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call for stories

MORE MUNI STORIES

  • "THE CHICKEN RIDES FOR FREE"
    "During the 70s my friend, Rose Plant, spent much time traveling on the 35 Stockton MUNI line. Rose was an "exotic" dancer at the Lusty Lady on Broadway where she performed using the stage name Rose of the Rio Grand. On her most memorable trip on this bus line she was sitting near the front, and a very short older lady was about to get on the bus near Grant Street. She was carrying many bags from a day of shopping. As she got to the top of the entry stairs, one of her large paper bags started to wiggle with many scratching sounds and the unmistakable cackles of a live chicken. The bus driver told the lady that she couldn't bring a live chicken on the bus, even if it were in a paper bag. The little old lady didn't speak English very well, but with a moment or two of various gestures from the driver the lady understood what instruction he was attempting to convey. Just then the woman took the very lively chicken out of the bag; everyone thought she had misunderstood and was perhaps going to put a leash on the poor critter. But to the shock of all on the bus she grabbed the chicken by the neck swung it around once over her head snaping the feathered neck, and forever quieting it's cackles and scratching. No one spoke a word until the woman disembarked after a few block ride. Dinner is served."

    - Sam
  • "BOOKWORM?"
    "At the moment, I'm stuck thinking about a woman, probably in her 40s, who I occasionally see riding the N Judah. Her name is Maggie, and she astonishes me because of the SF Public Library books she carries. They are purely for her recreational reading, but tend to be pretty weighty subjects such as astrophysics, theoretical mathematics, biological chemistry, and so on. She reads them out of pure interest and curiosity. You expect a bookworm, but when you talk to her, she's fun, conversational, and down to earth... not what the book titles make you expect!."

    - Paul G. ( Multimedia Producer ) Duboce Triangle
  • "WHAT A TURKEY!"
    "I overheard a woman talking to a friend on the #15. She was talking about work and I only slipped in and out of the conversation as I was reading a book. As I was nearing my stop and had put my book away I heard her say, can you believe that? For Christmas all we got was a turkey. No raise, no bonus, just a F---ING TURKEY!."

    - M. Burkart ( Bookkeeper ) SOMA
  • "THE COLDEST SEAT ON THE BUS"
    "On a #30 bus, I once picked a seat close to the driver thinking there would be less cold air from other open windows. When my rear end got cold very quickly, I noticed that the seat was over the wheel well. Those are the coldest seats! I sat on my knit cap, reminding myself not to get off the bus without it.

    -J. R. ( Designer ) SOMA
  • "MIXED MESSAGES" ( a poem )
    "On the streetcar,
    the warning bells ring
    as the conductor
    raises the stairs
    to the level of the
    handicapped platform.
    "Take your time,"
    he tells me kindly,
    but I am already
    out the door,
    crutching frantically
    down the ramp.

    I don't want the
    passengers muttering,
    "Damn handicap girl
    making me late."

    Instead they say, "Such a cute crip girl.
    So brave.
    So courageous.
    So determined.
    I feel sorry for her.
    Poor thing."

    -Lori M. Rillera, a poet who lives in the Sunset and rides the N-Judah

  • "THE DEFECTIVE PUNCH" ( late 60's )
    "It was a big game to see how many punches you could get on your Student card ticket.

    A card ticket was a brownish - gray card good for 10 rides. Cost was 50 cents. The driver would punch your card ticket when you got on the bus.

    We would always try to get more than 10 rides by picking drivers who didn't pay attention how many punches were on the card.

    Or we found drivers with a defective punch. If their punch was defective, the little symbol punched out (and there were a lot of different symbols) wouldn't completely punch through, but hang. We would push them back in place and get another ride. I think my record was 15 rides, but I know others did better than that! "
    - Rich - ( computer programer ) Outer Mission District

  • "MR. TABLE TENT"
    "Years ago I used to work in coffee shop-type restaurants. Often times the would be promoting some sort of new cocktail, pie, prime rib special, etc., and to do this their marketing departments would print oiut either laminated separate cards or one big foldout that would have to be assembled and put out on all the tables in the place,; hence, the name "Table Tents." One day when I was riding home mid-day on the subway, a man was wearing one of these types of triangular foldouts on his head!

    He didn't seem to flinch as if he was doing it for a joke, or was just dotty or what; but no one said anything about it or tried to look directly at him! ( On a side note there used to ge a man that lived on Cole Street that would sit out on his front steps every day wearing a different type of costume hat! Everything from a Viking helmet to crowns to propeller beanies! People would sit out on the steps with him from time to time and talk to him. ) Nevertheless, this guy on the subway seemed to want no extra attention. He just wore a table tent on his head for no apparent reason! I guess if I were feeling especially bold that day, I would have asked him "so what's the special?" Better sense told me not to ask.
    - Jon Audron

  • "THE RECIPE BOX"
    "When I moved here in June 1974 I would ride the streetcars to the end of the route and then back. It was a cheap and easy way to get to know the layout of the city. Also, I knew if I could find a streetcar track I would be able to get home. I lived in the Castro area so all the streetcars would be close by -- including the N Judah and the J Church.

    I have been putting my old passes in the back of my recipe box for years. I don't know why I saved them but I knew I had to."
    - Carey O

  • "THE TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE"
    "In 2004 I was called for jury duty in San Francisco. A woman from Oakland was suing MUNI for some reason. She and her attorney were present during the empanelment process. The judge was asking every potential juror what kind of experience they had had with MUNI and almost everyone was coming up with some horror story, certain that the judge would dismiss them. She didn't. I was called and when asked the same question, without really thinking blurted out what I honestly thought: "I think MUNI is the best mass transit system in the country." And before I could say WHY I thought this was true, quicker than lightning, the plaintiff's attorney said "This individual is dismissed." I was disappointed. I was looking forward to telling everyone why MUNI is so great.

    - Brent Nettle, San Franciscan since 1980
  • "LOST IN OBSERVATION"
    "This guy boards the crowded F-line car smiling widely, with another trailing behind who must be 7'+ tall! A black guy carrying a gigantic black trash bag full of something - navigates uncertainly past me. I notice two guys with traveling luggage and backpacks, huddle near the driver. Some big guy in shorts with legs as round as my waist heisitates, then settles next to me - scrunchin my bag. I move closer to the window while this Asian guy with badges hanging around his neck jumps from his seat and lurches toward the front of the car to continue his conversation with a woman who has just stepped off the trolley. Some guy sits up front with a baseball hat with an anchor on it; his long stringy black hair hanging down to his shoulders. I look out the window as the car moves forward and realize - I just missed my stop."

    - Paul H. ( Marketing Consultant ) SOMA - Riding the F-line down Market Street, July 20th/05 @ 2:10 pm.
  • "JUST LIKE IN THE MOVIES!"
    "I moved to San Francisco from a small town in Ohio in 1986 and was thrilled to be living in a big city with public transportation. The first time I squeezed onto the N Judah at Carl and Cole, packed with morning rush hour commuters, I was so excited to be on a crowded train - just like in the movies."

    - Brian Bringardner ( Lawyer ) The Castro
  • "A COSMIC EVENT"
    "Circa 1982, in autumn - I was waiting for the Owl at about 3a.m. near the West Portal tunnel...had to wait a long time for the bus but there was a lunar eclipse happening during those early morning hours and it was awesome to be outside and witness the cosmic event. For once, I didn't mind that the bus didn't come, didn't come, didn't come......"

    - Ann Rose ( Registered nurse ) The Castro
  • "THAT'S MY BUS COMING!"
    "Having totaled my car in an accident prior to moving to San Francisco, I heeded the word of several friends of mine who already lived here who advised me not to have a car, if you don't need a car. This sounded sensible, since every time I'd visited this city before, we spent the majority of our time looking for parking spaces or paying a small fortune to obtain one.

    At any rate, so I've been taking public transportation which I'm beginning to believe is the best way to figure out a new city. Where I live, I have to catch the bus. There is no Muni subway or Bart in the Inner Richmond. Every morning I wait for my Express Bus to come and I when I see it, I want to start jumping up and down and scream out, yeaah!!, that's my bus coming!!!"
    - John Campbell


If you have an interesting story, email it to me - (in plain text ONLY - NO WORD DOCUMENTS) or mail it. Indicate how you want your credit to read, - whole name or initials, occupation, street or area of SF where you, and the buss line you most often ride. That adds human interest.

HOW WOULD I USE THEM?

1: On this website as examples.
2. On promotional materials for the project & show.
3. At the exhibiting of Fast Pass I plan to do a whole wall or panel, covered with "rider accounts"/stories or what I will call "Muni Moments." I envision a panel the same size as the art - 5' high by 28' wide, with each entry on an 8.5x11 sheet of paper in different colors. Ideally the 5x28 panels will mirror each other.

BY SUBMITTING YOU ARE GIVING ME PERMISSION TO USE THE MATERIAL IN THE ABOVE MENTIONED FORMATS. Please also include your contact information for a thank you and an invitation.

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