We're discussing a situation "where I believe some profilin' was takin' place," as he puts it. He'd been chatting on the phone on an Eastside route.
"Were you loud?"
"No, man, I was conductin' a conversation in a regular tone,"
"Good, okay, good,"
"When the driver turns and says, 'you need to get off the bus. I need you offa my bus.' And I said, driver, what I'm doin' wrong?' And he says, 'this is my bus. And I say you got to get offa my bus 'cause you're talkin' on the phone.' But check this out. There's another lady also talkin' on her phone. He don't say nothin' to her!"
"And you weren't bein' loud now,"
"No, neither me nor the lady was loud. I think about stuff like that."
"That's cool. Lemme guess, she was white."
"She was white. And he keeps sayin,' 'this is my bus,' and I say, ' Driver, I don't think you can kick me out over this. You got another person here talkin' on the phone just the same as me.' So we wait around while he calls security."
"He calls the coordinator over talkin' on the phone? I can't believe that!" Definitely the Eastside. No downtown driver would bother; there's too much else to worry about.
"And here's the kicker, right? She, the lady herself,"
"The lady herself,"
"Asks him why he's tryna get rid a me and not her, though we both doin' the same thing!"
"Well, that's it then, man! Case closed! If we got her goin' on the record like that, well, if that's not profiling I don't know what is! What happened when the supervisor got there?"
"Nothin'. He came over and rolled his eyes."
"Nothin' else to do. Huge waste of resources."
"And driver just kep' saying, 'this is my bus. I can do what I want on my bus.'"
I steer around a pothole. "Man, I'm sorry that took place. That's an embarrassment, in this day and age. I apologize. And you know, the thing is, it is not his bus."
"No, it's not,"
"This bus does not belong to me; it belongs to the people,"
"My entire paycheck comes from all these good folks paying taxes. Without them I would be nowhere... You know he doesn't drive that thing home and park it in his garage at night..."
We laugh over the image. Both of us are the choir, and we're preaching to each other. There can be a benefit in that sometimes. I can sense a load released from his chest as he bids me farewell. Some measure of balance has been restored.