Muni scares me. There, I said it. Aside from a school bus, I have only been on city buses a few times in my life. I would not have the slightest idea how much it costs, how it works, what a transfer is or If they even take physical money anymore. Perhaps they just take peanuts or crack.
What I do know is that MUNI is full of crazy people. MUNI also tends to run over pedestrians with increasing regularity. It is like a demented game of Frogger only with a 2 ton piece of metal and you trying to stay out of harms way when a MUNI bus drives by. Even being on the sidewalk doesn’t seem to count as a “safe zone”.
Since BART only skirts the bay, people need a way to get to other parts of the City. I was tricked onto MUNI by a friend and was in for an eye-opening experience. In addition to the law-abiding citizens on the bus, I saw a few gang-bangers having it out with some belligerent banger wanna-be’s at the stop on the sidewalk. OK, if THAT goes South, I’m not as concerned. I am concerned about the on-board fights, thefts, vandalism and of course, the crazies. I know, the crazies need transportation too but you have no way of knowing if they are harmless crazy or psychotic crazy.
Case in point, the Poodle Man of MUNI. I have no idea the name of the line I was on. I know it was over by the Metreon. I was on my way to see my friend Peanut and she brow-beat me into getting on the death bus since (a) I didn’t have my car, (b) my destination couldn’t be reached from BART and (c) it was way too far to walk.
This guy looked like he escaped from the mental ward, covered himself in as many cotton balls as he could find as a disguise and then went on a hunt for every dirty, stuffed poodle in the area. He tied them on his body, stuffed them into plastic garbage bags and into the pockets of his ratty coat. He would alternate between barking and talking to himself and others. He would proclaim in a booming voice, how Willie Brown put a chip in his head and now the aliens can track him. Why Willie Brown cared enough to chip him like a Bichon Frise is beyond me. He then started holding forth on how alien poodles can battle German Sheppards, grey aliens and Bruce Willis and win.
“OK, crazy dude. You need some meds. Badly. I feel sorry that you are left to wander the streets, without medication, food or a bed like a nice mental hospital could provide you with. I remember the time when then Governor Reagan cut the majority of mental health funding in the State. This resulted in the majority of the non-uber violent crazies being tossed out on the streets. The majority of these people migrated to Hollywood or San Francisco. They still do.
I started wondering where the Poodle Man got all the cotton balls or all the stuffed poodles. Obviously a flickering porch light of sanity still burns somewhere. He had to seek out and acquire specific types of stuffed dogs which shows the ability to form a plan and execute on it. Sure, it’s a bat-shit crazy plan but a plan none the less. At least he wasn’t violent. There are those kinds of crazies out there as well and I was without my mace or handy PVC knee-whackin’ pipe.
What would I like to see? I would like to see mentally ill people get the help they need in a safe, clean hospital. I would like to see violent criminals and crazies locked up in a cage. I would like the citizens of this City to be able to travel without fear of violence or death. But most of all I would like to see a death match between a miniature, alien poodle named Strawberry and Bruce Willis. I’m betting on the poodle.
As you may or may not know, Muni buses kill people with regularity. Technically it’s the Muni bus driver that kills people, at times driving up on the sidewalk to mow down pedestrians but now I’m not so sure. The statistics are pretty shocking:
- 2002 – 2 deaths
- 2003 – 2 deaths
- 2004 – 3 deaths
- 2005 – 3 deaths
- 2006 – 4 deaths
- 2007 – 8 deaths
- 2008 – 19 deaths and injuries! One of the men that was run down was dragged through the STREET AND there was the old lady hit and killed while she was in the crosswalk. THE CROSSWALK! The list goes on and on….
I am starting to think maybe it isn’t just maniacal or drunk bus drivers. I think it is the Muni bus itself. Did you ever read Stephen King’s book Christine, the horror novel about the killer car? I think these buses are possessed by Satan. How do I know? I saw it for myself. Today I looked the devil in the eye and it was life changing.
I was in the Embarcadero at a temp assignment, coming back to the office after lunch when I hear a horn. I see a Muni bus up the street by Powell, coming towards the Bay at a bit of a clip, honking at the car LEGALLY in front of it, then SWERVES to go around the car (yes these buses are ATTACHED to wires overhead), the car moves and then the bus tries to mow down a bicycle!
I know what you’re thinking – it was one of those annoying, self-important couriers or those “Critical Mass” idiots. It wasn’t. If it was one of them, I would have run them down myself but this was a regular, law abiding, normal bike rider and here comes the demon bus bearing down on him, honking its horn. It was surreal. I was half expecting to see the bus jump its tether and go on a spree, mowing down groups of unsuspecting nuns and small children who are eating ice cream.
So now the question is, what do we do about Muni buses that are possessed by Satan? Exorcism? Well the Catholic church will tell you (when they aren’t thinking you are a nut job) that you can’t perform the rite of exorcism on an inanimate object. So what is left? I’ll tell you – squirrels.
Squirrels are minions of evil in their own right. I think if you fling squirrels at the offending bus, the ensuing collision of evil will cause the bus to short out. Now I just need to test my theory. Does anyone have a spare crate of squirrels?