11 September 2014

Moments on MUNI

(In case you missed it, I moved to San Francisco almost two weeks ago.)

So I use the MUNI train/metro/cable car system to get around here. (Still don't know what to call it.) 

I get on a couple blocks from my house and ride through various neighborhoods right to the heart of downtown each day to get to work. It’s about a half hour, which is not bad at all.

(Unless you get trapped in the underground section for 20 minutes when there’s some type of something stuck on the track that you don’t know what it is because the conductor’s voice is always muffled [unless it’s the guy this morning who wouldn’t stop talking the whole trip, telling you MUNI loves you and he also loves you]. THEN you hate your life and your mild claustrophobia threatens to give you a mini panic attack. But yeah, it’s usually a half hour.)

Being that it’s a conglomeration of all walks of life (minus the super rich, of course), you see all sorts of things. Yesterday there were two dudes who wanted everyone to know about their crazy weekends and their drunk vomiting escapades. There’s the crazy man who yells at the wall. There’s the troubled woman who yells into the air for not getting on the packed train with her stroller. There’s the adorable Asian baby sleeping on his father’s lap.

I get glimpses of the most lovely streets and parks and colors and architecture. Each house has a unique personality. Many of them are beautiful and all I want to do is stare at each one until I’ve figured it out. I will come to know them all with time.

When I’m lucky and the weather’s good, I get to see the fog slowly lift from where I begin in my neighborhood of perpetual fog to the land of suits and ties.

Yes, it’s exhausting to stand in a packed car at the end of a long day. Yes, it’s depressing to leave the sunlight and get enveloped in foggy gray when I go home. Yes, I’ve been trapped right next to an extremely affectionate lady couple. Yes, I made the mistake of sitting by a homeless man and realized in subtle horror as he kept scratching his head and I worried about getting fleas.

But I’ve missed the study of the human condition that public transportation provides. And everyone was right, people are actually surprisingly nice here.

I’m sure there will be days that I loathe my commute. But for now it provides me with a fascinating peek into the lives of my fellow San Franciscans—along with the added bonus of uninterrupted reading time. And I get to feel like a champion when I sprint for two blocks as the train is pulling past me and barely make it on.

So far me and MUNI are getting along just fine.


  1. Oh Laura, this makes me happy. My commute (the one in Denver) was such a lovely time to think and reflect...but no people watching. I miss my public transportation days. Good luck!

  2. people watchers of the world, unite! i loved this and can't wait to hear more about san fran!

  3. I love this post, a lot. I am jealous of the fabulous people-watching to be had in SF! Love you.