Now that backpacks are en vogue and thus de rigeur on all forms of public transportation, your fellow passengers might want to pummel the living merde out of you should you wear one on a crowded Muni without adhering to these helpful tips:
Do NOT wear your backpack on any form of public transportation
I know this is a hard one to follow, but it’s imperative for public transit peace —especially during rush hour. Whether or not the train is packed, your bulbous backpack will hit someone. Take it off. Carry it. This isn’t your high school campus.
Do NOT take up two seats, one for you and one for your backpack
This might — might — be ok if there’s hardly a soul onboard other than youself. But if you’re taking up two seats, one for you and one for your wearable luggage, someone might post your photo on social media, calling you out, and shaming you for life.
Nestle backpack between your legs while standing
In the timeless words of Jack Nicholson in Five Easy Pieces, put it between your knees. Literally. Not only will your bag refrain from interfering with your fellow passengers’ commute, but it will also be safer from possible theft.
While moving through the train, put your backpack in front of you
Either pull your sack to the front of your body, or remove it and carry it in front of your stomach. I have seen (and, alas, personally started) minor dust-ups over rude backpack wearers on a crowded J-Church. Wear it forward like you would a swaddled infant.
It goes without saying, but wearing a backpack outdoors is far different than wearing one on BART, Muni, a bus, or a cable car. Even if it only holds your gym sneakers and a Luna bar, you need to think of it like you would a piece of luggage. Bags and purses are different in that they don't take up so much precious space. Another thing to keep in mind, kids: It is far easier to pickpocket from a backpack being worn on the back. Think about that the next time you carelessly shove your wallet and phone into it.
* Disclosure: I have broken all of these rules while wearing my gym backpack on the T-Third line. Alas.
This article was published in 7x7's September 2014 issue. Click here to subscribe.