|We marched in support of Oregon HB 2677.|
Please join us, for if you think
we're not deserving then
The past week, let me see... drunks, flirts, decent working people just wanting to arrive home after a grueling day serving those masters who underpay them. It's my sincere pleasure to serve, even when I'm insulted by their indifference and rude (yet perhaps unintentional) lack of greeting or eye contact as they board.
I'm numb to such insults now. It's simply a beast we can never tame. Where I was once insistent on every facet of code being adhered to, my only concern seems to be the continuance of my patented smooth roll. Feet off the seats, please. In fact, everything I say now is prefaced with "please" and punctuated with "thank you." My mantra dictates that everything I say to people be polite and respectful. It is my hope they will return this consideration with some modicum of reciprocation. If not, that's when I get chippy.
After seven years of this career, I have learned volumes about human behavior. You can never win an argument with one bent upon raising hell. The only hope you have is to control your own temper and use cunning to outwit your adversaries. Luckily, I haven't had anyone challenge my polite requests as of late, so I believe this approach is working. So far...
My fall run during the week leaves me feeling apprehensive. I've done this before, during the same period of the year. It is a fascinating mix of passengers: professionals with a mix of working class folk, occasionally the smartass high school kid or errant drunken fool. It's a challenge I must face each year, instead of remaining on one line constantly. It teaches me the value of not becoming complacent while also exposing me to a different mix of Portlanders. And I do love my fellow citizens so much... it's a breath of fresh air to experience an entirely-different bunch on occasion.
Perhaps I'll see, once again, those I befriended the last time I rolled their way. Given my constant penchant for promoting JUST DRIVE - Life in the Bus Lane and this blog you're reading, there will likely be new friendships made and mistakes I must learn from. If you go through this career dreading any change, you're missing the wonderful opportunity given those who choose to transport their fellow citizens to wherever they must go. Complacency in any career is something we must all be wary of. It breeds laziness and the possibility of making grave mistakes. As a driver, I must always be vigilant of the dangers others present. They likely are blissfully unaware of the damage my vehicle could cause them, but I am always aware of the nightmare their loved ones would endure if we made contact. Knowing the terror I have of losing a loved one, especially having lost my only hero, Daddy Blue, last year... the fear of my taking someone away from their own family terrifies me. I would never be able to console myself given the horrific grief they would experience.
Sure, I honk at people. My horn is a warning device. Sometimes, my "beep beep" is code for "you're a dumbass, be careful!" which my management frowns upon. They, however, don't have to fear the results of a fatal accident. They're insulated from our reality, but I'm laid open to a public scrutiny they'll never know if my vehicle causes a fatality. They would rip me apart rather than defend me. This is a reality we all know as bus operators. Why our management treats us as "other" is beyond apprehension. Their goal should be to support us, but the past decade has shown them to be unnecessary adversaries. It makes me sad, knowing that if I'm ever "involved," I would be thrown under the very bus I've driven safely all these years. No matter how many safety awards or commendations I've received... if I am involved in a collision that results in grave injury or death, I become personae non grata in their judgmental eyes.
Yet, I digress. Given the feel of a keyboard, I could go on ad infinitum, and that's where you've grown weary with my writing. So I'll stop here.
Thanks for reading.