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Kleinheider's Post Politics is Open for Business

The Bike Riders Haven't Pissed Me Off. Yet.

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."

Comments

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When I used to commute daily to the far east bay, I remember on fridays , like clockwork at rush hour, there'd be this creepy tall guy who'd beg for money on the trains inbound to SF. the old ladies were so scared of him they'd give him cash.

imagine my shock and surprise when i saw him lighting up what was either meth or crack on market street hours later as I was leaving the movie theater, having just a splendid time.

one day, however, he went too far. one of our "regulars" was one of those people you don't want mad at you and after he bugged the guy for money, he got up out of his seat and bellowed in one of those oh-my-God-all-Hell-is-gonna-break-loose voices "SIR, PLEASE DON'T PANHANDLE ON PUBLIC TRANSIT!"

We would have given him a round of applause if we weren't so frakking scared at that moment.

I think you've hit the nail on the head with that one never come to Melbourne trains suck satan's balls!

This goes double if you still go to something called “homeroom.

Sparkwood & 21: Get Off My Lawn

Hahaha.

Hey, do not judge Anal Thunder at 8 a.m. until you've tried it.

Loved the efficiency of BART when visiting, but hated the coldness. No one smiles, everyone plugged in. I like southern hospitality.

If I ever move to the BA, it's wheat thins, 24/7, baybee! Seeds, schmeeds. Don't need flowers growing out of my stomach.

Where's my itoldjaso? I asked if your honeymoon with mass transit was ending back when you slipped in a stranger's puddle of puke.

Oh, the stories I have from years of riding the MTA in Baltimore. Foremost in my memory is the oily residue of Jeri-Curl left on my shoulder after the night shift nurses in the next seat would fall asleep on me. And I ALWAYS took a Walkman. And batteries. And food.

As for panhandlers, I'd sometimes buy burgers for some of the 'regulars' I'd see on a regular basis but I never gave anyone money.

Baltimore might become the first major US city to use gondolas for public transit. They would criss-cross the harbor with about two dozen passengers per car.

Story and video: http://wjz.com/local/gondola.fells.point.2.675385.html

Would YOU ride one of those on your daily commute if possible or necessary?

Just got back to Nashville a few hours ago. Sorry I didn't have a chance to look you up/stalk you while I was there but I was busy with another hot babe who did things I knew you wouldn't do (and that's already more than you want to know about that). Funnily enough, on this trip I came to a similar conclusion: all those people walking and holding cell phones to their ears aren't really talking to anyone. They're just using the cell phone as a means to avoid the crazies. I tried it and I swear it works! Of course I had to "talk" occasionally to make it look real. So since I was walking down the street talking on an imaginary phone call, does that make me crazy too?

And I'm always amazed at the number of people who ask me for directions when I'm there. Even more amazing is how often I know what to tell them. Sitting at an outside cafe on Duboce, a woman drove up and asked how to get to Embarcadero. My friend, who's lived there all her life but never owned a car, couldn't have helped her. I, the tourist, knew to tell her to go straight to Market, take a left and go 'til it ends. Waiting for the N-Judah train, a middle eastern guy chose me out of the 50 or so people there to ask how to get to Daly City. "Daly City?" I said. "You need to go back upstairs and cross over to BART." "No, no, I need to go to City College." "Oh! You want the outbound K-train." I've also started giving restaurant recommendations to tourists. I may as well just come live there. All I need is some sucker who'll pay me double what I make in Nashville.

Huh. Try taking the train from Powell to Walnut Creek. That was the darkest time of my life, plagued by people who would talk on speakerphone cellphones. I was always thankful for the Caldecott portion, just like I was for the Transbay portion. The thought that they want to allow cellphone reception in there someday is terrifying.

Still, it's a lot better than the Muni at getting me where I need to go on time. I'll take the Barcelona Metro any day though, except exceptionally hot days when the Mediterranean Showers are in full force.

You should try the Mexico City transit someday. I hear it's about a dime and worth every single, stinkin', gringo cent.

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