I scribble down notes on transfers at red lights sometimes so I remember all these little moments. I'm looking at a note right now that says "kind of ugh lady tries to give me a kiss, then tries to kiss waiting passenger afr. lady, she and i share a weird/grosss smile."
That about sums it up.
"Kind of Ugh Lady" was getting out at Walden, really enjoyed the ride, and wanted to express that by kissing me. In my opinion this was entirely unnecessary. Her corpulent, significant form leaned toward me in a hug, gently tilting the bus with her weight (or so I imagined). I restrained myself from saying "no kissing on the 7," and instead turned my head away and thanked her. I locked eyes with the passenger waiting outside who'd been watching this awkwardness- that's the "Waiting Passenger Afr(ican) Lady." It didn't matter that she and I didn't speak each other's languages- it was obvious we were both thinking the same thing, which was, "eewww!" She avidly stepped away from Kind of Ugh, who approaches her with similar intentions. WPAL got on and we burst into laughter.
A young African boy standing at Rainier and Seward Park Avenue recognizes me as I make the turn. "Yosef!!!" I thunder out, as if announcing a starting lineup. "Nathan!!!" he screams in reply. The guys who always stand around by the haircut place glance over, confused at this heedless expression of joy. Yosef had been on the bus earlier that day.
Same with another young guy, except this time his name is Ahnus;
A mild-mannered teenager in the requisite thug getup comes up before we hit Cloverdale inbound, urgently asking to be let off. A group of girls had just walked past the bus. I look around, wondering if something's amiss.
"Sure," I say to him, slowing down.
He says, "I think I fell in love, goin' the other way, as we crossed paths." I smile. I can get into that.
"Like ships passing," I say.
"Exactly." There's something of a poet in this young man. Appearance means nothing.
An older East African woman in the chat seat, silent with a friendly air. She watches me, head tilted, smiling through wizened eyes at my interaction with the different people. I meet their dialogues halfway, without consciously thinking about it.
I'm waiting at 5th and Jackson to start my shift. A man sitting in the back of another 7 is gesturing wildly through the window at me. "YOU'RE FIRED," he yells through the glass. It's that guy! We exchange waves. (I've mentioned him in the past when he was on my 3; the phrase is his new trademark).
Androgynous Safeway Passenger gets on at Andover, as (s)he is often wont to do. He/she always has a great, warm air, as if excited to be here. I know I am. I think the fact that she's just getting off work helps. Dressed like a man, shorter with glasses, body full of energy, coiled like a spring.
Jermain's friend is standing at Walden, not at the zone but waiting to cross the street, and we recognize each other at the same instant- big wave, his "heeyyy!" still audible through the glass as I drive by.
Again, waiting at 5th and Jackson, I'm waiting on the sidewalk and someone in the back of another 7 recognizes me- this time it's Jermain, all smiles- who I will miss. We do a through-the-window fistpound. The girl sitting next to him watches wide-eyed. The next 7 rolls by, and Big Guy is sitting in the back, and he recognizes me as well, his dreads flailing in the air as he does a double take, and his crooked teeth flash in an expansive smile. With much silent gesturing we communicate "hey," "what time you come back around?," and "other side 5:30."
Carl with glasses comes up from the back once he recognizes my voice on the speakers. "I just had to come up and say hey!"
I'm riding the 41 home, exhausted but happy. I'm standing on the packed bus by the back door, looking out the glass at the platform at Convention Place. There's a young couple sitting together on one of those white benches. They're trying to lean heads against each other, but he's a little tall, and she's a little short, and they have to kind of crane their necks to make it happen, looks maybe a little uncomfortable- but they don't care. It's worth it.