San Franciscans are all too familiar with Muni and its various forms of public transportation. But the Muni Bus offers something that the rest do not...
Simply put, Muni Bus is a carnival on wheels. And the most entertaining routes that never disappoint are the ones that run in the hilliest parts of the city. Oh, and Chinatown.
Now, I did say that San Franciscans are familiar with Muni's existence, but I did not say that they're familiar with how to ride Muni.
Ride the 1 California line and you are in for the biggest treat of them all.
Take a moment to picture your most favorite roller coaster from childhood. Got it? Good. Now, you know the cars they strapped you into? Replace them with a giant bus. A Muni Bus. Push "play" and picture that same roller coaster resuming its normal, curvy course.
This is what the 1 California line is like.
With people packed in like sardines - sardines without seat belts - the Muni Bus makes its ascent up the steep hill. One would assume that the daily riders of this route are savvy, quasi-athletic folks who've a great sense of self and the most stable centers of gravity.
That ain't the case.
When the bus hits the hill you will see approximately 40 uber-surprised individuals flying to the back of the bus, colliding with each other like someone has just broke a fresh set of pool balls. They go everywhere.
Through the windows they are only able to see slanted buildings and blue sky ahead of them. Briefcases are dropped; lunches tumble out of plastic bags; someone invariably almost steps on an apple; a small, elderly woman and/or young boy gets stampeded; strangers embrace awkwardly; and a LED marquee at the front of the bus flashes a message in blood-red text - "PLEASE HOLD ON!" Yes, in caps.
Then the plateau. Everything is quiet when the wreckage bears its ugly head. Disheveled people try to put themselves back together and gather their stray articles. In this moment, somehow, amazingly, unbelievably, everyone - everyone - forgets about the sharp dive that's still to come.
The nose of the bus lowers, and we come over the crest to see the street disappear underneath the vessel. Then the opposite of everything that just happened happens. People are thrown forward with mercurial force, and by now the bus driver is laughing uncontrollably. Tumbling fools catch glimpse of the LED marquee that is still taunting them with its message...
And they want to murder inertia.
When the bus finally reaches the valley, smoke, steam and hatred practically spew and seep from the bus' crevices. The doors open and people fall out, in no way ready for the workday that awaits them all.