As often as possible and minimally two days a week, I work from home in San Francisco. I believe this quite literally saves my life. In spite of my occasional encounters with Muni on these days.
I know it’s a cheap shot to complain about Muni, but I just have to get it out of my system and then I’ll be done. I met a friend down at the ferry plaza for lunch and stepped into one of the longest Muni fiascos I can remember. I say this with some measure of restraint, since I know Muni is capable of killing and as far as I know there’s been none of that today. But “something happened to some computer somewhere” and the railways underground have been reduced to a crawl – if they are even running at all.
Note that the news article recommends taking buses or streetcars: should YOU, dear reader, be blessed with reading this before commute hour this evening, heed NOT the scant information in that article! I say that, and note that I always take streetcars whenever I can – I love the friendly colors of the F Market and I generally prefer being above ground. Today, however, these colors make me ill. Note that on days when there is “something wrong in the tunnel,” anything that rolls and is run by Muni above ground is so packed that you don’t want to approach it. This is where I was for most of an hour returning from lunch just now.
Somewhere around Van Ness on the way down and at the point where the orange car I was on resembled a giant, stuffed sardine can, another driver hopped on (I think… I couldn’t see) and started yelling at everyone: “Get back! Get all the way back!” he yelled, “This is MY car now; get back!” For a brief instant, I imagined that terrorists had taken over the car and were going to hijack it; then I considered that it was Muni and why would anyone want to take over Muni? My windows had bars on them so I couldn’t even contemplate breaking out of the car. A claustrophobe’s nightmare, pretty much.
In the meantime, ambulances and firetrucks are inexplicably careening up and down the tracks, sometimes stopping directly in the path of the train, for occasionally no apparent reason.
But lunch was great and the ferry plaza was as gorgeous as always. Only then I had to get back home.
The way back was less crowded but took me an hour. My green train stopped only at 9th street so that it could double back to pick up other stranded passengers. Instead of waiting for the next one, I walked up Market the rest of the way. I approached my street as three colored F Market trains caught up behind me, struggling up the street like gigantic bitter pills stuck in someone’s esophagus. One orange, one yellow, and one green…
Much better to walk.
And with all that, there’s no question at all in my mind that I’d rather be stuck on Muni (or better, walking home in San Francisco) than stuck on highway 280 or stuck in traffic pretty much anywhere.