Man with Box


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.

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6 Replies to “Man with Box”

  1. You really don’t know why this happened in the Bay Area, when it surely would not have been allowed to happen in the United States? It’s because the people in the Bay Area believe that this man, by virtue of his poverty, is *better* than them, and is above such bourgeois concerns as basic politeness.
    He might be killing people for their wallets every night, but that would be only because he is kept down by the Rich White Male Hegemony, who got him addicted to meth.

  2. Greg: You’re right–that’s an issue, and the driver should have dealt with it.
    bill: Nice theory–but if this guy is bucking The White Man, it must be noted that he is of the pale persuasion himself. As to the rest, it’s terrific that you’ve managed to explain the world so neatly.

  3. This kind of tolerance looks more like fear, indifference and “I don’t want to get any ON me.” Also nice to see The Kaczynski Look thrive in the Motel Crate Community. Hood over hat keeps the foil anchored.

  4. Actually, the guy was white and looked to be in his sixties or there about. No harm done…he was trying to get from point A to point…B. But it was funny to see people pretend like he wasn’t there.

  5. IMHP, it’s more an issue of people not wanting to be involved with the guy. He obviously doesn’t care for the comfort of others so he’s not likely to take kindly to their “friendly” advice. The bus driver doesn’t get paid enough to deal with it and for the most part doesn’t care about the passengers safety either (I have had both ends of the spectrum in San Francisco, from a personal ride after the bus was off duty to a driver who yelled “Hold On… NOW!!” and zoomed away from the curb before an older gentleman could make it up the stairs sending him almost to the floor; most of the drivers just seem annoyed to be there).

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