TJ's travel problems are nothing compared to mine this evening. I leave work, in the rain, at about 5:40 this evening two blocks down to the MUNI station. I swipe my little card that lets me on and go down to the platform, where a large group of people had already gathered. I could tell immediately that it could be an annoying commute. When the platform is full, it tends to mean that the trains are behind. And in fact, as the stupid little sign buzzed "NN 15 Min" I knew it would be awhile before I got home.
And I don't even TAKE the N train! That was just the NEXT train to come. So I wait. And wait. And wait. Finally the first train comes, and it's completely packed to the gills. Maybe 4 people got on. Rinse and repeat for the next two trains. Finally a J comes (which is the train I take). Maybe 20 minutes has gone by so far. Oddly, it was a 2 car train, which is unusual because the J is always a 1 car (because of the platforms at street level for people to unload, but whatever). So I hop on the 2nd car, and as the doors close I overhear someone who left saying "man I could barely breath on there."
And then I notice the smell. The rank, nasty, rotten, butt-nasty shit smell. And the heat. It's hot, and smells like poop. The air conditioner isn't working, and as I look around for where I'm going to stand, I can see why it stinks. Right near the joint that connects the front from the back, spread across four seats, is feces. Poop, smeared across the seats, with a man standing there guarding them (god knows how he could stand to be right next to there). I head up to the car ahead, which is totally packed, but I manage to stand sort of in a place where I got some of the fresh air.
And this is just the beginning. As some crazy homeless person starts yelling about how it stinks, the train lurches forward into the tunnel. Only to stop about 10 seconds later. We're about 100 feet into the tunnel, the platform can be seen out the back window. And we're still stopped. For 10 minutes. There's poop on the seats and the air conditioning isn't working. Eventually, the operator comes over the intercom and tells us that "both cars can't move because the 2nd one is having an air problem. They're sending another mechanic to have a look."
THEY'RE SENDING ANOTHER MECHANIC?!?!?!!?
The thought starts to occur to us that we may have to break out of this thing if it comes to it. There's still poop smeared on the seats. The homeless man, who smells like cooked sausages, has moved up to the front somehow and has started making goat or sheep noises or something. A lady, who was completely oblvious, comes along and sits on the fecalled seats. UGH! Someone tells her to get up, she does, and then sits on the floor right in front of them. WHY?
FINALLY the train starts to move... but only for about 15 seconds. Then stops again for another few minutes. Then we're off! Buuuutt... it's not over yet. As we head through the tunnel, the operator comes on again. Both cars are going out of service. The next stop will be the last. I don't care at all because I just want to get off the poop-mobile. The train pulls up to the stop, the doors don't open. Well, actually that's not true, one-half of one door (on a train that has 4 doors) clear near the back is open. But the stairs haven't gone out. Noone seems to care though, there's poop on the seats after all.
I leap off (literally) and walk the remaining 8 blocks or so home in the rain. It's strange, because as the throng of people headed down the block from the train with the poop on the seats, there's a sense of comradery among us. Like we'd been through a war or something. We'd survived. And here we were in the rain.
I love San Francisco. I really do.
(P.S. If you happen have a parking space for rent near the Church/20th area....I swear my car doesn't have poop on it, and would love a place to stay.)