What I have to offer are the details of my own experience. The more specific a story is, the more universal its applications, oddly, because it becomes more relatable, contextualized, and comprehensible. This is most notably true for stories with very little obvious relation to our own lives. Most of the audience for Brokeback Mountain isn’t gay cowboys. But who doesn’t relate to the crippling loneliness Heath Ledger feels in the last third of that film? We feel it because his circumstances have been rendered with great specificity.
In this way, I hope the details of my experience and those of my riders, as I record them on this blog, have some relevance to others. To quote one of the better overlooked films of recent years: “I am all I can offer.”
With that in mind, here are a few posts summing up my 2018. What a year it’s been. I’ve never had one like it. A film shot, a book published, various TV and radio events, a workplace award that’s a first in several ways, printing my heart out in the last color darkroom, and being knighted– whoops, named– by Seattle Magazine as one of the city’s… I still don’t believe that one. I can’t say it. I’ll let other people say it, but I’m not gonna say it.
This isn’t just a recap of the year’s most popular posts. It includes things you might have missed (like grumpy Nathan on Comcast!), moments that are more personal, and some explanation on why there’s a certain type of post I write more than others.
More on the Telly
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.
We're human, in other words. But we make the effort. Because why not.
All my posts are personal moments. But here are three in which I'm not a bus driver:
Despair is the problem we all live with, especially now. The question of how to wrestle with it is also what my book climaxes on. When I say these posts deal with despair, what I really mean is that they are about hope:
2018 marked one of the last dying gasps of color film photography, which is weird, because film is unquestionably the fastest growing trend in photography right now. Evergreen College apparently didn't get the memo.
On Leaving the 7, and Returning to It
The 7 is my baby. It's the big-chested, many-headed, top-of-the-food chain, eye-of-the-pyramid flagship bus route of Seattle. Rolling that thing up Third Avenue feels like nothing else.
The Type of Post I Love to Write
I love all the posts I write. But I find myself writing a certain sort of story more often than others. I do it unconsciously, without a political or socially oriented motive. I just feel compelled to share these moments. Something about doing so feels at once essential and joyous.
I have many different categories of peeps. There are the Art Peeps. The Film Peeps, as detailed above. The Street Peeps. There are Friend Peeps.
Then there are Straight Up Peeps.
Straight Up Peeps are my fellow bus drivers. It’s an unfortunate fact of American life that whether you like it or not, the people you most see on a daily basis… are your coworkers. Hence the nomenclature of Straight Up Peep. Doesn’t it really improve things when they’re people you actually enjoy being around? I love my coworkers, even in the rare moments when I can’t stand them.
On the 5/21
Why am I driving the 5 and 21? Why indeed. I still don't know. It has to do with boring contract-related reasons that led to the reblocking of a lot of shifts, and a bunch of forced overtime on the nighttime 7 and 49. With the amount of artmaking I do, I don't have time for overtime. The start and end times of shifts take particular precedence for me, and thus I'm temporarily visiting, substitute-teacher-style, on the 5/21.
And finally. This is the one you read before going to bed. Just a quiet moment at the end of a quiet night, Abdi and I chatting under the amber sodium streetlights.
See you in 2019!
[Photo by Celia Berk]