Mount Hood was brilliantly shining in our star's graceful light. People were out and about, taking advantage of this Nor'west rarity before the routine rainfall drowns the brief wonder. I drove a route out of the ordinary routine, recalling it from memory and hoping nothing had changed since we last made the roll. It was the same, and that was good.
The main reasons I took this job were not only necessity, but my fondness for people and a love of driving. Now that I have over five years behind this particular wheel, it's easier to pay attention to more than the ordinariness of the job. "Scanning" has taken a new avenue while I roll. Sure, I watch for the normal dangers and my head swivels more than a teenager's watching babes in bikinis, but I see more than I once did. Buildings that were under construction when I last drove the route have been completed, and new ones are rising. Neighborhoods remain visually as I recall, but paint jobs and people have not. Now I see architecture in the homes, the street art gracefully reaching out to passers-by, new businesses replacing old. Refurbished, majestic homes that have stood since the dawn of the 20th century attract me; those torn down and replaced with mega-modern/charmless half-size eyesores sadden me.
No matter the aesthetic changes, the feel of Old Portland remains. Is it "Weird?" Not really. It's just Portland, man. We're a city of infinite possibility and finite leadership. Someone could leave here now as a child and return in 20 years and find its feel hasn't changed much. Kinda like my old desert hometown... whenever I visit, it's as if I never left. The faces remain. A bit more lined and gray-haired, but so am I. The visions of me as a 9-year-old tooling down side streets on my Schwinn Stingray are as real as the Rexall on Main Street.
As I've grown into a Portlander, I've seen some changes come about, and feel new roots have grown within me. The old Sellwood Bridge is rebuilt anew; Tebo's fell to the car-dealership axe; the Tillikum came about in my tenure as an operator; Line 4 will soon be split in half. Changes become aesthetically-copacetic in a world surrounded by the unsettling. As long as we still have Mike's Drive In, Wonderland, Roake's, Broadway Books, Annie Bloom's and Powell's, life here remains comforting. Likewise, as long as there's a transit steering wheel in my hand, I remain a constant in our city's evolution.
Ahh, sunshine. If only for the wink of an Irish boy's eye, it's a refreshing wonder.
Long term forecast: rain showers followed by sun breaks and more rain... for the next three months or so. Today however, I enjoyed the respite. The weather doesn't change very much up here. As long as my wipers wash it away, I still have the most evolving view of this city, in my rolling office.