When the Chronicle parted ways with suburban sourpuss C.W. Nevius, Chuck's thrice-weekly column was taken over by Salon founder and Season of the Witch author David Talbot at least temporarily. That seemed like a nice breath of fresh air, but Talbot’s transfer may be reaching its expiration time. Today’s offering, "A Day on the 9-San Bruno," sets out to find a little San Francisco rough trade, finds none, and ultimately retells other people’s stories while teasing that he might write another column about Uber and Lyft soon.
Why couldn’t they have made C.W. Nevius ride the 9-San Bruno back when he had Talbot’s column? Now that I would pay for a digital subscription to read!
The 9-San Bruno is indisputably an endless source of local color on the Muni system, It’s not quite the “Dirty 30” where live chickens might commonly be found on board, but it’s also not one of our most scenic Muni lines either. The 9-San Bruno is a bus line where the statement ‘Excuse me’ could set off a verbal or physical dispute, and where transfer-less riders will sometimes try to board with a shopping cart.
“The young men in my house laughed when I told them I was riding the 9 that day,” Talbot says of his assignment. The young men in your house? Do go on....
But there is frankly little of note in Talbot’s day on the 9-San Bruno, which is why much of his article just retells other people’s stories. In his own experience, he says “the passengers were generally quiet, most of them plugged into their music jacks. And the bus driver was polite and professional as he navigated the traffic-clogged route. In fact, it was the most serene commute I’ve experienced in San Francisco in a long time.”
There is but one marginally interesting anecdote in today’s Talbot’s column.
The only excitement occurred when a tall transgender person with flowing auburn hair and glamour-girl sunglasses jumped aboard at a San Francisco General bus stop, accompanied by a couple of friends. “Bitch, you wanna get off this bus and fight?” screamed one of them at the auburn-haired beauty. Here we go, I thought. But then all three erupted into mad swirls of laughter. “Bye, tranny!” cackled the merry belligerent, who exited at the next stop. “Auburn” was silent for the rest of the ride, idly stroking a tiny pooch.
And that is the best he can do. From there, Talbot chats with the driver to fill his article with someone else’s stories, and then muses about how the streets are now “clogged arteries created by Uber and Lyft” and that “I’ll have more on this in my column next week.”
Crackling Muni stories these are not. If you’re in the mood for some, we highly recommend the article — and the comment section — in our post Ask A San Francisco Native: What's Your Worst Muni Experience?
Related: The Ten Most Scenic Muni Lines