As someone who enjoys working from the comfort of bed, we guffaw at those who take corporate buses. But not everyone is laughing. SF Chronicle columnist Caille Millner, for example, has had it with Google bus passengers and their flippant ways. Well, one of them.
Recently, at around 9 p.m. on Market Street, the scribe was waiting at a bus stop on an island with an older woman. When a Google bus dropped off a herd of nerds, that's when things got ugly.
One gentleman bounced down the bus steps and pushed his way in front of us to get his bicycle from beneath the bus. As he hurled it out onto the bus island, it hit the woman standing next to me. She glanced at me, mute and horrified, and in that moment I sensed that she didn't feel able to confront him. So I did.
"Excuse you," I said loudly.
No response. He was busy fumbling with his messenger bag.
"You hit her," I yelled.
He glanced up in no particular direction, as though suddenly troubled by the buzz of an insect. Circling his head around, he finally noticed where he was - the bus stop, the night, the fact that there were other people around him.
"Sorry?" he asked the air, in a tone of confusion. Then he climbed on his bicycle and pedaled away. He never looked at the woman he had hit.
I now have definite feelings about the Google bus.
My suspicion is that though this unfortunate incident may have been isolated, it's also one that will resonate with many locals, for it touches on all the things about those buses that make us feel twitchy.
Millner goes on to point out a "lack of civic and community engagement" by tech workers now living in San Francisco. (Which could be true. Getting wasted in Dolores Park or dining at Flour + Water on weeknights does not make one particularly civic-minded.) She also goes on to note that "nothing about the concept of 'working in Mountain View' will ever make me envious." Which: heh.
However, "Chris," a Google bus rider, suspects Millner is envious of something. He comments:
There's definitely an undercurrent of jealousy in this article and many of the comments. As someone who's relied on "the Google bus" to get to work for years, however, I'm slightly jealous of those who can find jobs doing what they love in the city. If I could keep the same job with the same company downtown or mid-Market, I'd trade my comfy 2.5 hour round-trip bus ride for a cramped 30 minute subway ride in a heartbeat.
If you don't like seeing the Google buses and their companies' lack of civic engagement away from their headquarters, perhaps you should push the city to do more to encourage Silicon Valley companies to open offices in SF. That way they'd have much more of a vested interest in civic engagement within SF (ex: Salesforce.com)
Photo via Uptown Almanac