Broke-Ass City: Being bad at mass transit 

click to enlarge Always give up your seat to those who need a place to sit down. It's just the right thing to do. - GABRIELLE LURIE/SPECIAL TO THE S.F. EXAMINER
  • Gabrielle Lurie/Special to The S.F. Examiner
  • Always give up your seat to those who need a place to sit down. It's just the right thing to do.
She was standing on the BART turnstile at the Civic Center station with an American flag scarf tied around her waist, yelling “Fuck Obama” and laughing from a mouth only half-full of teeth. All I could think was, “Oh, man, she is really bad at taking mass transit.”

The guy in the BART booth must’ve agreed because he came out and very sternly said, “Get the fuck down from there!” I didn’t stay around to see if she did because I had a train to catch.

But our Obama-hating turnstile dancer isn’t the only one who has completely urinated on the mass-transit social contract. San Francisco is full of people who either don’t know or don’t care about what you should and shouldn’t do on Muni or BART. Look, I know that I argued a few weeks ago that riding Muni was part of being a San Franciscan, and it is. But that doesn’t mean we can’t complain about the ones who are screwing it up for the rest of us, like:

— The guy cutting his nails on a crowded Muni bus like it ain’t no thing. I mean, either he is 100 percent not giving a damn what anybody thinks or he has no clue how disgusting that is. The thought of one of his nails flying across the bus and hitting me in the mouth makes me want to puke.

— The woman with the live chicken in a container under her seat. Yes, this is a real thing I’ve seen. The best part is that, despite all the clucking noises from the chicken, and all the strange looks from the other passengers, the lady acted like nothing odd was happening.

— People having extremely loud and extremely personal conversations. From the person engrossed in the high-decibel, “Oh, no he didn’t” phone conversations to the people gossiping, in detail, about sex acts, you can learn some fascinating and unnerving things about your fellow transit passengers.

— The old Chinese ladies carrying pink plastic bags and elbowing you out of the way to get on the bus. Part of me fears them and part of me is in awe of them. How do I get to be that badass when I’m old?

— Cellphone zombies. It’s amazing how oblivious our cellphones can make us. Someone can be completely in the way of a passenger in a wheelchair and not realize it because they are too engrossed in their phone. I mean, there can be a monkey knife fight going on in the back of the bus and people will miss it because they are scrolling through Facebook. All I gotta say is that monkey knife fight was awesome.

— Drunk people puking on the last BART home. It’s bad enough that we have to halt what we’re doing at the crescendo of the night just to get back home before BART stops running. What makes it worse is people who have taken four last shots of booze before darting to the station. You will never see a BART train clear faster than when someone starts puking. OK, maybe when someone starts pooping.

— Playing loud music on your shitty phone speakers. If you’re going to make an entire train car or bus endure your music, at least have the decency to get a boombox. It’s annoying that you’re forcing us to listen to whatever it is that 17-year-olds listen to now, but it’s insulting that we have to do it through crackling speakers that are only intended to play ringtones.

— Not getting up for old people, pregnant ladies and the disabled. Even if you’re cutting your nails, blasting crappy cellphone music, zoning out on Facebook and transporting a chicken, all at the same time, giving up your seat will automatically make all the other passengers forgive you ... probably.

Stuart Schuffman, aka Broke-Ass Stuart, is a travel writer, TV host and poet. Follow him at BrokeAssStuart.com. Broke-Ass City runs Thursdays in The San Francisco Examiner.

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