SCENE I: "Exclusivity is a Bitch." by Kevin Montgomery
As one who appreciates the finer aspects of wearing $5 jean shorts purchased from thrift stores and paying $800 a month to live in a walk-in closet smack in the middle of a Latino neighborhood, I've always been fascinated by the Mexican Party Bus. Legend has it that it was started in the early 90s to provide a fun way for Latinos living in the East Bay to check out SF salsa and dance clubs. "A secret the Latinos of the Bay Area keep to themselves," wrote one of the Bus's first Yelp reviewers. Then a few years ago, white people discovered it. Rental costs soared. Forever gentrified.
So there I was on a rainy Friday night. No plans for the evening. Standing outside of Dirty Thieves after drinking two 16s and a shot from the well, keeping my buddy company as he sucked down cigarettes. Aimless nights such as these never end well. Drink more well whiskey. Drink another pint. Get the brilliant idea to walk to Pop's. Swing into the corner store and buy a tallcan to sip on along the way. Get to Pop's. Do another shot. Do another pint. Wake up in your bed swimming in an ocean of misery and regret. Do it all over again next week.
As the crushing reality of the night's direction set in, the Mexican Party Bus began boarding for its departure from Dirty to some new and possibly exotic location. "Jon, this is a sign from God." We do our best to blend in with the well-dressed crowd and board the bus.
This plan might have worked. But see, Jon was wearing a long trench coat to keep him dry and therefore looked sketch. I was looking like myself, which is inherently displeasing to the eye. We neared the back of the decked-out school bus--because that's where the cool kids sit--and were immediately called out for our lack of class, familiarity, and aestetic. "You're not supposed to be here." "Yes we are, Kate invited us on. Kate's really nice." "We don't know any Kate's." "Yes you do… Kate Sheppard." "You need to get off the bus."
Called out. We turn to the front of the bus. The isles are packed with drunk kids. "Let's go out the emergency exit." "YOU BETTER FUCKING NOT." The assertive young chap kicking us off the bus stands up and gets right in our face. Last time a stranger asserted himself like that to me, I punched him straight in the face. Then I punched two of his friends. Then I got thrown through a glass table. I don't get into bar fights anymore. We walk out the front of the bus, knowing that some random Mission kids are not worthy of such adventures.
SCENE II: "The Mexican Party Bus: Cultural Anthropology Report" by Alan Fineberg
I was leaving Dirty Thieves, trailing after some blog bros I had been "chillin' with" and ready to call it an early Friday evening. Imagine my mild confusion when they were nowhere to be found.
Then, out of nowhere, two of said blog bros were kicked off of the Party Bus.
They dared me to board the bus, and because of my background in Anthropology I turned to Erika and said "I'll do it if you do it." She said she would and so then I did but she didn't.
Now I am on the bus and the bus people say, "Were those your friends? They were d-bags." They were, and they were. They said the bus was going to Alameda.
I waved goodbye to the "d-bags" and Erika as the bus pulled away. The windows were steamy and I couldn't see where we were going. Hopefully not Alameda.
I met some of the nice, trusting people on the bus, and conducted some participant interviews. They are interested in two things: drinking and dancing.
A third interest for some of the bus people was sitting languidly, hoping to calm their roiling stomachs as the bus lurched this way and that.
Two of the bus people got bored and decided it would be fun to kick me off the Mexican Party Bus, but I had buy-in from the other bus people and after a brief confrontation they admitted they were "power tripping." Fortunately, I was permitted to remain in the bus and continue to live amongst the bus people.
The bus people were also interested in stopping the bus for frequent "piss breaks," probably because the Party Bus does not contain a toilet.
After the third stop, I disembarked and found myself in the Tenderloin (which is not in Alameda). I walked out onto the streets of San Francisco, wondering when I would find myself suddenly on a Mexican Party Bus again, what I might learn, and where it might take me.