Monday, July 30, 2018

Bus Report #1001

It feels good to be back, friends!

This weekend the Chron reported that Muni is one of the worst metro systems in the country.
While I'm not surprised (missed runs each day, broken buses/trains, crime, crime, crime), I still find a lot to love about our temperamental, often cranky transit system.

We have the historic F Market trains, which are beautiful. They showcase the amazing craftsmanship that our Market Street Railway puts in to them. Who can be in a bad mood on one of the Milan cars, or the Streetcar Named Desire?

Humanity. People helping each other on or off the bus, tough dudes melting at the antics of little kids, people genuinely surprising me even when I think I've seen it all.

We have some of the friendliest folks operating our Muni vehicles. Sure, no everyone can be a Stacey or a Leon, but we have enough of them that it makes riding Muni a real joy (some of the time).

The people watching - so much material for my fiction, so little time.

This Saturday I met up with Michael, the delightful photographer and essayist behind the Civic Center blog. We went to SFMOMA to see the Susan Meiselas exhibit as well as to see Magritte again. My favorite Rufino Tamayo painting, The Window, must be on loan, but I'm working through my separation anxiety.

Meiselas' Nicaragua and El Salvador photos punched me in the gut. I've been to so many of those places, and at least in Nicaragua, so many of them are now under attack again, all these years later.

Afterward, we joined his other half for a jaunt down to SPARK Social food truck park.
It was a clear, blue-sky day so the walk was pleasant. Man, though, is the new Mission Bay neighborhood strange. So empty, but so new and shiny. It even looks like we're getting a mini-golf park. Talk about fun.
We skirted the bay and the ballpark. Michael took a great photo of a man we thought was praying to the Willie McCovey statue.
A car rally showcased some really sweet vintage cars. Grown up guys on tricked out bicycles rode around the Embarcadero. Entire families wandered around wearing matching Giants merch. A lone accordion player sat along the wall, noodling around on his accordion for tips. We ended up at Red's for beers. A beautiful San Francisco afternoon.

Heading home, Michael and I opted to hop on an E Embarcadero streetcar. Waiting at the bus stop was a very enthusiastic young man, a volunteer for Market Street Railway.
"It's the last run of the day for the Melbourne Australia car," he said. "Down to the wharf and then up to the yard at Balboa Park." He mentioned the car number, but there are two Melbourne cars in our fleet and I'll be damned if I get it wrong, so I'm not going to go there.

Michael and I exchanged glances. This guy was a trainspotter extraordinaire. I loved it. His volunteer gig suited him perfectly. He got to geek out on historic streetcars all day, and talk to people about them, and other than being a tad over enthusiastic, it was great. I told him about my birthday charter of Car No. 1, and he was impressed.

We did end up moving from his side of the car to the other side, though, for some peace and quiet.

At the California Street cable car turn around, we got on a 21 Hayes. I rode a few blocks with Michael and then switched to a 38, where a little boy tried to convince his dad they should catch a 38R instead.

Thanks for the fun afternoon, Michael (and Tony)!


Blogger Civic Center said...

Great chronicle of our afternoon, especially welcome since I accidentally erased all the photos I took. And way to get over that 1,000th post hump.

1:33 PM  
Blogger Rachel said...

We'll just have to have another adventure, which is definitely not a hardship.
Thanks for the nudge to keep writing!

10:03 AM  

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