Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Day 7: Tommy Transit Lives Within Us All

Deke's Note: It's here I'm supposed to "lead in" to this post. All I have is my hope you read this all the way through, and find a way to join Tommy in the A.M., or with us BOTH in the evening. It's well-worth reading,  while also finding time to join my friend's mission in either of two ZOOM meetings designed to bring you UP from the depths of any despair you may feel.

Greetings, from the Great Horrified Wasteland. One of our own making, I'm afraid. We've become spoiled over the past several generations. Now we're paying for it. Our lack of preparedness has brought out the worst in society. It's shameful, and increasingly frightening. I'm sorry this isn't a statement you may want to read, and I truly wish I had the capacity to be less truthful, but it is what we all face.

Don't stop reading yet. There's what is best to come; not only here, but throughout today's version of humankind.

What we do going forward is, well, vital. For each of us. You're who looks into the mirror each day and sees what you are. No matter what others say about you, that telltale look into life's true vision of ourselves cannot be lied to. Perhaps it is on occasion, but our eyes show the inner wisdom of the soul staring back upon itself.

I saw fear in my orbs today. Not only for my own health and my family's, but for that of all humanity. For two weeks now that this "novel" bug has come to terrify all eight billion blue-marble inhabitants.  The pressure cooker of this lack of preparedness had finally taken its toll upon my own being. These eyes were fearful. They were tired, even though I had just slept half a day away. The knowledge of my own mortal frailty magnified by the horrific reality that one of my own could be swept into eternity and I would be left to cope. There is little I can do to protect us against it.

Inverness, Scotland. I musta fought for the doomed
Jacobites, once upon my historic travels.

Staring into the vision of my amber/green/brown irises, that fear became anger. Resolve. A centuries-old ancestral determination to persevere through whatever perils have assailed us over centuries. It all came down to my mirror stare-down. A sudden swell of courage replaced most of the fear, and my eyes cleansed themselves as a single tear of fiery determination fell from each. At that moment, I knew that as I have throughout my 59+ years, I would meet the challenge balls-to-the-wall. With courage, conviction and the belief of an optimist. I know we will become better, stronger, in its aftermath.

Then, I read a few emails from a new and inspiring friend, Tommy Transit of Vancouver, British Columbia (watch this incredible video). He is the inspiration behind my recent reading of positive notes from the famous. I had been searching for a way to dig into those who refuse to acknowledge my hearty greetings as they stumble upon my bus. He has always used personal greetings and compliments to welcome passengers, and they responded enthusiastically. Somehow, he stumbled onto my blog and reached out. It was a magical moment, because he was just what I needed at that time. I wanted so badly to find a way to breach the divide between myself and those I serve. In Tommy's bright personality and methods of the Art of Acknowledgement, he made hundreds or perhaps even thousands of people feel better just by saying a few kind words about their appearance or smile. He found friends in those we might think are best left alone.

As I investigated the phenomenon he represents, I became inspired. After all, one of the biggest reasons I became a bus operator was my love for people. When people stopped responding to me, I began to look inward. What I found was I had allowed the job to dictate how I treat others, rather than reaching from within to spread love to others. That's how I've always approached people: inspire, amuse, and love them. This approach has always helped not only me, but brought me closer to scores of wonderful folks. Tommy reminded me I still had this ability... I had just abandoned it, morphing into a moldy and disillusioned operator in the depths of depression transit work often infects us with. Connecting with Tommy and Michelle was the breath of oxygen my operator's soul took in deeply.

My friend Tommy Transit and his wonderful lass/partner Michelle will launch a phenomenal new venture April 1, called BusDriversOnAMission. Its sole design: to give US hope as we perform what the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has deemed a "vital service" to our communities and country, and by extension, the world-at-large. Through their guidance and inspiring tales of human connection on transit, perhaps we can find a path together. One which connects US with those we serve. Maybe through our common plight, our jobs will be elevated to the importance they deserve.

In the best of times, transit workers are exposed to not only novel-Corona Virus, but many other dangers. Some are intensely more personal and immediate threats to our lives. We are beaten, held at knife- and/or gunpoint, sexually assaulted, spit upon or otherwise threatened. Transit work leaves more of us depressed than most of the world's professions. Yet, we still move people safely, efficiently and often with charm and style. We inspire greatness in those we transport and work with.

We save more than we injure, in great numbers the media ignores. Mostly, because we are largely kind. We care about our neighbors enough to step up where passers-by are too-glued to today's hand-held cop-out. No longer do we memorize phone numbers... they are stored in some "virtual cloud" only technology can access. Once this cloud has forever passed? Without this  connection, we're lost to those we love most. What if only sun existed, erasing every cloud our modern lives depend upon? Some "virtual drought"? Humanity would surely devolve into madness, such as now during this viral hysteria we have become prisoners of.

Over the past two decades, our very heartbeats have become obsolete to the world clock's ticking doom upon humanity. Technology has replaced humanity, from cellphone hell to productivity and actual reality. We have allowed the idols of Moses to be replaced by technological madness, forgetting our pledges to God or whatever humanity we acknowledge, to do right by others. Instead of helping the aged across a street, many instead are glued to their technological gods. We have forgotten the lessons our parents and ancestors deemed vital to our self-respect. Life is now deemed obsolete due to what JoeBadass.com posted today. Pedestrians are ignorant of another's fatal hit-and-run while glued to a tiny phone screen. Their call to 911 is ignored, rendered unimportant by an intense desire to "like" someone's cat video. We lose more to technology than benefits our common good.

Still, there is your transit operator. On time or not, that bus or light rail vehicle is there to transport you safely through time, even as you remain glued to virtual reality. Meanwhile, the truth zips past with amazing clarity. It's horrifyingly-sad that you scrolled past a warning that novel-Corona virus was claiming lives in China two months ago, while our government actively-ignored it. Now, you're glued to the screen watching the warnings you idly ignored for two months whilst technology doomed our very existence. WAKE THE FUCK UP, DIPSHIDIOTS!

Please stop hoarding toilet paper in time to wake up to REALITY. We're doomed if you fail. The shit your phone-stoned hypnosis wipes with but two paper squares pales in comparison to the losses we face. LOOK UP! Not only does Mt. Hood stand in rare late-winter sunshine, but so does the fact your blank stare has already doomed millions of your fellow-citizens to an early grave.

A few weeks ago, as this all came to the forefront, I was confronted with a terrifying short story I could not ignore, so I wrote it (Life Renewed Again On a Bus). It may still become reality, but many of you will not brave yourself to read it. So many can't be bothered with anything more than a two-minute notice of some meaningless meme. Meanwhile, life happens in words wrenched from the soul of a writer. Hopefully, I will not pass before its relevance strikes you between your cell-addicted eyes. My own children likely won't even bother read it, until I become a passing memory. Even so, hopefully the phone-stoned will realize the fate its own humanity faces through this damned pandemic.

I'm tired. Throughout writing this, I've fielded five instant-messaging folks who have been constantly-supportive throughout my blogging life. Deke will turn seven this year, if I survive this stupid bug. Until my last breath, if that's how this blog ends, I promise to bring MY truth in transit to YOU, my beloved readers. Most of all, I pray for YOUR safety and health, along with those you love.

When I regain the seat this Saturday after a two-week forced vacation, I will bring Tommy's "hope" with me. Once again, I'll pluck that wonderful slip of paper from my mystical Oban Distillery hat I bought in Scotland last September, upon which lies another message of hope to share with my passengers. No matter the fears forced unto humanity's forgotten strength, I will endeavor to bring Tommy's positive messages of hope, his Acts of Acknowledgement, and our shared belief that love for one another defies negativity.

ROCK ON, Tommy Transit, and all who prove that our vocation is worthy of respect, in their daily toil to provide an inexpensive ride through the Hell we all endure. May your ride be full of hope for what can be, rather than what the news expects of it.

Peace and safe travels to you all.

With love and blessed hopes for your safe and healthy tomorrow, I am YOURS,
Deke N. Blue
Transit Blogger
Portland, Oregon, USA


  1. I detoured to read "Life Renewed Again On A Bus."

    Damn, I'm tearing up... and that was a great story. Hopefully what is happening now won't get to that point, but damn, it's sure paralleling the start!

    1. Thanks brother. It was written a full two weeks ago as this crisis developed. Now I pray it never becomes non-fiction.

  2. Deke! I miss your Comedy ! My trips are so random but when I ride you alway make me smile

    1. Thank you. I miss it too. Unfortunately, I write how I feel and right now, fear and sadness reign supreme in this writer's soul. Eventually, as time and healing allow, I'll find something amusing to write.