Names people have called me while on the job:
Full Meal Deal
Most Polite Bus Driver Ever
Motherfucker (as a term of criticism)
Motherfucker (as a term of endearment)
Awesome Bus Driver
Ching A Ling
(Photo by Tim Willis)
No Small Moments / Exuberant
Down at the bottom of the Valley. Everyone's always excited to have finally made it to Rainier and Henderson. You can't really streamline the 7 without ruining the point of the route, and it's a longish ride. "We made it to Henderson. This is Henderson Street, right by the High School, Elementary School, got the Community Center here, also grab a 106 or 107..."
"You goin' all the way to Prentice?" someone yells. Oversized jumpsuit and shaved head.
"Oh, yeah! Goin' all the way!"
"Yeah! We made it this far, we're not gonna give up now!"
He settles back into his chair, laughing. A girl in the corner smiles.
Interactions like this might sound utterly negligible in written form. I told someone where the route goes. Great. Or consider me greeting a "straight-up gangsta" with a "hey, how's it going?" and to hear him respond in kind and then say, to himself, "I like that;" it might read like a tiny, throwaway moment, over before it's even underway. I beg to differ. As Hugo wrote, "there are no small moments." The interactions above may have been brief, but they did happen; and what they reflect is something real going on inside the heads of the people involved. There was a shift in their minds, excited, calmed, awakened by an unexpected kindness.
I'm willing to bet that Straight Up Gangsta was not anticipating a courteous hello from the 7 driver. But he got one, and that gesture, though small, indicated something larger- an unexpected attitude coming his way, a lack of judgment perhaps, of being treated on a neutral plane- whatever it was, he was into it. The gestures are transient, but they all mean something. The energy in your eyes, the timbre of your voice, the way your tear that transfer off the cutter- those are not what make people happy or angry. It's the attitudes those actions reveal. I don't need all the passengers to feel happy, but I want them to feel accepted and relaxed. Acknowledged.
Basically, I want the place to feel like a living room.
In the spirit of taking note of small moments, here's a smorgasbord of them from the 7-
"SVI Lady" breaks off from her dealer friends at Martin Luther King when she sees me pull up. We do our special handshake. She's putting her life back together. Whenever we meet, she always tells me how her time at the Vocational Institute is going. Some months afterwards I ran into her again at 5th and Jackson; I have a short break these days there on my 358, and I like to wander around the plaza there and chat up the familiar faces. A lot 7 passengers and drivers pass through there. "You know I be makin' that money, baby," she informed me last week. She had finally got her certificate and a well-paying job in construction.
A guy at 8th and Jackson, pretending to give me a hard time about fare before revealing that "he just messin' with me," as he knows me from before.
James Street, outside the Morrison: "I like that thing you do, man," a dark-skinned middle-aged fellow tells me. "I don't know how you do it." His friend says, "you a little bit too nice!" I help up a man with leukemia off the floor; he doesn't have the strength to use any of his limbs.
A runner, yelling. "WHOA WHOA WHOA," he says. I open the door with my hands in the air. There is a stress in me- I don't care for people yelling at me- and I try to quell it internally. "Dog! Hey, you don't gotta yell at me, my friend! I was already gonna stop!" He gets it, nodding and thanking me as he catches his breath. Then he looks at the passengers and says, "Man! You got so many righteous people on this bus!"
Brian Jobe is driving the 14. I see him pull up at 5th and Jackson, with a full house inside. I hop on for a moment, saying hi to him; then I stare down the aisle at all the passengers. It's a good mixed crowd. Before I know it I find myself speaking to them all: "Guys," I say loudly, with mock seriousness, as if I'm saying something important. "This driver is gonna be Operator of the Year. He's the best driver in the system. Be nice to him, say hello on your way out. He's a good guy." Brian's cowering away from the mirror, laughing. He's not Operator of the Year, but he ought to be. Hope I didn't embarrass him too much.
The Great Mr. Webb is driving the 14. Same thing, different day. He's having a spirited conversation with someone at the front- no surprise there. People start to file onboard. This time I get on, interrupting everyone, yelling "Weeeebbbbb!"
"Nathan, what the hell are you doin' out here?" He's laughing already.
I don't even know why I'm smiling so much. He has an easygoing, offhand sense of humor that jives well with my enthusiasm.
"I don't even know, man! Lez get outta here! Let's go for ride!!"
I can't really do that, of course, because I have to drive my own bus in less than a minute, but he closes the doors and moves the bus forward a few inches. "Alright man, we're doin this, let's go!"
"What the heck are you doin," I say with mock surprise.
As he opens the doors to let me out, I holler out, "Thanks for that great ride, Mike!"
"Yeah, we'll do it again!"
"I had a really good time!"
I say bye to the crowd on the bus. Some of them recognize me. Hopefully they don't mind me clowning around.
Saying hi to Smiling Phil, one of the resident Belltown characters. Sometimes he'll ride a round with me to stay warm. He's a book lover. His little cart carrying his belongings has a broken wheel. I help him haul it on. Later I learned that another operator who knows him bought him a new cart for his birthday (Subsequently, I found out that cart broke as well! Phil, this is getting outta hand!).
Once again, I'm on my break at 5th and Jackson, taking up space. Today the timing is perfect; I'm absurdly late- just late enough to see my old 7 route, the same trip and everything, pull up. William, the driver, recognizes me and I leap on. William has more seniority than me, which is how he got this 7 before I could snatch it at the pick. But nevermind; I'm exuberant. It's my old baby! I know the two passengers at the front, and yell surprised hellos that threaten to sound scary; but I'm honestly just that excited. Again, the source of this ebullience is a bit of a mystery to me. Why is this so exciting? Who knows, but it is. Getting back in my old living room, I guess.
"How's the 358?" William asks.
"AMAZING," I respond. He laughs. "It's unbelievable. Crazy. Almost as good as this. Man, I can't even tell you, I so badly wish I still had this piece on the 7, but I'm glad you got it, cause you're a good man and we want a good man on this thing-"
"Oh, Nathan- you can have it!"
We both laugh.
"I'm gonna be a father soon," a Caucasian man tells me at Rainier and Brandon. He's young, tough, with sun-scarred skin, a lot of sharp edges and tattoos. But his voice is as gentle as can be. "Congratulations," I said at the time. Over a year later I saw him on the 358, clear on the other side of the county, and I recognized him instantly. With him was his girl and a baby basket. "Heeyyyy, dude!" I say. He lights up.
"Is this the new baby?"
"Yeah!" he says, still the same odd amalgam of genial roughneck. He lifts up a blanket to show me the baby, who is cute, pudgy, and sleeping. He doesn't say too much else, but his happiness is palpable. You feel him growing into himself.
While not bus-related, I wanted to share with everyone the latest set of photographs in the Photography section of the site. Hope everyone's enjoying the holiday.
You gotta love these guys
So I'm driving the 3/4, southbound from Queen Anne. It's around 10am. Doing the route in this direction is fun, because it gradually gets more interesting as the route progresses. Nothing ever happens in Queen Anne (which is fine, I guess), but as we come off the hill and into Seattle Center things begin to get lively. At Broad a grizzled man in his late fifties steps on, with clear blue eyes and silvery stubble, the picture of an aging sailor, save for his tan trenchcoat, stained and torn from life spent on the street. He's off to the jail for his daily sign-in; he's on an extended probation where he has to physically clock in every weekday at an appointed time.
We chat about that, and about his love for movies- "You like films?" He asks me, enthusing further when he discovers I do. "I love films too! God, I just love the movie Jackass. D'you know Jackass, have you seen Jackass?"
I have not seen Jackass.
"Yeah, it's great. My friends and I make films, too."
"Oh, really! No way!" I'm excited at the shared interest. Or perhaps not quite so shared-
"Yeah, we make 'em just like Jackass, dude. There's this great building right off a Aurora in Green Lake, and we go behind there and get the camera out, and start doin' all this dumbass shit! Jumpin' over fences and shit..."
Such enthusiasm from a man his age and appearance excites me. Never mind that he sounds like kids I didn't hang out with in junior high school. It's the light in his eyes, the joy he feels about describing the act of creating something. I ask him how long he's been making films, how many, whether it was a tight-knit group or just something that happened. He encourages me to go there, "just behind some of the bars, next to the crazy-ass fence. We go there real late on Monday nights."
I haven't found time to check the place out.
Also at Seattle Center a young hipster gets on, dressed in a fitted red button-up sweater, bracelets, and a knit cap. White guy with a smartphone, but friendly enough, giving me a quiet smile. One of those guys you see walking around Capitol Hill.
At Bell we begin to fill up. I continue chatting with Grizzled Jackass-Loving Sailor, mostly about his probationary requirements. An extremely large man of ambiguous heritage takes the steps one at a time. When I say extremely large, I mean that he could be a capable sumo wrestler if he so chose. He seems nice enough. The section on Third from Cedar to Pine, inbound, is fun because the Queen Anne people are still on board, and they want nothing to do with the rollicking adventures of the Harborview crowd, who have begun to enter and are making their presence felt. You gotta love these guys.
Gradually the Queen Anne group filters out as we roll down Third, and the bus balloons into a standing load. We are a wayward collection of humanity, just the way I like it- a lot of conversation, not just by me but amongst the people. Lifts, walkers and questions- interaction. Feeling useful and alive.
As we rise up the hill, approaching the stop for the jail, Grizzled man stands up, but that's not what's interesting. Big sumo wrestler man is grabbing on for dear life, but that's not it either. It's the young hipster with the red sweater.
The bus is pitched uphill at what feels like 45 degrees (actually 18.3%), and slowing to a stop at the zone. I'm concentrating on keeping it smooth, braking with the power pedal and hill holder. Red hipster is inching his way forward through the crowd, searching for the front door. He climbs up to where I am, grabs onto the grab bar, leans forward a little to maintain balance, and- and-
Vomit spews out of his mouth as if gravity never existed. It looks like split pea soup mixed with urine and feces, and smells like milk from a year ago. Because of the angle of the hill, it flows downward immediately- a watery, putrid cocktail of gastric acid and bile; the kind of vomit that makes you vomit. Better hope you weren't wearing open-toed shoes or sandals today. There is confusion, and then there is pandemonium.
Thanks to a couple of inches, none of it is on me. I grasp the mic and revel in the chance to restore order. "Alright my friends, this bus is now unsanitary. We're gonna call this an unsanitary coach; let's go ahead and use that backdoor to get outta here, and shortly..."
It's a recipe for panic, but you can keep the mood if you keep them informed, and make your good attitude known. It also helps to appear competent. I look twelve, so I have to work a little harder at that.
The vomiter is probably expecting to a talking-to or a brushing-aside. I want to counter the embarrassment he probably feels, and step off the bus after everyone else to spend a few moments with him, chatting and giving him paper towels and making sure he's okay. I wait for a supervisor and laugh off the incident with a few other passengers. This is partly because its my instinct to do so, but also because there's no way I'm getting back inside that bus. Split pea soup is officially wiped from the menu for several months. In time the great Titus shows up to give me a ride to another bus.
"He really let it go in there?"
"Oh, man. It let go of him!"
"Yeah, man. It smelled...good, dude."
He laughs. "I know whatchu mean!"
It wasn't the guy going to jail, or the big unpredictable sumo guy, or the people in walkers...it was the regular, healthy-looking, well-spoken young fellow who got on in Seattle Center. There you go. In a way this was comforting. Gotta break down those stereotypes.
"Why is that idiot stopping in front of us?"
Me: "'Cause there's a bunch of cars stopped in front of him. He doesn't want to run them over."
"Oh. I see. I thought he was trying to be a jerk."
"No, he's just trying to be a gentleman."
Nothing in particular happened. It was a busy, rainy day on the 358. Massed traffic, bodies, rain-spattered windshields and fogged glass. Minutes accumulating, ticking by as we move through the molasses of Friday night gridlock. And yet, there is this lightness in the air, this energy... Where does it come from? It might be the really good apple you just had on your break, or it might be the smile in that passenger's glance, or a few people kick-starting your positive demeanor with their own pleasant attitude. Or some elusive, ephemeral current underneath everything. Who knows.
What it feels like, to be honest, is that it's you. You got this energy from somewhere else, sure, but now it's you. You're feeling at the top of your form, at your best, where you know what to say and how to say it in every moment, whether charged or languid. You feel completely and wholly yourself, comfortable, talking for nearly your entire shift. Somebody, a passenger, comes up to the front, preparing to get off, and you ask them about their day. You ask them why they get off at this stop and then walk up to the next one, and they explain their routine. Later on someone else wanders forward. You ask if it's their Friday, and if they're ready for the weekend. Of course they are. Pretty soon a person will come up and sit just because (s)he wants to talk, and has been watching your interactions with everyone else. The interactions can be small- gestures, loaded pleasantries- or larger conversations.
The conversations can be ordinary (sharing a love for reading real books) or not so much (A friendly guy ominously and repeatedly saying, "I sound like I know a lot about Paul Bachtel and Neal Safrin, don't I?"). On occasion you get the front area of the bus chatting (today the Deseret Industries Lady was once again asking about the the RapidRide stopping at 180th, as she is wont to do; a group of us attempted to placate her, with enjoyable but minimal success). On other occasions you get conversationalists who make you glad that they won't be there all day (a lady, upon learning that I'm part Korean, asking if I'd ever seen a Black Korean person before, or if they existed), but this happens less often than one might imagine.
It's been said that breathing through your mouth produces a different mental state than inhaling through one's nostrils; I can say that talking for four hours while driving engenders a strange and pleasant sensation. Your brain divides into two spheres. One sphere devotes intense concentration to all aspects of driving and safety; the other sphere is considering the human interaction you're having in all of its complexities- moderating it, enjoying it, learning from it- knowing when not to speak as well. Both are demanding intellectual pursuits, and to be doing both at the same time results in a heady sort of exhilaration- if you stop and think about what you're doing it falls apart, but if you can keep it going, staying in the moment, it works.
It foregrounds one of my favorite parts of the job, which is that it requires so much from you- particularly mentally- that it's difficult to think about other things. Maybe on easier routes (238!) your mind can drift, but on "Nathan routes" (if you'll allow me) there's no room for wandering. I enjoy this not because it distracts from life's problems and postpones the solving of them, but rather that by being out here, your time feels productive. You can't spend all day indoors stewing over money problems and what to do about relationships. We learn a great deal by observing those around us, helping and hearing them, and effecting positive change, however incremental, in others.
Additionally, there is something cleansing about existing purely in the ever-fluctuating present. Garth Stein once extolled the virtues of driving as an activity that forces a hyperreal awareness of the present in such a manner that you have no choice to do otherwise. We all speak of the benefit of not dwelling on past or future, but driving 358s or trolleys, like other complex activities (art, sports), requires that mental discipline. "To remember is to disengage from the present," and it can't be done, as lives and jobs are at stake. Maybe I exaggerate. At the very least, the heady joy of driving and talking resembles the wonderful sensation of approaching the limits of what you think yourself capable- planning a complex speech, taking on that five-hour police application test, writing a 300-page thesis paper- and pulling it off with aplomb. After a while you might get great at it, and you might phone it in every once in a while, but those days when you're there, when you choose for whatever reason to really check in- it makes everyone involved excited. I'm into that.
The Great Leveling Plane
I'm a passenger, riding the 41 home after work. The evening runs are always packed; oddly, Metro only runs the service every half hour after 8pm, creating overloads and passengers turned away every night besides Monday. As we pull up to Westlake Station, the seething masses await- people of every stripe, ready to go home to the North End. These aren't the 9-to-5ers; this is the rest of the world, us folk who work funny hours or have multiple-transfer commutes home.
I'm sitting where I always sit when I ride the 41 home after work: first forward facing seat pair, door side. It's the Nathan seat. I have the picture window on my right, I have the front right windshield to look out of, I'm close to the front of the bus so I can get off easily, and I'm part of the front "lounge" area- I kind of like being in that open section where people sometimes talk. Plus there's a place to put your right foot that's comfortable but hard to explain. If you've sat there, you know what I'm talking about. As the seething masses board, I often glance up out of curiosity.
Right now there's a young Caucasian boy walking on, early twenties, underweight, with thick glasses and pale skin- the type that doesn't see daylight often. Before technology became the prevailing currency of our lives, he'd be the type begging to made fun of (have you noticed how "geek" and "nerd" have largely lost their derogatory overtones over the past 10 years?).
And, just behind him, is a dark-skinned fellow of similar age, well-proportioned, dressed in dark layered clothing. Headphone paraphernalia hangs from his neck, and he swaggers on in what Tom Wolfe famously calls the "pimp roll." He brushes past the young white boy, saying "watch out," not quite knocking him off balance.
Thick Glasses stands for a moment unfazed. The other guy, bent on getting to the back lounge, had vanished into the crowd in a flash, but our friend at the front says after him, in the voice of an ornery schoolteacher, "the proper word is excuse me!" Then he sits down in one of the side-facing wheelchair seats, right in front of me.
Seated across from Thick Glasses is a middle-aged Filipino man, with a physique verging on Samoan. He has an intimidating, authoritative physical presence, and, were he an actor, could play a pretty terrific tribal leader/samurai patriarch/aging bouncer. You get the picture. Anyways, he stares down at Thick Glasses for a long time. No one else has responded or commented on Glasses' passive-aggressive truculence. Glasses feels the stare, and glances up from time to time. There is the feeling that a verdict is about to be given in the front lounge; either the youth's comment will be laughed out, or his attitude will be criticized, or maybe just ignored.
Finally Samoan Leader says, in a reflective voice, "that's true."
Thick Glasses looks up again, vindicated. It's a strange moment. Enough time had passed in the Samoan's silence that Thick Glasses looked like he felt ignored or silly. To have confirmation from the intimidating tribal bouncer created a synergy between the two of them that was special. They were no longer "antiquated-old-guy-that's-both-cultural-outsider-and-past-his-prime" and "future-billionaire-nerd-that's-too-geeky-even-for-the-Geek-Squad;" no. No, that wasn't it. The walls collapse, and they're two people, friends by default of the fact that they share the experience of living this life; friends with appearances that don't matter, born worlds and generations apart but who are now here, yes, on the same plane, agreeing about standards of basic human decency, something they both think about. They talked a bit more. I lost their conversation in the darkening roar of the express lanes, but you read the important stuff on their faces. Woefully different superficially, but whatever, we're here now, sharing ideas together, seeing this stranger not as "the other" but just another voice, not so different from my own.
This is one of my favorite things about the bus. It is the great leveling plane. In no other space in society do all classes, especially here in Seattle, where the full 99% rides the bus- nowhere else is the vast, all-singing, all-dancing spectrum of humanity existing together, without preference, talking together, and- more often than we give credit for- getting along together.
Childlike vs. Childish
At some jobs, you can have a pretty good idea of what you'll be doing this time a week from now, or a month or year from now. At this job, you don't know what'll be happening in the next five minutes.
As I pull off of Aurora to make the stop at southbound 46th, I hear a the yelling hoarseness of a loud, gruff voice. A regular commuter is standing there, in a blazer and slacks, holding a briefcase. He's listening to the gentleman standing next to him. This second gentleman is clad in an oversized- and we do mean oversized- Seahawks jersey, blue jeans that look older than I am, and items on his feet that you, long ago, could call shoes. His presence is strong, and formidable; his Adam's apple, oversized in much the way his Seahawks jersey is, adds depth and range to his gravelly voice.
His face is a few inches away from the commuters', and he froths and gesticulates at him with wild abandon. I'm reminded of the Norman Rockwell painting, "Abstract and Concrete;" except here, the commuter is the square-looking gentleman, and the frothing Adam's apple man is the Pollock-esque painting in front of him. Also boarding is a squat, nondescript woman in dark clothing, carrying a few bags of odds and ends. She's quiet.
In a rare turn of events, it's the commuter who chooses to sit further back, and Adam's Apple who sits towards the front by me. I'd never seen the guy before, but this didn't stop him from giving me a fistpound as he gruffly blared, "you're a good bus driver!"
Squat lady vanishes from view. As we cross the Aurora bridge, I listen to Adam's Apple continue to yell hoarsely. Who is he talking to? Is he bothering other passengers? I can't tell. Nor can I ascertain what he's saying- the low, rumbling frequencies of his voice line up a little too well with the dull roar of Aurora traffic. At Lynn I turn around and ask him if he's talking to me. I'm thinking to myself, this guy looks just like Jackie Earl Haley. He says no, holding up his phone, explaining in a voice that manages to be both stentorian and guttural at once-
"I'm talkin' to my girlfriend you wanna say heeyy?"
Of course I want to say hi to Jackie Earle Haley's girlfriend. "Heeyy, how's it goin," I say, pulling out of the zone. It's a relief to make contact. He's coherent. I love it when they're like that.
Less than a minute later, passing Aloha, Squat Nondescript Lady comes up from the back, stands next to the wheelchair seats, and returns to the rear of the bus. As she does so, I think to myself, why I am suddenly smelling the overpowering stench of liquid paint?
"Did somebody just spill some paint?"
Jackie Earle Haley is on it. He helpfully explains the situation to me as I try not to sideswipe cars at Mercer: "Get that bitch outta here, dogg! Hell yeah, she spilled paint everywhere, look! She be huffin' that shit back there, I see you right now, bigass bitch! Somebody get that lady off a this bus 'fore we all get hella high! That shit'll wipe out your brain cells for life!"
The man has a point.
"Plus that quiet-ass bitch has a machete! Call the cops dude, let's open some windows in this motherfucker!"
All very astute ideas. Other passengers get on board with opening windows. I throw the doors, call the coordinator, and explain the proceedings. Commuters quake in their seats as Jackie Earl Haley and myself attempt to rein in the situation. The coordinator doesn't try to avoid helping, and is proactive about sending assistance. "Let's get everybody outta there. We don't want anybody fainting," he adds, possibly more to himself than me.
The gold paint, splattered on the floor and seats, is amazing in its potent, foul odor. Overwhelming. I tie up the bus on Wall Street, calmly explaining to the passengers what needs to be done. I reflect that Jackie Earle Haley, formerly known as Adam's Apple, wasn't the problem passenger at all, as I might have worried when I first saw him haranguing people at the bus stop. He ended up being a help. We fistpounded again as he left. No, it was the regular-looking chubby gal in a hoodie who kept to herself. I watch her slinking away, machete in one hand and cans of paint in the other. As per Metro rules, I don't attempt to detain her. After all, I don't like having arguments with people carrying three-foot long razor blades. Just a preference of mine.
Childish vs. Childlike
This is on the 7. I'm on Third, slowing down for the wire at Cherry. A thin, older African-American fellow stands up and says in a reedy voice, "can I tell an innocent joke?"
"You make riding the bus a pleasant experience."
That was all. He meant it. I didn't think this statement qualified very well as a joke, but it was definitely innocent. I looked at the man's face, and on it was an open, bald honesty I almost never see. He had the long gaze older people sometimes have, but there was something else too.
It was the sincerity you get from a child who hasn't been hurt yet, who doesn't yet know the pain of wearing yourself on your sleeve. A sentiment from another world, one without irony, without cynicism and all the rest. And yet, looking at the wrinkled lines framing his eyes, the leathery hands and fading silver hair, you knew this person had seen things, been hurt and loved, and experienced the glorious and terrible extremes of life in the modern age. He was not a child. But he had the ability to be fully open before the world, wide-eyed, without the protective armor of anger or resignation. Such a thing is not easy. I admire that.
Just wanted to let you know that I've updated the Photography section. This time it's a selection of photos from various musical/performance sessions~
Just a few people left on the bus as we drift down Third. Two dear friends of mine have just sat down toward the front, and a young woman in black is seated halfway down, an audience watching, smiling and laughing, as a gentlemen comes up to the front and settles into the chat seat. He's got something to say, and we get it said, at high volume-
"Hey, I wanna tell you something,"
"I wanna tell you something for real."
"I been watching you, and I jus' wanna say,"
"I just wanna say, I been payin attention to your style up here, and man, you got somethin' goin on. I been watching the way you treat the people, man, and you got a great attitude."
"Oh, you're too kind!"
"No, man, don't gimme that. I'm serious. I'm a tell you- as a black man-"
"As a black man-"
"I'm a only say this one time. Cause I mean this. You got common sense."
"Oh, I try!"
"You know what common sense is?"
"A definition of common sense?"
"Yeah, common sense."
"Well, being reasonable, for one,"
"Listen, man, you can't be throwin' this away. I'm a only tell you this one time, cause I mean it."
"I'm a marine!"
"I'm a marine! And I'm tellin' you, as a black man-"
"Aw yeah, do it-"
"Listen now. You are honest, and sincere, and you care about people, and you got life in you!"
"I try. I'm a try- I hope I can live up to those words-"
"Dog, don't throw this away. I'm tellin' you somethin'. You know have those things inside a you, and that-"
"You got to acknowledge the great things about yourself."
"Thank you. You're awesome."
"No, you're awesome!"
"But listen, it goes both ways. If you sense it in someone else- if you feel it, you got it!"
"Don't be turnin' this shit around."
"You're very generous!"
"You have an effect on people. You have an attitude,"
"And I can tell you ain't fakin' it."
"Thank you. To get this kinda feedback, man, for you to say this, means-"
"And I'm tellin' this to you as a black man- what's your name?"
"My name is Nathan, what's your name?"
"Black Man, it's a pleasure!!"
"I'm a only tell you this one time!"
"I'm tellin' you- as a black man! I don't say this stuff to everybody. You got a beautiful thing goin' on, man, you keep it up!"
"I'm a keep it up. I'm a do my best!"
"I say this to everyone- naw, just kidding!"
"Listen, my friend, thank you. I'm honored."
"I see you laughin' back there, girl, don't you be laughin'!"
"Hey, thank you."
"My name's Ray."
"You're awesome, Ray. Have a great day!"
"I already am, Nathan. You too!"