Thursday, December 27, 2007

COMIC: Banana Manifesto

Comic, by Lauren Kohne, based on a true story told by -
Emma and Vince Kingston - SF, CA.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


"If I get this job, I will dred taking the #27 Bus to "Cro-Magnon" and's really Cyril Magnin, but Cro Magnon is pretty descriptive.

People on this bus stink. It smells "homeless" (you know, that homeless smell). This morning smelled like dirty rag and ketchup.

Other smells reminded me of the RTD days in LA, like: eau-de-urine-bus smell and gin-on-the-breath bus smell.

If people have high sensitivities to taste (like those with Geographic Tongue) then I must have a sensitivity to smell. For example, my body acted pretty adversely to the smell of vomit on the street so much so that I almost felt like vomiting.

And god knows, I surely wouldn't want to vomit on the #27.

(But it might add to the wonderful smells nevertheless)!" - Anonymous - SF, CA.

"I got on the bus I was sitting in the back and it smells terrible and it
was not just like someone farted – it smelled like someone took a shit on the bus it was that rank. And everyone was looking around thinking and saying 'what the hell is that??' No one could figure it out – and there was this guy you might have seen him around he hangs out in the lower Haight, some homeless skinny Hispanic guy and he’s really animated. He’s really funny, nice – he’s been around for years always dancing and silly. So he gets up to get off the bus and he’s carrying this plastic bag and all of a sudden I notice this bag was dripping with shit! Wet disgusting, covered wet… and everyone sees it’s him and they say 'oh it’s you! it’s disgusting! Get off the bus!' and he goes “who? What? Me?” and starts doing this pantomime gesturing all over the place – I don’t know if he was drunk or what but he was going to get off the bus but now that he had all this attention he stayed on the bus. And everyone is saying 'NO YOU GET OFF THE BUS!' he has no idea that his bag is full of shit and everyone on the bus is hysterical and he is eating it up!" - Aaron Novik - SF, CA.


"We lived a block away from the bus stop in Queens NY and we only had one car in the family – early 1960’s – and if mom had the car occasionally my dad would take the bus to work. And it was early in the morning. We had a junior high school close by so all these kids would ride the public transit bus to get to school and my dad would be waiting at the stop and all these buses would go by because there were so many kids the bus was too full, jam packed with kids and of course they would pass him by – pass him by one after another. ... So one day my dad was called for jury duty and he went it and in the interview they mention that the case was one that had to do with the public transit so the lawyer asked my dad 'well do you have any discrepancies or any negative feelings about the transit authority?' and he said sternly, 'Oh yes- I – do!'” – Karen - P-Hill, CA.

"He had two hits of e and they brought the dogs on the bus so he took the e. Boy what a bus ride that must have been..." - Anonymous - SF, CA.

"I am really ashamed but I grew up in LA without a car. I grew up on the RATD Rapid Transit but from infancy to age 18 and I was so traumatized by the horror and the infrequency and undependability of ever getting anywhere in less than 2 hrs in LA that I bought a car. I couldn’t do it. I bought a car when I was 16 and I have never gone without a car since. I just can’t handle it. I do the bus only when I have to." - Jana - SF, CA.

"Sometimes when I'm on the bus and there are loud idiots all around me I fantasize that like I jump up in the air and start spinning around and at this point everyone thinks I'm an angel or a magician or something and they shut up and just stare at me for the duration of the ride." John Sakkis - SF, CA.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

This morning on the 21 Hayes going downtown I saw from across the bus a guy all tatted up, cigarette behind his ear, baggy jeans, jiving to his friend about the laws of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. "An' one time he had HELLA jelly I mean HELLLLA jelly - - - " He went on to describe how too little jelly is not good either because the peanut butter gets stuck in your throat. He was eating a p&j on the bus as he was telling these stories and so obviously knew a lot about the science of a p&j.

I wish I caught the whole conversation. So much I could have learned! - Lauren - SF, CA.

Murphy's Bus Law

It was me and a man waiting for the 22 Fillmore. He lit a cigarette and paused. Then I heard him mumbling behind me. ...."rrrr, can't believe it! I lit a cigarette and the bus didn't come!"

I said, "oh just wait another few seconds - it's coming".

And then we hear it squeak from around the corner, "See," I said, "of course the bus comes when you light a cigarette, it's the law after all."

He smiled. - Anonymous - SF, CA.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Religion, Voodoo & Time Travel

"Characters: Hispanic woman (W), White man (M), Homeless Dude (HD)

M: I don't really want to barge into your conversation, but do you go to church?
W: No, but I am spiritual.
M: Then, you should go to Lakewood Church.
W: Oh, yeah, I watch their sermons on television!
She gets up and sits next to the guy.
I love his sermons. He makes it easy to understand and to apply. It helps a lot.

(Homeless dude behind me enters the conversation.)

HD: It doesn't help the homeless.

(The two in front of me ignore him.)

M: Yes, I think his sermons help a lot too. It dissipates all the negativity and makes you feel better about yourself. It helps you get a better life.
W: More people should listen to him. There wouldn't be so much misery in the world if they did.
HD: Yeah, I wish I had a better life. I wish I had a Mercedes too.

(M & W ignore HD.)" - Francois Luong - SF, CA.

"Coming home from work, I'm about to get on the 15 heading downtown from bay view. The construction on 3rd street makes it a miserably rocky ride. The jackhammers, and the clunky thump of a bus rattling over the ugly terrain is unpleasant. I get on, and the driver, a big hairy holdover from the 60's maybe, is in a heated conversation with a passenger in the nearest passenger seat. The discussion isn't actually heated, it's friendly, but passionate, with both men looking frequently at one another while the driver drives. They are talking about God. The driver is a Jew and the passenger, a Christian, and they are talking loudly about God with reverence, respect, and something like love. They say He is like this, or He is like that, and I silently remember what He was like when we used to hang. Then in me something stirs, a fondness, a memory of one once close to me, but one I haven't seen (or believed in ) in ages. But the whole bus, I notice is sunny, bright and it feels cozy and safe. Nestled in the tone of their conversation, I tried to remember God." - Ken Lo - SF, CA.

"A guy tried to put a hex on me on the bus in Chicago..." - Lucas - SF, CA.

"Muni / Sunday / Carnival / Double Dutch – On the 22 in the back of the bus with Lauren and Leslie. About 16th and Mission he gets on; a homeless man with two large bags. He has trouble getting a seat and makes his way to the back. He sits one seat up to the left of us. He turns to me and begins to talk about genocide in Africa. He expresses concern and is confused why people would do this to other people. He asks me if I heard the news. I ask him if he’s speaking of Rwanda. He says yes and tells me he just heard it on the news earlier today. The genocide in Rwanda happened 13 years ago. I wonder for a moment if we have gone back in time. For a moment I believe we have. Our stop comes. I tell him to take care. He says 'may the force be with you' I answer, 'and also with you.'” - David Patrelli - SF, CA.

“the bus is a myth” - Anonymous - SF, CA.

"around the holidays in 1999 I wrote 50 thank you cards and gave them to the bus drivers on all the lines I rode most often. I got a lot of confused looking faces. They were probably wondering what the hell I was giving them” - Anonymous - SF, CA.

"#5 Fulton. When I ride the bus I am either face down in a book or playing sudoku so that I don’t’ have to deal with anyone. So this time I was playing sudoku and I just looked up and looked over and I see this Nun sitting in the front which is just always suprizing to see a Nun out in the real world. And then I had almost sat next to this guy and I was greatful I didn’t because he was 'the obnoxious guy on the cell phone' really loud and then finally he gets off but I mean they’re just brodcasting their personal business – so I am back playing sudoku and then a cell phone goes off and it’s the most obnoxious ring you could ever hear and it doesn’t stop for some reason the person is just not getting their phone. And I look up and it was the Nun’s cell phone and she was just so flustered by it – she couldn’t find it. And then she finally found it and was having this normal person converstation about things she’s doing. It s like a reality check like, ‘oh yeah Nun’s are real people too'” - Andi Clegg - SF, CA.

Next Stop

By Francois Luong.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Kids cont...

"As kids when we got on the bus we used to add up the number on the transfer and it they added up to 21 it was considered a 'lucky transfer'." - Logan Mein - SF, CA.

"Working in the Presidio last year, I would pick up the 43 at Haight and Masonic. Waiting for the bus one morning, I sit down on the bench next to a young, straw-haired boy, maybe 3 years old, and a round, pleasant woman who appears to be his daytime caretaker. The kid is learning colors. The bus is brown. The scaffolding is green. The car is yellow. He has been showing signs of a musical gift for drumming. He is slapping out rhythms on his knees with an uncanny sense of timing. The kid goes to some kind of school for musically gifted children, somewhere on the 43 route. He is on his way to school. We have been waiting for the bus for a long time. I am late for work. The little boy is going to be late for school. He is still pointing out things he likes, and naming them. This kid doesn't have a care in the world - more so than most kids. Finally, the bus arrives. We are happy. The kid blurts out, "That's domino!" I stare in amazement at this little boy who has just uttered the coolest expression of joy I've ever heard, who has suddenly presented to be the hippest drummer since Art Blakey. I look at the boy's caretaker, but she just shrugs. "I don't know where he came up with that, he just started saying it one day." I am picturing musically gifted children sitting around the playground eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and playing dominoes, betting the unwanted items their parents packed them for lunch.

Clearly, I went to the wrong school." - Jeffrey Blumenthal - SF, CA.


"I was on the N-Judah and a man comes on with his young son (maybe 6 years old) who sits next to me. They must have had a long day, because the son was so tired he starts nodding off, soon forgets where he is and his head falls to rest on my shoulder. I thought, 'how cute this little boy is sleeping on me and he doesn’t even know who I am'” - Anonymous - SF, CA.

"When I was 13 I went across the states and I took the bus, the greyhound. I didn’t have any money. No food. By the third day I was so hungry. Then this person sits next to me and starts eatin’ something. So many people eat on the freakin’ bus. And I’m like (drooling sound), but I didn’t say anything." - Gamin Mader - SF, CA.

"When I was 14 I ran away from home. I was on the bus in Richmond and I was scared the bus driver was going to notice me so I snuck way down in my seat and everybody started to get off the bus cause it was getting late. I just stayed in my seat. We were riding for like 30 – 40 minutes. He knew I was there though ‘cause then he says ‘look you’re gonna have to get off the bus’ and I said ‘ok I will’ and he said ‘but I, I’ll be back around’. He knew I was not supposed to be there. So he drops me off way out at the end of the line and he said, ‘just go around this corner, wait there’. He pointed at a bus stop I could see the bus stop he said ‘ ill be back in 20 minutes’ I had to climb a fence to get there and I was there for around ½ hr. I was scared. I thought ‘oh I’m gonna get taken off into slavery or somethin’ yanno? ‘Someone is gonna steal me’. So I’m sittin’ here and he finally drives back around in the bus to start another shift. He had a cup of coffee and a donut for me. I got on and just went back to the BART." - Gamin Mader - SF, CA.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

"Shit gotta catch that bus"

"Another time Brian was going home from work. He saw

his bus but he was so far away 'shit gotta catch that bus'

so he booked and ran as fast as he could. It turned out

that his co- workers were watching him. They were blown

away and started cheering him on. He caught the bus. His

co-workers then called him to congratulate him on his

victory." - Heather Speck - SF, CA.

Monday, December 10, 2007

"Rocking Lady"

Rocking Lady the bus stop on the corner of Divis and Haight.

She smokes multiple cigarettes at a time.

I was infatuated with her. She wears a sweatshirt that says 'Whatever'.

COMIC: "No Change"

Comic, by Lauren Kohne, inspired by a true story - Gina Callos - SF, CA.


"I ran all the way to the bus stop and waited an eternity." - Anonymous - SF, CA.


* Driver Dan offers advice and social observations regarding bus etiquette and the social ramifications of bad bus behavior. He prides himself on his keen observational skills, as he has been a bus driver for over 20 years. Dan knows what's up with the bus.
Dear Driver Dan,

I ride the bus to work every morning. I often stop at Starbucks to get a Frappacino for breakfast. Sometimes a cute barista named Jason talks to me and makes me late. I totally have to run to catch the bus. Some days the driver stops and lets me on, other times he just keeps going. Why? Why is he so inconsistent?

Leigh Ann - SF, CA.

Dear Leigh Ann,

You think I don't know who you are?! I know who you are. Every morning you pull this bullshit with me. "Please Mr. Driver, please I'm late for work!" Well ya know what? I'm not late for work. Give me a break. I drag my happy ass out of bed every morning to come pick you up. You could at least have the decency to get to your stop on time. Coffee? I like coffee. It's 7am, everyone gettin’ on the freakin’ bus has coffee. Does anyone think to get one for me? No! You all get that fancy SF pure, organic blah blah stuff too. None of that burnt up 7-Eleven swill for Leigh Ann & Company. The stuff tastes like styrofoam and cinders but I drink it every morning. Gets me goin’. I don't like the fancy coffee anyway. That mocha, latte junk is a little too sweet for my taste. But I will say if it were offered to me I'd drink it. It's the gesture Leigh Ann, the thought. Yanno, I do think about opening the bus doors for you. I really do. But just the thought, the thought of opening those doors and hearing that whiny little voice of yours, "Oh my God! Thank you sooooo much! If I'm late one more time my boss is totally going to kill me!" Blah, blah, blah... Sometimes I just can't do it. I can’t let you on and here’s why:

Nirvana has been attained on the bus. I long for these trips. No amount of weed has ever zoned me like these trips. It’s a special moment. Everyone, even the kids just spaced out. Eyes glazed, bodies bobbing around with the movement of the bus. Starin straight ahead. You can even hit a big old bump in the road and it don't matter. Perfect silence. Pure peace. No crazy people, no bad smells, kids aren't screamin'. Perfect harmony. And then here you come running around the corner. Red in the face, mouth hangin'
open, arms all akimbo! You always appear on one of those days. I do not want you on my bus, plain and simple. You will steal away my one chance at perfection; Nirvana. I will not attain this for days, weeks even. Maybe never. No way buddy. And it's not just me. The other people don't want you here either. I can read it on their faces. They stare blankly at you then turn away. Slow like. That's how I know. They all turn their heads slowly and settle right back into the zone. It's nothing personal. I'm sure you are a nice person. You're just not right for this trip. Catch the next one. It's got a bunch of teenagers nattering on about some party last night. And that old lady that piddles her Depends right there sittin’ next to ya. That's your trip. That's where you belong. Knock on my door some other time kid. Maybe then you’ll be ready.

"The 24 Divisadero Escape"

"The other day I was on the 24 and all of a sudden everyone looked toward the back of the bus - I had my headphones on so I didn’t know really what was going on - I thought “I guess there’s something going on in the back of the bus”. There were these kids in baggy clothes messing around in the back. There was a huge slam – I didn’t see anything – I don’t know what happened. Then one kid goes to the second exit in the back and was waiting to get off. All of a sudden the bus driver, a stern looking pissed off guy, got out of his chair, marched over to the kid, got right in the kid’s face, was telling him off and pointing at him, just ready to kick his ass and the kid was just standing there indifferent to what the driver was threatening – The driver finally sat down, but the kid wanted to get off and the driver wasn’t letting him off the bus I didn’t know what they were going to do with each other. So the kid breaks the emergency exit box for the back door and tried to push out of the door and he can’t get out still – so he goes to the window and opens the emergency exit on the window, jumps out and runs away." - Crystal Gallant - SF, CA.

"Mormons on Muni"

Tom Lawless - SF, CA.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007


"Back in the day we used to skateboard behind the buses." - Logan Mein. SF, CA.

To Run or Not to Run

You see the bus just slightly ahead. In this moment there is a window of time in the possibility of catching it.

There are Risks:

- Running downhill
- Running through crowds of people
- Time constraints
- Carrying heavy bags or breakable items
- Wearing high heel shoes or a non-secure shoe

Of course the biggest risk is getting hit by a car while trying to catch the bus. No matter how inconvenient it is to have to wait for the next one, remember, catching the bus is really not important enough to kill yourself over. But that’s not to say that catching the bus isn’t important, because who really knows when the next one will show. So if the coast is clear and you are well equipped – run dammit RUN!

Monday, December 3, 2007

"Running the Bus Down"

"This happened when I was a young bureaucrat at the environmental protection agency. After the earthquake in San Francisco our offices moved to Mission St and 8th. I had to get from south of Market to some downtown federal office building, because I was teaching a class to all these guys from the pacific islands on how to do wetlands protection. So I was wearing a suit (which was very unusual for me), heels, nylons and a narrow skirt and blazer. I only had 15 minutes to get across town. So there I am out South of Market waiting for this bus and it comes and he stops but he doesn’t stop all the way and he looks at me and he doesn’t open the door. And then he drives away, so I start going after him. I’m sprinting to catch up in my outfit, my skirt, he keeps going and I’m banging on the door. He’s just shaking his head. So having been an athlete I hiked up my skirt and started chasing this busman (in my heels) I chased him to I think 4 or 5 stops and I actually got there before he got to the stop and same thing I would just bang on the door and the guy would not open the door. So finally when the bus got to Market Street. I think I literally ran all the way from Bryant to Market – and I was starting to really sweat and my ‘put together’ look was not so put together anymore he finally had to open the door because other people were getting on and I just looked at him and I said “I’m taking your number right now” and he just said “you’re a fucking white cunt” and everyone was looking at me as if I was being agro whereas I had to chase this bus 5 or 6 blocks just in order to be allowed to get on it and then the guy called me a ‘fucking white cunt’. I only had another 4 or 5 blocks to go to get into the federal building and when I got off the bus the driver swore at me again! Running the bus down in my lady like outfit." Lisa SF, CA.

"Another time I was waiting at the same bus stop on Bryant St and this bus driver came by and he looked at me and he didn’t stop and I was also wearing a business outfit and I got so angry and all this rage came out from my last bus driver experience that I kicked the window (door) and I actually cracked the bus door window glass by kicking it and the guy gave me this look like I was a complete psycho and then I looked up at the bus stop to see there was a sign that said the buses were going to temporarily not going to stop there so he was actually not being a jerk. I had this huge guilt, shame experience that I had destroyed public property, and appeared like a psycho for no good reason whatsoever." Lisa - SF, CA.

"Brian & the Bus"

"I stayed the night at Brian’s house. In the morning I usually drove my car home while he took the bus to work. So I got in my car and drove off, but got stuck at the stoplight at this huge 4-way intersection at Geary and Park Presidio. Then Brian appeared out of nowhere. He saw the bus across this huge intersection and had to catch it so he ran - against all odds – right into the face of traffic, diagonally across the intersection to catch the bus. He was like an animal. He shot across yelling “hay HEEYYY!!” It looked like an impossible thing to do but he caught it." - Heather Speck - SF. CA.

COMIC: "Brian & the Bus"

Comic, by Lauren Kohne, inspired by "Brian"
story above - Heather Speck - SF, CA.

"Usually I work on Haight, but once and a while I’d have to go to the office on Polk St so I had to take the 19. That has got to be the most notorious bus route. Some people say that the 9 is pretty dangerous, but I think the 19 is the most craziest bus route. I mean on that day I heard people planning robberies, selling drugs out in the open... Everyone is shady on that bus. So it starts going up Polk into the TL and some big tall black dude yells for the bus “Hey hey hey!” and the fuckin bus driver doesn’t pull over he just keeps on driving and the guy is cursing and yelling and trying to run after the bus but it’s too late, we’re gone. So we go a couple more blocks. Suddenly the black guy shows up again he’s running after the bus and he managed to catch up to it and he’s running along the drivers side banging on his window yelling, “mother fucker ahhhh let me in!” and so finally the driver lets him on the bus. Big mistake – don’t let somebody onto the bus after you’ve (in an obvious way) not let them on – But he did so then all the guy did was stand there right in front of the bus driver and curse him out for the next 3 or 4 blocks till finally the bus driver defected to saying “look I’m gonna call the police” – so he got off." - Anonymous – SF.

Issue #1

check out the website: to purchase a copy of issue #1 "Introducing a Bus"

Otherwise ahem... consider this your brief introduction to "stepdown" and idea conceived after many years of riding public transportation in many cities around the world. It is always an adventure... or... something like that....

Enter this blog at your own risk. Nothing is withheld.