We’ve come a long way together, baby. From the days when you used to run me from the Mission to the FiDi and back, through our brief estrangement while I experimented with your younger brother, BART (he meant nothing to me – I swear) to our reconciliation over late nights on the N-Judah. Now we’ve reached the stable stage of our relationship – I know your ins and outs, your quirks, and what makes you tick.
Granted, you aren't perfect. Sometimes it takes you a while to get ready. Occasionally you're not entirely honest with me, and every now and then, you have a complete meltdown.
Lord knows there have been times when I thought I was done with you, but let’s be honest – I can’t imagine life without you. I know you may be worried about all the sleek-looking younger models out there trying to get my attention. Don’t worry, baby, you’re still the one for me. Muni, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
One, your style. You’ve got a certain timeless look that can’t be beat. No one else could pull off your classic color scheme of brown, orange, and two more shades of brown. Like a pixie haircut, it only works for a select few, but when it does, it’s a knockout. And that logo? Pure class. It recalls Lombard Street’s twists, the city’s hills, and your own accordion busses. Like anything truly iconic, that design has never gone out of fashion; it’s just gone unappreciated at times. Name another city where people rock their local public transportation logo on everything from hats to hoodies to hot pants.
Two, you make me laugh.
"I saw the craziest thing on the Google bus the other day," said no one ever.
Being with you is never dull, and that shared experience is like when my crazy uncle shows up unexpectedly to Thanksgiving dinner, and I finally start talking to the cousins I have nothing else in common with. Muni, I love your stories. From the tale of the guy giving impromptu lectures on the proper way to raise root vegetables to the one about a dude attacking people with his prosthetic leg, you always give me something to laugh about and share with my friends; thanks for that.
Three, I love your family of drivers. I know that you just aren’t you without them, and they deserve credit for making you what you are. There’s a reason why so many people in this city don’t drive –
Navigating the streets is a colossal bitch, yet these people do it all day, every day, while also doubling as a tour guide for wayward Europeans and as orderlies/guards for a mobile psych ward/drunk tank.
I’ve watched a mother and child wait at the corner of Haight and Fillmore just to hop on and give their daddy, the driver, a kiss as he came by in the morning. I’ve watched them break up fights while simultaneously navigating Van Ness at rush hour. These drivers serve all of us, including the lowest of the low, and they do it with fairness, professionalism, and civility in the face of what has got to be the most relentless onslaught of weirdness ever visited on a group of humans. (Seriously, people, if you don’t thank your driver every time you get off the bus, you should.)
Four, you make me a better man. I’ve learned so much from you. Thanks to you, I have developed Shaolin monk–like levels of concentration and balance that enable me to read a book while tuning out a drunken rendition of “Amazing Grace,” the latest scandal at Galileo Academy, and the agenda for tomorrow’s power lunch. I can still stay on my feet despite stops that make me feel like I’ve been shot from a cannon directly into the razor-sharp elbows of an Asian grandmother. You never fail to remind me to be vigilant and also to respect my elders. You also teach me not to judge a book by its cover.
I love playing "who's going to give up the seat?" whenever a pregnant lady gets on.
As often as not, it’s the big dude who demonstrates his civic spirit (although maybe it’s not that surprising – he may think he’s performing a public service by making sure everyone else on the bus is fully aware of the latest Pitbull track).
Most importantly, you’ve taught me not to be a self-entitled douche. The people who piss and moan about your being late are often the same ones who expect you to stop and wait just for them when they lag. You’ve taught me that the city belongs to all of us, including the crazies and the tourists and the people who still haven’t learned that cell phones mean you don’t actually have to shout loud enough for the person on the other end to be able to hear you with the naked ear from across town.
You've taught me to budget a little extra time for the unexpected - and if that fails, and I'm somehow late to work, I can always roll my eyes at my boss and sign, "Muni." He knows you, and he understands.
(which may have gotten me out of trouble even when it wasn’t your fault, so I owe you for that too).
Like any relationship, Muni, ours has had its share of problems, and while I may not agree with everything you do, your heart is always in the right place, and you genuinely have my best interests in mind. For that, I’ll gladly put up with your occasional temper tantrums or the days when you’re feeling your age. I know you’ll be there for me…eventually.