UPDATE: The TV segment has been corrected, rendering all of the below moot. Click here to watch. I'll leave my thoughts below up awhile longer because I've received some good feedback and discussion on the ideas; but the important thing to highlight here is Diane and Tim's integrity in going out of their way to change the segment. They didn't have to, but they did. Thank you!!
In case you missed it (I did!), I was on The Seattle Channel last week, in one of their ongoing segments about local luminaries and goings-on. I'm not sure I qualify for recognition alongside the Workers Rights Committee and Wings for Autism, but I'll happily take a seat alongside their Pet of the Week segments, especially those cute lil' one-year old female ferrets.
I don't like watching myself onscreen (which is why I've still never seen this 2015 commercial),* but I enjoy making these projects and meeting the fine folks who create them, and I'm hugely grateful for being highlighted so. A warm thank you to Diane Duthweiler and Tim Pearson for being the loving maestros they are.
I made the mistake of recommending this to watch before actually watching it, and having now done so I feel duly compelled to address this program's opening lines: I do not assert, nor have I ever, that I am "the only happy bus driver." I understand the inclination for television to artificially amp things up, but am disappointed that took place here. Any quality I may have in that direction I've appropriated from others, especially other operators. For more, click here for details on what exactly I've learned from the hundreds of other happy bus drivers.
Diane and I had a pleasant conversation revolving around these lines that didn't make the cut; I harbor no ill will against her or the pressures she's understandably up against to deliver a catchy and digestible piece of television. I'd simply like to contextualize for the record. She asked me reread this blog's opening post, and wondered whether I still stand behind its words. I found the exercise instructive. The opening lines read as follows:
What blog is this? You might be tempted to ask. It's the happy bus driver blog. There's only one of those. There are other blogs written by jaded or unhappy bus drivers, armchair transit enthusiasts, educated local historians, cynical bus riders, gearheads, and so on.... This is the only blog where the author simply talks about the nice things that happen on the bus. You'd be surprised at how often it happens.
I'm guessing this is where she got her opening lines from, but semantics play a role here: it should be apparent in the above that I'm referring to blogs, not bus drivers. Yes, this is the only blog by a bus driver centered around positive perspectives. No, I'm not the only operator with a good attitude. The ridiculous hubris and outrageous disrespect in such a statement makes me blanch, which is why I'm harping about it here.
In our conversation, I replied to Diane's thoughtful query by saying the only thing I'd change about the lines now is that I'd walk back on the implied judgment in the phrasing above. Six years later, I have a more clear understanding of how understandable it is to be frustrated, disappointed, jaded or otherwise dejected as a public service worker– whether regularly or from time to time. It's okay to be unhappy as a bus driver. It's okay to be unhappy walking down the street. I get it. I just try for the opposite.
Click here to watch the 5:31 Seattle Channel segment in any event.
*Although for some reason I have no problem watching this piece on me by Brian Bell– maybe because the focus isn't on me but on the analogue medium.