"I hate that Iron Yuppie. He thinks he's so big."
So do I, Homer, so do I.
There's a certain, shared sense of space on the N-Judah streetcar in San Francisco. It's not the biggest streetcar on the planet, and at rush hour Muni finds ways to not put enough cars on the tracks, so like it or not, you're going to be shoved up against each other. No one cares about your station in life - no one has time to even think about it, because there's so damn many people on the train!
Life's rough. People take mass transit at rush hour in the real world.
There's also some decorum involved. That is, if you're a young hip professional with iPods and cell phones, and Blackberries (oh my!) and Elderly Frail Citizen climbs on board, you give up your seat for their use. It's not just courteous - it also happens to be the freakin' law.
However, the class of rider I nickname the "Iron Yuppie" does not think so. Not only do they not give up their seat, they get quite upset when you gently remind them of said rules.
This happened the other morning, a particularly crap-tastic one at that, given that the weather has gone from its usual summer coldfest to a particularly crap-tacular one. No one is happy about going to work anyway, and now they're wearing cold weather clothes. (Those that end up in the warmer parts of town are going to be sweltering later on, and they know it, so they're REALLY not happy).
So we're all on the N-Judah, accomodating each other as best we can. Iron Yuppie is sitting in the elder citizen/disabled citizen seats, reading his paper and listening to some fabulous Dave Matthews Band on his shiny, white iPod. How nice of Apple to make a device that matches its owner's appearance.
Then we stop. A kindly elderly woman makes her way up the steep streetcar stairs to go to wherever it is she's going. All of the seats up front are taken up by equally old and/or disabled folks. She looked around for a seat and people wanted to offer her a seat further in the car, but due to the mass of folks, no one could move out of the way to let her in. It was that packed.
All eyes gazed upon Iron Yuppie. Now, he was a clever one, pretending "not to notice" what was up, but it was clear to me he knew wha was up, and that he was NOT giving up "his" seat. After all, he has a freakin' iPod. Who are we to tell him what to do? Why should he abide by the rules we live by?
Kindly Elderly Lady was too polite to ask him to move. A shared moment amongst us riders was done so, silently, as we telepathically considered our options? A polite tap on the shoulder? A quick yank of the iPod headphones? A swift kick to the goolies? What?
Finally, the glare of one woman was enough to get Iron Yuppie's attention. She asked him to move so the Elderly Lady could sit. The train had arrived in Cole Valley by now and was packed to the rafters. No one was moving much at this point. Iron Yuppie would not be moved, though. He said (in a clipped tone) "Well I'm getting off past Embacadero, she can sit in my seat then."
This was not a good answer. My first thought was to simply say "Hey! Buddy! Get your freakin' ass off the freakin' seat before someone kicks your freakin' ass, motherhumper!" (yes I"m editing the language for the kiddies.)
But I didn't because, well it's crowded and well I'm good at talking smack. Inside my head.
Remember though, this ain't New York or Tokyo. This is San Francisco. If you've been reading you know that in SF, there's always Someone Who Will Speak Up. In this case it was the loud woman with the gold jewlery. She took up the Cause of the Elderly Lady, and gave Mr. Iron Yuppie a dose of 'tude that he would not ignore.
I was silently cheering. The noise of the train made it hard to hear every word, but the words "How dare you disrespect your elders" and "How would you like it if someone treated your mama like that" were loud enough to embarass even the steeliest of Iron Yuppies. When he started raising hackles, she just raised the volume and the 'tude. Thank you, God, for this woman who for now is an instrument of your Divine Will. And thank You for sticking it to the Iron Yuppie. Rat bastard iPod listening f-ck.
He slinked off at the next stop, and Elderly Lady got her seat. The packed train was happy. Justice had been served yet again on Muni, a rare moment when the Forces of Evil did not win this round.
There are plenty of times when Evil wins, but for a crappy morning in August, we had justice. It made the rest of the day just a wee bit better, and Elderly Lady didn't have to stand the whole way on the bus. All in all a nice way to start the day.
Coming up next: More Muni Etiquette and another installment of Muni Theater!