Tag Archives: lolz

Where the Muni Buses Sleep at Night

Muni busses at nightMuni buses are the red blood cells of San Francisco, which makes the people the oxygen. The Mission is probably the city’s belly, and Oakland is its liver.

To most people, the buses are ordinary vehicles of public transit, purely utilitarian pieces of equipment with no other purpose besides shifting around the city’s biomass.

But I like to believe the Muni buses have a life of their own, that they think their own thoughts and maybe have crushes on the other bus lines (the 38L is pretty cute), that they have worries and fears and hopes and dreams and that maybe when they grow up, they want to be something like astronauts or ballerinas or social workers and preschool teachers.

They spend all day giving up their bodies to the abuse of a city with many hills, wierdos, fruits, and lots and lots of kale. They ferry the humans and their pets around daily, with some also taking on responsibility for the nighttime people, an entirely different breed. They worry about doing their duties properly, about the weird guy in back bothering their patrons, about their Muni operator who seems to be having a bad day. Just like everyone else, they want to get to where they’re going and want to know that they’ll be safe on the way home at night.

The Muni bus is a social creature, and depends on interaction with others of its kind for personal fulfillment. They greet each other in the streets as they pass, tell each other jokes through the electrical wires and share stories about the crazy and wonderful things that happened to them during the day and at night. They race each other and comment on the quality and personality of other buses’ patrons and on whether or not anyone said thank-you to the operator.

And at night, they all go to the same parking lot, except for the ones out taking care of the night walkers, and they cuddle up together. For a while, as everyone’s arriving there’s plenty of chatter and asking about what the other ate during the day and what did you do and how is your back pain or your friend doing. But then everyone settles into their rows, and the chatter gets quieter, and it’s about deeper concerns and worries. “I just don’t know what to do.” “You can tell me anything.” “I don’t know how to tell her I don’t love her anymore.” “I want to believe there’s something out there but I’m not sure.” “You know we’ll be together always.” “I don’t know…I just don’t know.”

As these words float into the night, the buses drift off to sleep, surrounded by everyone they know, resting for the challenges of the day to come. Under the stars they huddle with the sounds of shifting machinery and deep sighs of loneliness or contentment. They wake early the next morning, ready to do it all over again, wondering if they’ll ever know the answers to their questions.

If you liked this post, you might like Me and God Kicking it at Six Flags and God in the Kitchen, Making Casserole

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What I’ve learned from speed-walking to work in San Francisco

Speed walkingSome people drive to work. Others bike or hop on the train, bus, light-rail, or ferry. Still others run, walk, scoot, or rollerblade. There are, perhaps, a few that cartwheel, skip, grapevine, ride a hovercraft, tesselate, or apparate.

But it is a small minority indeed that speed-walks to work. In fact, from what I can see, I’m the only SWLKR, making me the Bay Area’s foremost speed-walking commuter.

Speed-walking is like walking, except faster and dorkier. I like to keep my arms up and moving at a brisk pace to avoid finger swell, one of the foremost dangers of long periods of speed-walking.

As the Bay Area’s expert SWLKR, you probably have a lot of questions for me, and these I am happy to answer if you leave them in the comments below.

For now, I give you 10 tidbits, just a sample of the mind-juice I’ve squeezed from my walking grapes.

1. No one else speed-walks to work.

2. Speed-walking past someone is, by far, the most awkward way to pass someone. Especially if there’s a stoplight coming up. And they’re your co-worker. And you stand behind them because you don’t want them to see you in your tennies and backsweat. And then you walk at a normal pace so you don’t have to talk to them, but end up taking the elevator with them anyways.

3. Speed-walking up a hill makes one look just as foolish and out of shape as running on a flat stretch of land.

4. Speed-walkers get more love from the general public than other kinds of commuters. To date, I’ve gotten two thumbs up, countless smiles, and one (friendly) comment.

5. If you’re speed-walking, it’s a shorter step to running across the street to avoid waiting for a red light than if you’re just walking.

6. Wearing tennies, athletic capri pants, and a backpack in downtown San Francisco at 7:45 am in the morning is a great way to avoid fitting in with the corporate culture or getting respect from people who dole it out based on appearance.

7. Sweat still happens, but like most liquids, it dries.

8. People are often frightened by speed-walkers, the bizarre combination of quick but not-too quick movement that makes them think someone’s trying to sneak up on them but no it’s just me, your friendly office employee heading downtown to do some thought work.

9. There are three major hills I have to overcome as I head into town from the Richmond, but they don’t always pay off in beautiful views. Rather, the views come when you least expect them, like when I saw the Golden Gate bridge randomly yesterday and a rainbow today.

10. Beauty is everywhere. I saw a bird fly from a blossoming tree branch as two flowers fell to the ground and thought it was incredible. Then I realized what a romantic sap I was and that I probably shouldn’t share that moment with anyone.

11. If you keep your eyes open, you’ll see something new everyday. And I think that’s the most important lesson of all.

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