This past week has been somewhat tough for me. I had to say goodbye to the one thing that I have learned to appreciate most in San Francisco, the 41. The 41 is the MUNI bus line that I took to and from work each and every day for the past three years. And now that I am no longer employed, I (sadly) no longer have a reason to ride the 41.
For a previous job, I used to commute to and from work in my car. Twice each day, I would drive over the Golden Gate Bridge, taking in the most breathtaking views, all the while belting out Top 40 hits at the top of my lungs as though I were an official contestant on American Idol. Driving in the confines of my own car, I never could have imagined how amazing public transportation in San Francisco could be. Before the 41, I never knew that life could be so…exhilerating!
In the early days of riding the 41, I was going through a terrible break-up with my ex-boyfriend of six years, Dick. (Please note that the name Dick is not his real name, but rather a well-suited name that I carefully selected to conceal Dick’s true identity.) After breaking up with me, Dick moved out of our once shared apartment and into his own studio apartment only a few short blocks from my own. We not only rode the 41 together each and every day, but we also shared the same bus stop as well. It was AWESOME. And by awesome I mean, not really…at all…in the slightest.
The break-up with Dick was pretty excruciating for me and I was suffering from a severe case of heartache. As we all know, when you breakup with someone, the last thing you want is to have to see that someone. And I didn’t just see Dick, I rode the 41 with him each and every day for months on end. When I caught the early bus, Dick also caught the early bus. When I caught the late bus, Dick took the late bus too. Even though our 6-year relationship was never in sync, for whatever reason, our daily bus routine was very much in sync. And this needed to stop.
It was a rainy evening when I decided once and for all to put an end to our shared bus rides. I must have gotten some sort inspiration from an episode of Survivor because I really don’t know how else I could have conceived the “Kick Dick Off My Bus” plan. I spotted Dick standing alone, waiting for the 41, at the bus stop outside of his office. The bus was extremely crowded that evening and I was smushed up against the front glass door of the bus. I really didn’t want Dick on my bus that night and in an instant the plan was kicked-off. I quickly informed the bus driver that the boy waiting outside for the bus was my ex-boyfriend and that I didn’t want him to get on our bus. Without any hesitation, the driver happily obliged and just kept driving. I had somehow miraculously formed an alliance with the 41 MUNI driver.
Not surprising, the very next morning I was once again sharing the 41 with Dick. Gaining inspiration from all of my successes from the night before, I was ready to move into the second phase of the “Kick Dick Off My Bus” plan and gain control of my territory once and for all!
The bus stopped outside of Dick’s workplace and with my heart beating fast and heavily, I followed him off the bus and sternly declared the 41 as my own. I explained to him calmly that he needed to find a new way to get to and from work each day. He might have been able to dump me in the days before. But my new alliance with the 41 had made me stronger and more powerful than ever. That morning, Dick was officially voted off the 41. I didn’t see him on the bus or at the bus stop again for quite some time. Him avoiding the 41 was pretty much the best gift he had ever given me in all of our 6-years of dating.
Once I officially gained control of the 41, it opened up a whole new world of opportunities for me. Over the years, I had acquired several bus crushes on the 41. There were the morning crushes and the evening crushes. I made girlfriends on the 41; girls who I would grab drinks with or go to the gym with after work; girls I would meet at the nail salon and share a mani/pedi with. Sometimes I picked up guys on the 41 by “casually sliding into them” when the bus took a turn. Other times, guys would take notice of me and ask me out.
Last summer, I even managed to fall in love on the 41. (I’ll refer to this guy as “Ryan” because he liked to think that he shared the same good looks as Ryan Reynolds.) Ryan had been making eyes at me for weeks on the 41 before finally asking me out. He was tall and attractive and he had a muscular physique where you could tell that he worked out on a regular basis. His clothes were definitely questionable though. Everyday, he would pair his navy sports jacket with a pair of heavily pleated slacks (which made him look 10 years older than his actual age). His tongue was often times sticking out, resting on the lower lip of his mouth. (It was kind of endearing and cute, in a weird way.) Each morning before we met, Ryan would listen to his iPod shuffle, read the San Francisco Chronicle, dance around in place to tunes that only he himself could hear through his headphones, and pass me winks each time he looked up. And even though this guy had no concept of wearing pants that were flattering to his own body type (and age group), I just knew I had to accept his invitation when he eventually asked me out…after following me off the bus and walking me to work one morning. No smart girl in their right mind would ever say no to “Ryan Reynolds” asking them out. The real Ryan Reynolds is extremely hot and the boy on the bus wasn’t half bad!
Ryan was a high-powered attorney at some top notch law firm in the city who had graduated from Harvard Law School several years before. Throughout our summer romance, we carefully coordinated all of our bus trips together. I would text him every morning from my bus stop to let him know exactly when I was getting on the 41. A few bus stops later, he would meet me on my bus. I would always apply a fresh coat of lip gloss right before he got on the bus and I always saved him a seat next to mine. Sometimes, if Ryan needed more time in the morning, I would buy him a banana at the local convenient store next to my bus stop. After only a few short days of courting me, Ryan was officially my my bus boy and I was officially his bus girl.
Sometimes Ryan and I would publicly flirt with each other on the bus and sometimes we would flirt privately via text message. Some mornings, we would share one set of headphones so that we could listen to the same playlist on one of our iPods. And sometimes, Ryan would even hold my hand (but only if he was in an especially chipper mood and momentarily forgetting about his inherent commitment issues).
We would always, however, get off the 41 at the Starbucks closest to my office where he would buy me a tall chai tea latte and a banana for breakfast each morning. (Note, you can’t eat food on the 41. Not even bananas.) Over the summer, I was so happily into Ryan and loved every moment that we got to spend together, especially those moments that were shared on the 41. It was all so very sweet and perfect…until his commitment issues became more and more apparent to me. I eventually realized that I was way more into Ryan than he was into me. And shortly thereafter he he started taking a much earlier bus to work and I started buying my own bananas for breakfast again.
Ryan wasn’t the only boy I dated from the 41, although he was the only one I ever really cared for on that bus. There were so many others that I had dated over the years. My favorite game to play on the 41 was to see how many ex-boyfriends I could ride with at one time. If two or more were on the bus with me at the same time, I would win the game. I won this game a lot.
I often use the 41 as my pick-up line at bars for when I approach men. When I see someone who’s attractive, or someone who I want to speak to, I immediately ask them if they ride the 41. Even if I don’t recognize them from the 41, I still feel like it’s a good way to break the ice with someone I don’t know.
Clearly, the 41 is a huge part of my life that no longer exists. And I can’t help but wonder, if I no longer ride the 41 will my life become boring? Will I no longer find men to go out on dates with? Will my girlfriends from the 41 no longer want to hang out with me? Most importantly, can I still use the 41 as a pick-up line now that I am no longer a loyal rider?
I wonder where a Marina Girl like myself can find a good pimp to ride…with.