I've discovered, after five months, a dozen bizarre conversations and a stinky kiss on the face by a homeless stranger, that walking around San Francisco with earbuds in or headphones on is necessary to successfully avoid the crazy. Or, in my case, being asked for directions. (I haven't been here long enough to tell anyone anything about how to get anywhere, it's best they don't waste their time asking me.) I used to think it was because every one couldn't get by without music in their ears, and that may be true, but I'm willing to bet most of these headphone listening pedestrians and public transit riders are also trying to prevent conversations like the one I had late one night with a spectacularly inebriated man on BART that mostly consisted of grunts and giggles.
And I've also discovered, just as was predicted, that my crush on BART has moved beyond the flirty stage and into that stage where you start to get annoyed by stuff that never bothered you before. When I first moved here I was always very cautious to know the etiquette, but I had to be making some new girl mistakes. So, I was always patient with others. Somehow, that patience wore right the fuck out. Because I was pressing down pretty hard on that clueless lass who was talking on her cell phone, dragging two suitcases and putting her ticket in the wrong way. Then I cut her off at the escalator.
Now when someone doesn't Stand Right, Walk Left I get all pissy and antsy. I've actually now gotten the courage to say "Excuse Me," to indicate that myself and about 20 other people are trying to come through. They typically figure it out, move right, and then I make it to work 45 seconds sooner than I would have.
More BART pet peeves:
- Beeping video games. I kid you not, this woman played a noisy game of digital Sudoku on her Blackberry so loud that she got hairy eyeballs from at least five people that I counted. She played from the Embarcadero station all the way to Downtown Berkeley with loudass bloops and bleeps every five seconds. It easily penetrated the music coming out of my iPod. I wanted to beat her with the thing by the time she got off.
- Pole huggers. I'm not that short, but I'm not that tall either. If I have to stand on BART, I can't exactly hold on to the overhead bars for balance without getting up on my tiptoes, which is not the optimal way to ride for 35 minutes. So, I try very hard when standing to get a handled seat to hold on to or one of the vertical rails. At least three people can hold on to a vertical rail, maybe more. And yet, dumb motherfuckers hug the poll like it's the only friend they have got in the world. When they do that no one else gets to hold onto the poll that can be easily reached by those 5'4" and under. This drives me crazy, especially when the pole hugger can handily reach the overhead bars. Don't be a pole hugger.
- Hearing your shitty music. Not only are you damaging your ears, I can promise you that you are the only person loving Anal Thunder at 8 a.m., brother. There is no need to have it so loud. I sometimes wonder if the people who play their music so loudly that the existence of headphones is mere pretense do so because they are feeling that shit so hard that they can't help but share it with the train. All I know is, people who play music loud enough for other people to hear it play some crappy ass music.
- Staring. This is rude just about anywhere you go. No excuses, people, your mama taught you better.
- Not getting up to let people in or out. If you can't be arsed to slide to the inside of an empty seat for two, at least get up when a commuter goes to sit down. Swinging your legs to the outside doesn't cut it. Don't make me climb all over you, lady. I will do it, and I will win.
- That one sunflower seed eating lady. Every time. She eats them every time. Get a new snack!
- Children making out. I don't want to see your tongue meet someone else's on BART. And get your hand out of her skirt. This goes double if you still go to something called "homeroom."