Over a fare dispute? What a sad and disappointing waste of life. My heart goes out to the victim, the shooter, the passersby, the strife and tension that led to the interaction. The world of hospital beds, heart-pounding pavement, glass shards and echos between tall buildings; the sickening feeling of your actions leading ahead of you, going places you know you shouldn't follow, saying things and regretting them all at once... it is no place to be.
Sitting in the back of the 41 last week, I listened to two young men next to me. They were discussing mid- and entry-level positions in the prostitution business, and their thoughts on life as would-be procurers. After a time their conversation drifted to larger concerns.
"'Cause life be movin' fast. But that ain't the nature a life itself, we make it that way. People fillin' up all the time, sayin' they saving time by doin' shit faster but you know is' bullshit. They just as busy as before. More busy even."
"And people wonder why they not happy,"
"Man. People be talkin' about yoga, meditation, fucked-up diets- but it's really just about slowin' the fuck down. That's all it is."
Abstractly speaking, we know how to avoid incidents like what happened today. We all know the rules and stance on fare disputes (avoiding them takes priority over collection). But the insistent weight of the day-to-day makes things harder. When life is cramped with stress, we don't operate at our best; the goodness we know we have escapes us. Priorities stutter and burst out of shape. I regret moments when I've spoken sharply to someone, forgetting what's really important. I have every faith in the abilities of the driver who got hurt today (and is still with us, thank goodness); stress leads us away from who we are. I hope everyone involved has a chance to recover, heal, consider things, slow down... and breathe. Let those priorities gently drift back to where they belong.
We, the ever-changing, ever constant human animal, are better than this. We don't need pugilistic activism or rash, fear-based solutions; we simply need to breathe.
8/12/2013 06:09:10 am
Well said, Nathan. As always.
8/15/2013 03:25:15 am
Thanks for the hugs! an I Heart Metro tee shirt would be awesome. I wish there were such things!
8/12/2013 09:51:31 am
Thanks for this Nathan. I've been reading your site for a while (and seen you driving the 49- though I was too shy to to introduce myself) and I've really enjoyed hearing your stories as a driver. As a 4x/per day rider, the friendly drivers always make my day a little brighter and I try to say hello and thank you as a bare minimum with every ride, just to show my appreciation for getting me safely from one place to another. My heart is broken for the Metro community today, and my thoughts are with the driver, the passengers, and everyone else involved. Thank you to you, and every drivers for what you do.
8/15/2013 03:28:06 am
Ali, thank you for reading the site. I'm glad you enjoy it. I'm also thankful for your empathy for the drivers- and for saying thanks to them all- some handle the stress better than others. As a regular rider myself, I do agree that the friendly ones make quite a difference. The reverse is also true- friendly passengers make my day so often! Feel free to say hi the next time you see me!
8/13/2013 02:54:08 am
Beautifully said. Thank you.
8/15/2013 03:29:10 am
Thanks, Phil. I was hesitant to read the comments at first, fearing they'd be a strewing of negatives (not sure why I thought that), so I'm thrilled to hear the positive feedback. Thanks!
8/13/2013 04:24:38 am
I was driving the 2 when the shooting occurred. In the first round of information the coordinator announced, "Please limit your calls to breakdowns and emergency only. We are dealing with a........... a... situation in the CBD (Central Business District). All Southbound buses on 3rd Ave will be blocked at Union Street. All Trolleys, please hold at Stewart street until we have more re-route information." When the call came through I was just pulling up to a red light southbound Queen Anne Ave at Denny Way. I most certainly was going to be affected by blockage. As an operator this is the first thing that you have to assess when the coordinator says "We are blocked here ___" As I made my way to Stewart St. I listened very careful the to the first few announcements about which buses would be re-routed where. Throughout the entire incident there would be around 50 calls like this as information changed and then was repeated so each bus could attempted to circumnavigate the chaos.
8/13/2013 04:27:36 am
but decided to jump ship a few stops later.
8/15/2013 03:33:51 am
...I'm honored. I'm humbled. Thank you, Paul. And in turn, many's the time when I've asked, "WWMD?" in my mind, and it's relieved tension or reoriented me or otherwise brought a smile to my face. When I'm pulling forward after servicing 3/Pine inbound, I hug the curb all they way up to the light during a red because, after all, that's WMWD!
8/14/2013 07:18:12 am
And, this just cheered me up:
8/15/2013 03:56:10 am
Commendations never get old. Each time any kind of positive feedback comes in, I'm completely blown away. It takes time and energy to remember the coach number, the time, etc, to then go find the appropriate website/phone number, and write the actual feedback...I'm floored any time someone goes to the effort. Thanks to all those who have shared their appreciation for their bus drivers!
Bridgett Wonder AKA Mrs. Phil DeVault
8/14/2013 11:20:50 am
8/15/2013 03:36:02 am
Thank you Bridgett Wonder AKA Mrs. Phil DeVault!!! What a terrific name. I'm honored to be a special hum being and a human being! Thank you so, so much for your words on my art and perspective. I'm beyond thrilled at the chance to share it with like-minded people such as yourself.
8/14/2013 11:25:08 am
That would be human being. How embarrassing ;)
Paul Margolis (we met while I was up high on a scissor lift)
8/18/2013 07:31:21 am
Tell Phil the new book looks Incredible!!!
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