Thursday, March 20, 2008

Little Tyrants at 4th and King

It's always the same. I get off Caltrain at 4th and King and there's an outbound N Judah waiting on the platform with its doors open. People are getting in. Good for them; it's 50 degrees and windy, or raining, or midnight. Or 50 degrees and windy and raining and midnight.

My fellow Caltrain riders and I wait for the traffic light to change. As we cross the street, the driver looks at us, closes the doors, and moves forward on the platform a few feet to the red light. The very long red light. Or waits until we have reached the platform then closes the doors and pulls forward. Sometimes someone outside pushes a door button and says to the driver, "Hey, the door's not opening." Regardless, the driver doesn't make eye contact. The train continues to wait at the platform while the people who haven't experienced this regularly suddenly understand the reality:

The weather sucks ass, and the driver's not going to let me on.

A quick glance at the NextMUNI sign shows that the runs-every-few-minutes N isn't going to be along for 20 or 30 minutes. The driver knows the next train is late, and that he or she is about to leave people standing out in the cold/rain/dark/wind until it shows up. The driver contemplates this in self-satisfaction, and the people on the platform look through the windows into the warm train and tighten their coats. Time passes and the light changes, and the train slowly recedes down the street. Would-be passengers mill about, powerless and humiliated.

Admit it: If you could inflict misery and outrage on complete strangers, every day, with total impunity, you'd do it too, right? If your answer is actually "yes," then the San Francisco Muni Metro has a job for you.

1 comment:

Kenny said...

used to happen to me ALL THE TIME. now i drive to Mtn View and kill the planet. thanks MUNI.