you for placing yourself in a vulnerable position with the man and with the audience of Muni Diaries. As you impressively seem to know, honesty and vulnerability change [sic] people—us as well as those around us,” the listener wrote. We couldn’t agree more, Listener. Thanks, Nuala, for sharing—in more ways than one.

Listen to Nuala’s podcast episode here.

Top photo by Right Angle Images; letter image courtesy Nuala Sawyer

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