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Ever Had a Day That Made You Wish You'd Stayed At Home?

Some days make you wish you'd stayed at home. Today was mine. And it wasn't because of the rain. Rather, it was one of those days where doing the simplest tasks took longer than they should have, and the many irritants we have come to know on the N-Judah all got together and had a Rainy Day Party.

Now the rain is fine, it wasn't that big a deal, just a minor annoyance on way out the door from the 150th day of noisy upgrades and repairs at my building. It's an older building and it's groovy the owners are fixing up all sorts of stuff that needs to be done - but the constant noise + random power outages make it hard to do my work. So I escaped, rain be damned.

After heading down to the Civic Center to take care of some business, I had lunch, and took a look at the NextBus listings for the N-Judah line. Why, in only 25 minutes my N Judah train was due to show up at Van Ness! And I was a mere 10 minutes away on foot! How fortuitous!

Not.

Instead, as is the case every time I use the Van Ness Station and am in a rush, the moment I entered the station, the quantum resonance of the universe changed, and I (along with 100 deep of my fellow N-Judah riders) were stuck waiting a lot longer than 25 minutes or 10 minutes or whatever the heck it should have been, and got to watch an unending conga line of Ks, Ls, and Ms, with hardly any passengers. How does this happen?


And inevitably, once the N finally showed up, there was no room on the train since it was packed. Which actually turned out to be a good thing, in a way, because during the wait some Loud Crazy White Guy was bellowing at the fare inspectors about his right to a) have a bus pass and b) not touch it because it may contain germs that could kill him and all of humanity. No I am not making this up. I would have filmed it on my cell phone video camera, but then I remembered that filming in MUNI stations is verboten, so I decided against incurring the wrath of The Man, or The Crazy White Guy.

Finally the train showed up and there was actually room to get on, but the moment I got on the N, I had that "oh crap I'm trapped" feeling. That's because I took a look at who was on the train.

And who did I see? Well...first we had Satan's Spokesman, who you may recall from such postings as "Crazy or Bluetooth?" He was joined by Drunk Guy Passed Out On 2 Seats, Intensely Scary Man, and a couple of other members of the Troll Collective of 9th and Irving. And there were a few others I could certainly smell, but could not see.

I prayed in vain that maybe everyone had their meds that day and would just chill on the train, but within moments, Satan's Spokesman started in, even scarier and more incoherent than ever. Some of his colleagues were having their own raging debate with their counterparts on the other side of the planet (hence their loud talking).

I wanted to get off the train and get another one but I really didn't have time to chance waiting another 14 hours for another N to show up. One dude and his girlfriend on the train gave me that "we're all on this train ride from Hell together" look with a resigned sigh, and the smell of pee and damp clothing from the rain permeated our senses.

Finally I got to Irving and 9th and after running some more errands, dreaded the trip home (and all the noise of the Extreme Makeover, Apartment Edition team) so I went to Canvas Gallery, full of blogging shmoes like me on their computers.

I'm sitting here now finishing off an Amstel, and calculating the total amount of time I wasted in transit, and I figured I killed a good 2 1/2 hours waiting around. But I look on the bright side - I got my Netflix DVDs, my long delayed gift subscription to Vanity Fair (Laugh if you must but I read so much, so fast at home nowadays I need every additional book or comic I can find), and will spend tonight figuring out why time and space suck so bad at the Van Ness station.

Comments

"to watch an unending conga line of Ks, Ls, and Ms, with hardly any passengers. How does this happen?"

This happens because Muni has a system that runs pretty much on automatic. Trains are turned around at Embarcadero in pretty much the same order they came in. If you've ever wondered why we see back-to-back one-car K's then you're putting more thought into it than the planners.

The N-Judah suffers even more because it has to wait at the Embarcdero portal until it can be slotted into the turnaround queue. If there are a lot of cars already in line, then the N-Judah just sits there outside.

When the N-Judah stops running all the way to Caltrain, the situation might get better.

Look, I know how the downtown tunnel lines work, and I know their software sucks...I'm just wondering how it is that not only every time I go to the Van Ness Station (and NOT the Powell, Civic Center, or Montgomery Stations) there's this time/space sink that kills my afternoon? I'm at the point where Id' rather walk to Civic Center than ride a train at that foul station........

You know about this one, right?

Sure it is way old school, but it is more precise than NextBus.

http://www.sfmunicentral.com/

@HM: Actually, I had not - and thanks for the link! That WOULD be more accurate for the tunnel stops, since they go on auto pilot.

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