Guest Blogger Wednesday: Showdown on the 45...
If you read Greg's blog, you're most likely a Muni Person. I would preface my tale with lots of facts regarding my public transit street cred, but let's just say I'm a Muni Girl. I love Muni. Yes, love. It's a rather co-dependent relationship ...
Friday. Rush hour. The 45 mid-Chinatown. I have a seat (w00t) and I believe I was reading -Perez Hilton on my iPhone- Harper's. Minding my own business as usual. The bus, of course, is packed, but civil. Then, a 40ish white man gets on the back, where I'm sitting. He doesn't look particularly homeless or smell too foul, but has something of a transient look, wearing all dark colors and carrying a black duffel bag. I didn't notice him until he starts yelling at a couple of Chinese moms and their kids,
"Children shouldn't be eating on the bus! It's illegal! And they're being violent!"
Everyone else's collective reaction was something along the lines of "Whaaa?" I mean, the kids were eating an after-school snack or something. Fritos maybe. It's not like they had a picnic blanket out. As for violence, they might have been horsing around a bit, being wiggly and squirmy in their seats. Because, you know, that's what kids do.
But this guy was having none of it. He continues to yell at and berate the moms until one of them told him to "Be quiet and sit down."
"No! I won't sit down. You should make your kids stop eating. It's illegal." Then he continues,
"It's not because you're Chinese! I like Chinese! I love Chinatown." Everyone rolls their eyes. "But you can't have fucking violent children eating on the bus!"
"Hey! Will you just sit down and shut up?!" Offers a 20-something Marina Girl in the back, getting pissed that no one was stopping this guy from yelling at these kids.
"Who are you? You just got off your shift at the strip club? With all that makeup? You like being a hooker?" The smell of liquor on the asshole's breath starts to waft my way. He proceeds to go on about Jesus and some other totally unrelated things, finally spitting at the girl's feet and calling her a whore and a cunt. Which is where I got fed up. She called for the driver to come back.
The bus had not moved from the stop during this entire time. Nothing happened and she seemed to give up while the asshole continues to berate her.
I stood up and yelled with my hands cupped around my mouth that we needed the driver in the back, NOW. I can yell. The bus goes completely silent except for the guy who's still yelling and cussing. Adrenaline completely rushed through my body as he turns to direct his wacko anger at me.
"Who do you think you are?! You think you're so smart?!" He then spits, I kid you not, directly in my face. At this point, it was clear that the driver wasn't going to come back. In retrospect, I can kind-of understand. Wading through the load of people would have been near impossible, so the driver's only real recourse would be to empty the bus and call the cops. Which is not really what anyone wanted.
So I decided to just take control of the situation and said pretty calmly, but loudly, "Get off the bus. Now." And proceeded to give him my patented DEATH STARE, my possession of which can only be attributed to having to deal with jerks like these on a day-to-day basis. It's life in the City.
I pointed to the door and wouldn't let up. I was extraordinarily nervous, no doubt, and shaking all over inside, but I'd gotten myself into this, and this guy was NOT going to win.
I yelled at the driver to keep the bus stopped.
And then, sort-of to everyone's surprise. He got off. Yelling his head off the whole way, but he got off the bus.
VICTORY! I sat down while everyone murmured. After I twittered some of the episode, I turned back to the girl and asked if she was OK.
"Yeah," she said. "Sorry he spit on you."
"Meh." I replied. But I was pretty damn proud of myself. No one calls anyone a whore or a hooker or a c**t if I have something to say about it. 99% of the time, I keep my head down. I was done with that. I'm not looking for trouble, but I'm sick of being silent.
SF Muni-riding feminist nerds: 1
Kristen Holden writes the ever so awesome San Francsico Love Story and as noted earlier, is a Muni Girl, among other things. Check out her blog!