Going up 19th Avenue on the 28 Muni bus yesterday, a man got on carrying a long, haphazardly folded cardboard box. My guess is that it was his bed for the night. Without comment from the driver, he took a seat at the front of the bus, placing his box in the center aisle. The box extended across the feet or shins of several other riders; when those riders got off, the box blocked other people from taking their seats. When new passengers got on the bus, they had to gingerly make their way past the box; that proved to be a challenge for a couple of senior passengers who got on with walkers.
Still, the driver said nothing, and neither did any of the other passengers. The man, wearing a hooded UCLA sweatshirt, got off when we neared Golden Gate Park. My brother John, the New Yorker, took a look up and down the bus, and said, “What a tolerant bunch of people.” Heoffered the opinion that on buses or subways back home, the box would have prompted at least one “What the hell is this?” I can’t account for the scene on the San Francisco bus except to think people who ride Muni have probably seen it all and are past complaining or commenting.