Armageddon Comes to the N-Judah or The Trolls of Irving Street Rebelled
Ever had one of those days where it feels like Armageddon is right here, right now? Not so much because of any hellfire or damnation about, more due to the sheer chaos and weird crap you're seeing happen all around you.
Take today. Our on again, off again weather gave us some temporary sun, while I was cooped up inside wrestling with PHP and CSS, with mixed results. I had some little errands to run (a loaf of bread, a gallon of milk and a stick of butter) and a trip to my local Radio Shack. I put it all off to the end of the day. What could possibly go wrong?
This is when the Gods of Muni and the Gods of Weather got together and decided to do an Armageddon foxtrot on me and every other soul in San Francisco. Har-de-freakin'-har-har, gang.
Now, I'm not stupid. I know it's been raining a lot and figured some showers might occur, but it looked so darn peaceful and overcast, I figured my window of opportunity, while closing, wasn't that bad. So I headed out for my trivial endeavour. Estimated time of completion: 45 minutes.
The gods struck up the band, and it was time for the dance to begin.
Within two blocks of me deciding to walk to 9th and Irving, I got hailed on, quite nicely. I got to the 9th and Irving Outbound stop, and got to share it with a dude sucking on the smelliest "cigarette" ever invented by humans. Fine, whatever, just get me on the train. Oh, look, it's here!
So I get on and I notice this little bearded weird guy I see around the 'hood all the time. Being who I am I have nicknamed him in my mind as The Troll of Irving Street, because he's got that weird beard and that oddball demeanor I've only seen on tv. Generally harmless, I often wondered what his story was, or how or why he's ended up more or less running up and down the street doing his thing. Anyway, that was fine. I didn't hear the music get turned up a notch, though.
At least the hail stopped at Duboce and Church long enough for me to get to Safeway, and get my various on-sale items. By now it's around 5:30 and I'm headed out to the Outbound stop and ready to head home.
Then the gods' dance changed from a foxtrot to a mosh pit.
As I walked out I saw the Outbound N taking off....I'd missed it by a minute. Damn! Fine, I'll wait. But when the next train showed up, a rush-hour train, what do I see? The Might N approaching. However, said "N" had only one car on it, not the usual double-car config we see....and it was crowded! All the while, your fearless correspondent is carrying his stupid groceries. Guess Who is gonna be Mr. Popular on said "N?"
I managed to get on but when we got to Duboce Park, people had to get off, and I was in the stairwell. Being a Member Of Society, I decided to get off the train and wait by the door, let others get off so they may be able to go home, then hop back on.
Only, when we all shuffled back on, I was left off! Did my fellow passengers, whom I had shown courtesy and a sense of Shared Misfortune with, try and let me on? Hell no.
Proof once again you should not go out of the house unshaven if you have a 5 o'clock shadow like this guy. The Gods' guitar solo began. Whee.
So I waited around for another Mighty N, and got on the next one, with all sorts of stares. I guess no one had ever seen someone with chips, a 2 liter bottle of diet coke, and two small bags of groceries on the N before. Meanwhile one of the Trolls of Irving Street got to get two seats because of all his smelly stuff on the train. Can I check your transfer, sir?
Whatever. Just get me home, OK?
As we headed towards the Sunset District, people were filing off and I looked foward to "door to door service" to my new place out here....then it hit me!
Crap! I forgot to go to Radio Shack earlier, thanks to my desire to not get hailed on. D'oh!
How bad could it be? I'll just hop off, get my stupid stuff at stupid Radio Shack, and hop back on. No big whoop, a minor inconvenience. So I get off the train and guess who I run into (after the train had to stop and start thanks to some idiot motorists who don't get the concept of train tracks)?
The Trolls of Irving Avenue.
Unlike my earlier encounter, these weren't the reformed, harmless ones. No, these are the guys who know better and take off when our totally cool beat cop is on duty during the day, taking care of business for us. (Note to SFPD: I'd love to do an interview of our cool community patrol officer - he's doing a hell of a job!)
Unfortunately for us, though his shift was over and a pack of trolls were talking to the wall, to each other, and generally being louts. Now, I have no hatred for someone who is poor, or who is mentally ill. However, neither gives you a license to be a world-class asshole in public. Pardon my lengua fuerte, my friends, but that's what it is. I had one of the trolls start talking at me about my three bags of groceries, using language that would make the toughest dude on the docks blush. Thanks, buddy. I needed that. Especially as I'm being rained on.
But the troll rebellion was in full swing across the street from Radio Shack. I was walking in to the store when I heard some foulmouthed fool shouting at a car. I looked and there was this loud, stupid, crazy mofo waving a stick - no, correct that- a freakin' quarterstaff would be a more accurate description. He was screaming at some poor driver, waving it around and being a real threat to the car and its passengers.
Now that was bad enough, but Angry Troll decided to walk back in front of my favorite market - the 828 Irving Market - and ran in to a couple of moms with some kids. Angry Troll decided to pull his shit on said Moms and Kids. The Moms got the kids outta the way, but people were watching. This was just plain wrong.
This is also why they have Gun Control, because if I was armed, I swear I would have executed the guy on the spot, no jury, no judge, just some sort of BFG emptied into his nasty head. Only, because I would probably suck as a shot, I'd probably end up injuring the innocent, so it's just as well that I called 911 and let the pros handle this out-of-control dude.
Now, it's not time for a Discussion on the Homeless Issue right now, but I have a challenge to the hippies and liberals who told me "Care Not Cash" was evil - tell me a) why it's better a mentally deranged man is screaming and threatening people with a quarterstaff, and b) if I'm not supposed to call the cops and hope they wail on him until he gets a dose of STFU, just what the hell am I and the peaceful children and moms of Irving Street supposed to freakin do????
And to those on the other side who think we ought just toss 'em in jail (or, um, worse), I ask, if doing this was such a great idea and we've already outlawed "welfare as we know it", ust what the hell am I and the peaceful children and moms of Irving Street supposed to freakin do in the meantime ???
Ok, end of political ranting BS. Back to the Armageddon Dance and Mosh Pit.
So after being thoroughly pissed off at all this, and again, wishing for that magic light saber that could stop freakos in their tracks, I trudge up to Judah and 9th to catch an outbound home. Now, I normally woulda just walked home, but you see it started to pour rain, "cats and dogs living together style," so I just waited by the donut shop.
And who should appear but the same hippie "homeless" guy who bugs me every day I go to the post office. One of those ones who walks up and then won't go away when you politely decline the whole spare change thing. Well today, I was having none of it, especially in light of his Brother Troll's actions and I told him in an un-Christianly manner to "piss off." Not something I'm proud of, but I'd had it with people monopolizing the neighborhood and pissing all over the place, while moms and kids are wondering if they're in Fort Apache, the Bronx on the way home in the rain.
Then something funny happened...time passed...and I started to realize no "N" was coming anytime soon. Even on a rainy day, it shoulda shown up after a good long while. But it wasn't and I took a peek down Judah Street to notice that not one, not two, not three, but four N's are stopped and empty, the people having bailed out.
More importantly La Policia de San Francisco were out in force, after someone. I winced and thought it might be Troll with Quarterstaff, or worse. All I can say is, thank you to the police for doing their jobs, even though I ended up trudging in the rain back home. It wasn't that bad, and I would have investigated what our men and women of law enforcement were doing.
After a stupid day of errands like this though, and all the nonsense and hullaballoo, it was time to get back to work, have some guacamole made from my 69-cent Safeway avocados, and most importantly, a healthy dose of "Calgon for Guys", and perhaps catch something funny and brainless on TV. My super-cool roommate was delayed and didn't make it home at her usual time (around 6pm) - she didn't get home thanks to the criminals hurting America and the N-Judah until much later.
Both of us agreed. The Gods had one hell of a mosh pit going. Too bad we were on the floor underneath, it seems.