Muni Mind Reader: Haight-Bus Punker and ‘Service Dog’

Haight Street
Photo by Flickr user Mat Honan

It’s summer. It’s hot. Muni Mind Reader took the week off last week. But never you fear — she’s back and in fine form this warm August Friday. For this installment, Tiffany (aka, Muni Mind Reader) checks in with that colorful character you sometimes see on the 6, 7, or 71. Any of the Haight Street lines, really. He or she is known by many names and aromas, but enough of this intro. Take it away, Mind Reader!

Hey, what are you all looking at? You’re all just a bunch of society-lovers, aren’t you? Oh I’ve seen this before. You look at my duct-taped pants, weather-beaten trench, and standard-issued Doc Martens, and think, “If only he’d shop at The Gap or Banana Republic, he’d be such a nice boy!”

Well, listen up SOCIETY, I refuse to conform to your capitalistic, material-obsessed, world. Lucky for you, I’m not going to try to sit next to any of y’all. Instead, I’ll just sit up front where I can spread out a little bit, have more space for this radio, trash bag filled with other trash bags, sleeping bag, tarp, and duffel bag. The last three items I just picked up from the army surplus store on Haight Street. Incidentally, it’s where I do all my shopping. These pants are really just second-hand army ACU pants. I added the duct tape myself to enhance durability, cred, and had absolutely nothing to do one Wednesday afternoon. If you’re going to be a middle-class, early-20s, homeless-by-choice punk in this city, freakin’ army surplus stores are the bomb.

This is my dog, Warrior. Come here War! We’ve been together a long time. I got her at the SPCA. Now, anyone who has tried to adopt a pet from an animal shelter can sympathize with me over the long-ass process. Originally, I lied and said I had a job, thinking the key to having a pet in this city is to prove you have daily responsibilities and income to provide for the health and well-being of my furry friend. But then they worried I’d be out of the house all the time. So then I fessed up. Hell no man, I don’t live in your conformist world. My job is to let passers-by know they are the enemy and my decision to live under a few bushes in Golden Gate Park is a passionate statement on what’s wrong with the world. That’s when everyone realized I’d be “home” all the time. She’s been really instrumental in helping me carry around all my belongings. That’s why she always gets free passage on Muni. Cuz she’s a SERVICE DOG! Haaa! Stupid society.

Nah, he ain’t got no muzzle. What the hell do you want me to do? Conform some of the time?

So I know you’re wondering why it is I don’t smell quite as bad as I usually do. Usually you can smell the potent blend of my urine, my dog’s urine, weed, BO, and compost before I even get on the bus. I saw you all look up horrified when you heard all the plastic I was carrying rustle. But then you thought, Well that’s weird, I don’t want to throw up in my mouth. FOOLED YOU! I had my monthly visit with the folks. STUPID PARENTS. Nah, I’m just kidding. I love ‘em, and even though it can be pretty embarrassing to be picked up by your parents in the Panhandle (especially when they show up in their vintage Mercedes-Benz) I think they’re proud of me. Yeah, we headed up to Sonoma for the weekend. I got to take a shower, wash my clothes. I gave Warrior a bath too. It’s real pretty up in Sonoma, have you ever been? YEAH YOU HAVE BECAUSE YOU ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM MY FRIEND!

All right, I’m ready to blow this joint. I promised my parents I’d at least fill out one college application today, though really, I’m just doing a 40 run for the kids at camp. Smell me later!

Muni Mind Reader: When f*&king BART goes on strike!

San Francisco - BART

It’s finally here. The long-threatened, much peanut-galleried BART strike is set to start Monday morning. Of course, for us Muni commuters, this really only means an influx of the unknowing, unaware, well-to-do BART commuter (stereotype much?). We’ll do well to welcome them with open arms. Well, maybe not. Just be nice. Don’t bite. Tiffany Maleshefski, aka Muni Mind Reader, homes in on what it must be like for this odd creature: the reluctant BART rider on Muni.

WTF? I wish when I decided to go on strike I had the ability to fuck with the lives of tens of thousands of people. But I don’t. And just because BART is finally going through on its threats to screw us all over for a couple of days, doesn’t mean I get to go on strike too. See, I’d just get fired, or my boss would tell me to get my ass on the closest Muni bus I can find…and fast.

Which is exactly what I’m doing. Finding the closest Muni bus. That’s a doable request. Can I find one fast? Probably not. Why? Because I’ve been waiting here for freakin’ 14 minutes, and every time the clock ticks down to 8 minutes, the goddamn NextBus sign bumps it back up to 10 or 12. PLUS, who the HELL schedules buses to come every 15 minutes at 8:30 a.m??? Hello Muni wunderkinds, this is peak commuting time. Hmmmph. BART would’ve had me to work by now.

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Muni Mind Reader is on vacation

road to vacation
Photo by Flickr user m o d e

Perhaps she’s in some other town, riding its public transit and acting like The Tourist? Either way, Tiffany’s not around this week. All that thought-penetration (ha!) took its toll, and we gave her the week off. Check back next Friday, though, when the Muni Mind Reader will be right back at it, spilling forth all the delicious and disgusting mind-conversations of her next subject.

Muni Mind Reader: Aisle-Seat Squatter

aisle-seat-hogAfter a brief hiatus (we gave her the week off for Riders With Drinks), Tiffany Maleshefski, aka Muni Mind Reader, is back. This week, she peers inside the synapses of that odd creature who, often no matter how soon their stop is, refuses to scoot over to the window seat.

Yes, I understand it’s a little odd. You’d think that the opportunity to have a view, fresh air, and to have a place to lean your head when you’re sleepy would be an ideal situation for riding the bus. But, I just can’t do it, OK? I can’t sit in the seat near the window.

So regardless of how crowded it might get … no matter how much hate-beams you direct my way, I am NOT going to move over. I’m just not. EVER. Deal with it!

I realize it would be a perfectly easy enough task. I’d slide over so no one had to make a big scene fumbling over legs and knees and worrying about your bags sliding off your shoulder and hitting people in the face. But what you’re forgetting is what happens when you sit down and I am getting off at a stop that’s before yours. Then what do we do? Are you just going to get up and let me out?

Sure, I’ve seen this sort of consideration played out. But sometimes it just doesn’t happen. I sat near the window once. Just once. It was my stop, I had waited a little bit longer than usual to prepare my exit at the next stop. Before I knew it, the doors had opened and people were filing out and I was STILL at the window, collecting my bags, and the person in the aisle seat didn’t even realize what was happening. I nearly knocked them over as they stood up to let me through, and THEN … the BACK DOORS CLOSED! I had to yell, “Back door! Back door!” Eventually, the doors opened again and I was able to exit. But from that day forward, I swore, may God strike me dead, that I would NEVER stay from the aisle seat. Ever. God, I still have nightmares about that shit.

So, no matter what. Even if it’s a bus with standing-room only.

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Muni Mind Reader: The Bigot

The Shouting Balloon Finally BurstThis week’s crystal-ball installment of Muni Mind Reader channels a voice that you might have heard before on the bus — the opinionated bigot who loves to spew his spiel on the unlucky bus rider next to him. For the grouch, there is no “inside voice” and the Muni bus is his perfect soapbox where you have no escape. Well, not until your stop comes up anyway.

Good afternoon!

You look like a fine, upstanding citizen, one with a sound mind and solid principles. I am just certain you won’t mind if I drop a little of  my hate-filled agenda on you. In fact, I have no doubts whatsoever that you are 100 percent in agreement.

Now don’t you say anything at all. I know a person by just looking at them what they’re thinking and what they’re all about. And well, the second I got on the bus, I just knew you were on the same page as me. Can’t put my finger exactly on it. Maybe it’s because you smiled at me or moved your bags off the seat next to you so I could sit down.

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Two-Seat-Takin’, Big-Balls-Havin’ Guy, in Photos

Since time immemorial, we’ve known about his type. Recently, Muni Mind Reader Tiffany Maleshefski paid tribute to him — he who takes up more than one seat on Muni solely by virtue of being well-endowed in the genital region (we suspect, rather flatteringly).

Well, Tiffany did us all the favor of capturing some images of this unfortunately not-so-rare species. For your enjoyment, watch as this man’s leg migrates ever closer to Tiffany’s lap. A note from Tiffany: “My leg is the brown trouser pant. You’ll note we are not dating and don’t know each other at all. Yet he is perfectly comfortable having his legs in my personal space.”

More photos of this progression below the fold …


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