I've said before how this job ages me five years for every year I work it. Since I'll soon mark my fifth year as a bus operator, I doubt that I've aged 25 years, but my face betrays the stress we all endure behind the wheel.
I'm scared sometimes. We just "banded together" to show Portland how assaults affect us. We all wonder if and when we'll become another number. A grisly statistic. Who will take offense to our insisting they abide and respect the ride? Will I live through this job, or retire into a casket like so many of our brothers and sisters worldwide? These thoughts, and the toils of the job, all add to the aging factor of your friendly bus operator.
After Big Bro told me this, I studied my face in the mirror, comparing it to the youthful mug captured in training. In five years, lines have replaced the smooth contours of my countenance. Looking deeper, I see my soul is scarred. Sure, most people are kind and I enjoy meeting them as I maneuver the Beast along our quirky lanes. But everyone who boards these days is met with my "Will you be the one who scars me forever?" look. I hate that. People have always fascinated me, and I've met some pretty cool folks along the way. Until lately though, I've never looked at them with trepidation and hesitation. My once rose-colored glasses are clearer than I prefer now.
Thanks Portland, for always giving me more reasons to grin than frown.