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Friday, May 23, 2008

Friday Morning Commutes Are Not Supposed to Be Like This

Today, the Friday morning before the Memorial Day weekend, I envisioned a commute with almost empty trains, arriving almost every two or three minutes.

Boy, was I wrong.

There is a stable of mythical beasts in San Francisco. I have never seen one of these creatures myself, but I have heard tales of their existence.

They are called shuttles.

When Muni breaks down, you hear a garbled, usually cryptic, message telling you to get off the train and that a shuttle will be coming for you shortly.

Like I said, I have never seen one of these things. Even this morning, when we all got kicked off the train (which was crowded) and were told to wait for the shuttle.

I am starting to feel like Muni is playing with the good people of San Francisco. Next time they mention the word "shuttle" over the almost unintelligible PA system, in my mind I am going to substitute "Santa's Sleigh and Flying Reindeer" or "Beautiful Mystical Unicorn."

Because those things are as likely to pick me up and take me to work as one of their shuttles. Feh, Muni. Get your shit together already!


I have also decided to come up with some alternative methods of getting to work in case the city can't find any unicorns.

Here are the choices I am leaning towards:

A sedan chair, carried by buff guys.

The Jaguar hearse from Harold and Maude.

A pumpkin coach.
A float covered in flowers and princesses (including me).
A rickshaw (I especially like this one).
A tickertape parade.
But most of all, I would love to go to work in this. Although if I had one of these, I wouldn't need to work, would I?


Phivos Nicolaides May 23, 2008 at 10:47 AM  

I like your humor and your imagination. Very good text and great photo.


Anonymous May 23, 2008 at 11:14 AM  

Truly, Muni sucks toxic liquids from dark, unmentionable places.

When I was I child, I dreamed of traveling in something like this, or this. Now, I imagine something more akin to this, but will probably someday be getting around more like this!

Red Shoes May 23, 2008 at 4:20 PM  

I vote for the tickertape parade. There should just be one following you wherever you go.

Phyllis Hunt McGowan May 23, 2008 at 4:24 PM  

You'll have me laughing all the way through Memorial Weekend. Thank you!
This is priceless.

Mary-Laure May 24, 2008 at 6:41 AM  

This post made me laugh out loud, señorita!
My own dream is to go around the city on horseback...

Dutchbaby May 24, 2008 at 9:02 AM  

I'm with you on the gondola! Just a peaceful, non-polluting glide to work with only the sounds of lapping water and nearby footsteps amidst the quiet.


Relyn Lawson May 24, 2008 at 10:13 PM  

My number one choice for transportation would be the gondola. Second choice would be a ticker tape parade. I think I would make a terrific important-person-with-a-silly-hand-wave-from-the-back-of-a-convertible. Don't you?

Scratch that, my number one choice would be Tinkerbell's method. Faith, trust, and a little bit of pixie dust. I'm flying!

Vanessa May 25, 2008 at 1:20 AM  

Pumpkin coach all the way! Organic and powered by mice footmen. Earth-friendly and with a touch of old-fashioned.

Mirthful post here! :-)

Anonymous May 25, 2008 at 7:39 PM  

You are adorable. :-) I think you deserve a pumpkin coach. But a rickshaw is even better! :-) Especially the one with the flowers on it.

Anonymous May 26, 2008 at 1:59 PM  

Ooh, I forgot to tell you that my sisters and I periodically went to school by rickshaw, or "betjak" as it is known in Java, when we were in grade school. (Can you picture the three of us?) Having travelled both via betjak and gondola, the gondola has it over the betjak hands down.

tangobaby May 27, 2008 at 2:10 PM  

Hi everyone!

I had a little break from the computer so sorry these replies are a little delayed. But just know that I got to work okay today and did not need a unicorn.

Hi Philip,

Thank you for the compliments. I wasn't laughing at the time, but the situation did inspire some humor later.

Hi upfromthe deep,

I hope you have a ray gun to go with some of that transportation! Muni actually didn't suck today, so I'm back to my normal happy commuting self. (ha!)

Hi Red Shoes,

Do you have to DO something to get a tickertape parade? That photo is of Admiral Byrd, who was a famous explorer and aviator. I'm still kind of light in the accomplishments department. If I get a parade, you can ride shotgun.

Hi TheElementary,

I'm glad you laughed! I was pissed off. But I did laugh when I found the picture of the unicorn. Somehow I don't think you are dealing with these sorts of issues where you live. And I am very glad for you.

Hi Mary-Laure,

A beautiful laughing girl in Paris reading my blog is just what the world needs. When you start riding horseback through the city, you must let me know!

Hi dutchbaby,

I knew you would pick the gondola. Let's carpool, okay?

Hi Relyn,

I think you should do a riff on this post because the Tinkerbell idea is awesome. I hadn't thought of pixie dust. And I like Tinkerbell's attitude. She is a little troublemaker.

Hi Vanessa,

Thank you for your comment and welcome to my blog! I think what is great about the pumpkin coach is that it's good for the environment and you can make it into a pie if you get too many dings in the carriage. Transportation AND dessert.

Hi Tina,

Isn't that just the best rickshaw? (Like I know anything about them.) I really like the float, though. And the sedan chair. Because when you're not being carried around like Cleopatra, you can have the guys help you around the house, like moving furniture, etc.

Hi dutchbaby,

You are just so exotic and cool. I seriously think you should have a blog already.


Joseph N. Hall May 27, 2008 at 3:50 PM  

We had shuttles all the time last year for the N while the T had things screwed up. Whenever 30-60 minutes had gone by without an N (which was true about 1/3 of the times I waited for it), a shuttle would show up, accompanied by an N.

I think the shuttle was supposed to show up before the N, but that was a subtlety they hadn't worked out yet.

tangobaby May 27, 2008 at 4:00 PM  

Hi Joseph,

Your mention of the T fiasco just made me break out in tiny imaginary hives. God, I had forgotten about that mess. I may have to live in my transportation fantasy world of unicorns and parades for a while because you've reminded me that these things happen more often than I remember.

You are cracking me up about the shuttle and the N, arriving together to help the poor stranded people. Brilliant planning.

I just visited the SF Muni Grouch and I think you've just graduated to my blogroll.

Joseph N. Hall May 27, 2008 at 4:03 PM  

I am way backlogged on my grouching. But it's coming again soon.

tangobaby May 27, 2008 at 4:05 PM  


Well, if you're grouching about Muni, that really be a full-time job in itself. No wonder you can't keep up.

I'll check back with you again for more fodder.

Anonymous May 27, 2008 at 7:19 PM  

Hilarious! That rickshaw (which looks Malaysian to me) would be the colorful, albeit slow, way to go.

Your blog is fun and unique--the wonderful links alone could keep me busy for days!

tangobaby May 27, 2008 at 8:40 PM  

Hi dianeinjapan,

Welcome to my blog and for taking the time to leave a comment. It's so nice to see new faces here. Arigato!

You win the BIG prize! (When I figure out what it is.) The rickshaw photo is from Malaysia...you are a very good guesser.

Although the rickshaw option might be slow, it cannot be any slower than NO transportation and standing on the corner, waiting for a unicorn. At least I'd still get to work in a rickshaw.

I look forward to learning about life in Japan from your blog.

Anonymous May 28, 2008 at 10:04 PM  

Oh my gawd I would so do the ticker tape parade! How funny!!!

tangobaby May 29, 2008 at 9:58 AM  

Dear Katie,

The tickertape parade is SO up your alley, isn't it? I would totally fly to the Big Apple to throw confetti at you.

paris parfait July 3, 2008 at 12:54 PM  

Hilarious! And you're trying to encourage me to move back to San Fran??!!

tangobaby July 3, 2008 at 3:07 PM  

Hi paris parfait,

Well, I am trying to encourage you to move back here, but if you notice carefully, I have *never* encouraged you to use MUNI.

My hope is that you will live and work somewhere where you can walk whereever you want, and then you can catch a parade float for the times when you need to go across town.

OR, maybe I should just move to Paris and be near YOU since I've never seen this kind of carrying on in the Paris Metro. What do you think?