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Somedays I wish for a Zombie Apocalypse. The good news though, Seahawks are 4-0

I have more than once heard: A society is measured by how they treat the most vulnerable.
I think it’s evident how we measure up.

I’m going to rant a little bit.
I like my job. I find it interesting. It’s a job like no other if you’re a people watcher. It’s been said that bus drivers encounter more people than Presidents or the Pope on a weekly basis.
So, that is what gives me a license to rant.
Today, 3rd and Cherry, I have seen this man several times this past year. He sits in a provided manual basic wheelchair, the kind Hospitals give to people who need them just before they are sent back into the street or shelter.
He has no legs. He is far too skinny to look healthy.
He has one arm.
He struggles to use this chair. I have seen him trying to push the wheels forward. It’s, to say the least: Awkward.
Back to today. 2 pm. He sits on the street side of the sidewalk, facing uphill on 3rd and Cherry. His head is tilted to the side, his eyes vacant. His one arm dangles next to the wheel. He looks exhausted. He is in a dangerous place as a car speeds up the hill and misses him by a couple of feet.
I see a Prostitute that I have seen with him before. They have struck me as friends, not business. She is a blond, short polyester skirt, stained with street muck, white leather jacket; blond hair pulled back. White skin that is blotchy red, she is moving as quickly towards him as she can to help him.
My light turns green. I move south on 3rd ave.
I am repulsed by what I just saw.
A man with no legs. one arm living on the streets. His best friend, a drug-addicted Prostitute, who probably has a heart of gold. Nonetheless, her occupation creates a risk to her longevity, and her obvious drug addiction also creates risk.
Why do we allow this? Is this the best we can do?
I have more than once heard; A society is measured by how they treat the most vulnerable.
I think it’s evident how we measure up.
The same trip, on 1st between Holgate and Lucile.
Another man has his sweatpants down to mid-thigh, his jockstrap is down too, he is scratching under his testicles, he sees me and tries to wave me down. He has a grin on his face, desperately tries to get me to stop.
I don’t stop; I can’t have that on my bus, I have people that I am responsible for their welfare and safety.
I drive down streets, where both sides of that street have homeless, drugged, handicapped mentally ill. These streets have garbage everywhere, decay, destruction as we build high-end high rises.

I’m a little angry at this point. I have to say, this kind of sequence of events is not outside the norm. This is the world we have built, and its no different in just about any big city across this country, and I’m sure other nations as well.
We are Irresponsible people.
I am one person; I fully admit that I do not have the money or resources to change anyone’s life. I simply have enough money to get by day to day and save a little for tomorrow and hope for the best. There is also only so many good deeds that I am capable of doing and still take care of my own life.
I recently saw the Walking Dead.
It’s a great series, not just for the acting, writing, effects, and eye candy. It’s great because of the portrayal of what happens when we don’t take care of each other.
The people in that series return to tribal status. They have found themselves with a group of people; they work for the better good. When they don’t, things predictably go wrong.
So, they bone up; they take care of each other the best way they can. It’s not always about being a better fighter, sometimes its intelligence, creativity, choosing to walk away, or learning to enjoy the moment. Every person has a place there; every person is important to their tribe.
We obviously do not do this.
We have the wealthiest nation on earth. We have the most powerful nation on earth.
We have a divided nation. The have’s are telling us, that there is nothing to be done to help the homeless, the poor, the disabled, the druggies. Nor can we afford to educate people. They say we can’t afford to help people that won’t help themselves. We cannot afford healthcare; it is not a right; it’s a privilege.
They think these people are lazy, unworthy.
They say this while the rich, the extremely rich get more tax breaks, broader control over the planet, more overall control over consumers. In other words, we spend our money foolishly on the wealthy.
We are a sick Nation, there are days I try my best in my own world to help the people around me, and I do these things selfishly because my world is better because of it. Then I feel better about my world.
I am a Seahawk fan. I am thrilled that they are now 4-0.
Isn’t it great that we have young millionaires playing a game. Owned by the super-rich who makes more money from people with enough money to buy tickets and merchandise to support this lifestyle.
( I say this knowing that so many of those players and teams do good things in their communities.)
Is this the best we can do?
Seriously, who would you rather talk to about life?
A football player, or a teacher, or a social worker. Who would give you the most wisdom regarding life?
I pull into a stop at Chinook street under the West Seattle bridge,
I lower the bus for an elderly man pushing his belongings in a rigged up cart of a dolly and plastic milk boxes.
It tips and spills his items out of the top milk box, some toilet paper, a half loaf of bread, a peanut butter jar, some clothing. He cusses. The 2nd milk box holds a pup tent. A young man with a skateboard who was waiting for his turn to board bends to help him. The old man starts to cry, and it’s obvious he is embarrassed; the young man gets things stacked again, pats him on the shoulder, then boards.
It’s about 230 pm.
I am pissed.
I have tears in my eye.
I drive slow to Avondale, where I take a left, head up a hill.
I am thinking a Zombie Apocalypse just might be deserved.
I am not kidding.

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Crucifix

Earlier that summer the President had people gassed out of a park so he could walk to a photo op, posing with a bible being held upside down and backwards.  When asked by the Press if that was his bible, his answer was “It’s a Bible”

 

On the corner of 1st and Lenora, South West corner there is a man passed out. Like laying on a cross,  Arms stretched out, legs stretched straight, and downhill, shoes had been kicked to the side, his face staring straight to the sky, mouth open eyes closed,  he slowly begins to get soaked as a light rain has started, his empty liquor bottle rests against the building next to him.

A ferry blows its horn from the dock below, as a car heading south on 1st rushes by whooshing a puddle that just misses the man.

Speakers are blaring Bible quotes spoke in a foreign language by a young group of men I believe are fundamentalist,  they hold the bible,  dressed in purple and gold Toga’s  the crowd walking by them are mostly homeless and druggers There is no interaction between the two groups it’s as if they are from two dimensions sharing the same street.

A young couple begin to cross the street towards the man, think better of it as they decide to go around him instead.

His mouth has gathered enough rain to choke and wake him, he spits out a bit as he lowers his head again, this time with his mouth closed. I see him blink a couple of times then return to his sleep.

I check my phone, then facebook, there is a post that has a picture of a Black Jesus, and a White Jesus, the caption reads, if Jesus was Black, would White men be Christians?

Below that pic is a cross that says, remember the Crucifix

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She Sells Flowers

 

 

Flowers picked from roadside green spaces, Snap Dragons, Paint Brush, Cow Parsnip, Cut leaf, Coralroot, cut, arranged in found bottles that had been rinsed, but not washed, whiskey, mayonnaise, mustard, mason, whatever bottle found then arranged by height, 20 or so, the tallest in the back, short in front, a handful of flowers in each, not too many, less is more, amongst the offering of arrangements, small hand size American flags, coasters of the Space Needle.

A Red White and Blue ribbon weaves its way through the back row of flowers, the display sits on a tie dye silk throw

Her Mid length, non-washed brown curly hair holds to her head like a helmet, Green and white pin striped button down shirt, holes in the elbows, missing buttons reveal a black bra, her jeans dirty, worn in the knees, rolled cuffs, dirty feet wearing whitish sandals. I think she was once attractive.

How much for the arrangement in back? She didn’t look me in the eye as she said “the ones in back are $7 comes with the vase”

I like the one in the Jack Daniels bottle, “Lovely” she said as she reached for the jar, handed it to me with her eyes down, her body odor was strong, it had a back odor of excrement.

She had a small wagon that I believed carried her goods, her purse sitting in it. She reached for it after I paid her.  She struggled to slip the money in, a needle fell out, the kind they hand out for free at the clinics, orange tip and cap.

I had seen her on Broadway for over a week now and curious about her goods spread out, the staging was attractive, the arrangements seemed to be done with the “right touch”

I was driving by today when I decided to make a visit.

I think she is an artist at heart, there are people who you look at, see their work and it fits together, yes, you can tell they painted that.

As I walked away, I admired my new flowers, beautiful in their contrast of something pretty and something that was used and thrown away as garbage, unwashed, taken to be used for something perhaps better.

Walking towards the train station, a bike road by me, the handle bar hit my elbow I dropped, then breaking my vase on the cement.

I kicked the bottle together, picked up the large shrouds of glass, threw it away in a garbage can.

Ill buy again from her, maybe she will show me her eyes.

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70th and Love and Marriage

Well, my 2nd ex just bought me dinner and drinks…….

In Ballard, stopping at Market Street, 3 or 4 people loaded immediately, as I was closing the door I heard a voice call, “Wait” A man, 70s, white beard, dressed in jeans, work boots, baseball cap, for some reason, I thought “Sailor” started to enter my bus, “sorry, I’m moving slow” your doing fine, “its my 70th today” wow, Happy Birthday! “thank you, I made it” he said as he slipped his dollar in the till and I handed him his transfer.  He stood by my chair, I asked, you gonna celebrate?

“Well, my 2nd ex, just bought me dinner and drinks” Nice I said, cool of her, “yeah, we have always kept in touch, she was 2nd out of 3….. 1st one, I was too young, we were too young, my 2nd, well, 15 years was enough” 3rd? I said, “She died a couple years ago” sorry man, “its ok, this one was always ok, tonight was steak at my favorite bar, she bought me a bunch of shots, I’m a bit tipsy” you seem fine, I said, “about 7 or 8, I asked her if this meant she was staying tonight” I chuckled and looked at him, hmm, “yeah, she kissed me on the cheek, and said, no, sweetheart, I wanted to get you those shots so your hung over tomorrow, that’s my gift to you,

 she paid the bill and left me there, she always seems to get the upper hand” …….. I had to laugh.

A buddy of mine since childhood married his childhood sweetheart and have been married since they were in their early 20s…. He would bring up times when he felt he knew he was married, Kids, 1st purchase of a house, things like that  seemed to be reminders to him, I didn’t know if he was keeping track of what they did, or these things made the marriage seem more real.  In their 20th year together he was confiding in me how things had changed… Yeah, love was still there, but sex wasn’t what it used to be, and on a Sunday morning after a session together, draperies were closed, lights were off and they were talking and laughing about how their bodies had changed, softer, more folds, patches of padding,   Home, Kids, college funds, careers, friends, families, these kinds of subjects came up during sex, that morning their discussion led to how intertwined their lives were and marriage was not what they expected, but what they had hoped for, and talked about how sex seemed to become both a discussion of tasks as well as a physical connection. They were happy,  While he was laying on his back and she sitting on his stomach, she taps his chest right on his breast plate, her finger beads a drop of sweat, she leans down and taps again with her ear to his chest, she brings her lips to his ear and says softly “if you ever leave me,  I’ll stab you in the Heart…Do you understand, the Heart.” 

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While Stopped

a Lovely brunette in her mid twenties is turning as the seamstress pins the hem

I pull into a stop on Greenwood Ave, I have a view of a Bridal Gown store, a lovely Brunette in her mid-20s is turning as the seamstress pins the hem, her Mom is taking pictures with a camera, a friend takes pictures with her phone. On my left I’m passed by an electric bike with the cargo spot in front carrying a set of what I think are twins, toddler age, I begin to get ready to pull out and am passed by a small car with a husky hanging out the window, he barks at the lady riding the bike, she veer’s to the right but manages to avoid hitting a parked car.  Across the street the Fire House doors begin to open, a siren turns on and the flock of pigeons lined on a power line take flight.

Sunrise I’m at a stop, facing Mt Rainier, the foot of the mountain is pink, then is dark blue at the summit, the mountain dominates the seen as the buildings, cars, people become unnoticeable,  sheep clouds are red underneath, then cotton white at the top.  I watch the blinking red lights of a plane as its on its way to Sea Tac, my window is open, and the air is fresh as it gusts in my window. The early Seattle city planners designed the road this way and this is why we call it Rainier Avenue

I’m headed down a hill and stopped just before a busy intersection downtown, it’s Game day,  there is a Seahawk fan in full garb, hat, coat, shorts, shoes and socks in hawk colors throwing a football to other fans across intersections, he points at me, I shake my head no, and he throws the ball over my bus and to another person dressed in garb on the other side.  The crowd laughs and he throws the ball over to another corner, as I wait for the light, the ball has been thrown 4 or 5 times to different people.  There is a dog pulling at the leash wanting to get into the game, a street singer saws “Go Hawks” on her microphone, the crowd yells “Go Hawks.”  There is an old gentleman at a bus stop bench sleeping.

I’m at a stop that is by the front door of a small chain restaurant, they have a line on Sundays that goes about a half a block, people are drinking Starbucks, couples are meeting other couples, a family of 5 is carrying presents as to celebrate a Birthday. Inside the restaurant the tables are full, the windows are slightly fogged.  At the door the hostess is calling the next table. I pick up a couple that just finished eating and they ask me if I go near the zoo.  A younger man wearing a hoodie and headphones pushes by without paying or caring that he knocked food out of their hand, walks towards the back, they look at him briefly, shake their heads then find a seat in front. He gets off later at a busy downtown stop and pushes through the crowd, another younger guy swings back at him and hits him on the shoulder, he ignores it and goes into a drug store.

The crosswalk is full of people dressed in various types of garb, going left, right,  phones, briefcases, purses, wheel chairs, bags of food, clothes, dogs on leashes, hats, sunglasses, scarves set up multi moving patterns of color that hints of the stories they are telling.

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Driving on Christmas and the Best Muffin in the World

Today she gets on the Bus carrying a large Tupperware container, “Oh Hello, Merry Christmas” she says Merry Christmas I said, she sits at the front, She’s in a Burgundy coat, black stockings, matching heels, wonderful scarf, Hair perfec

I would have considered this day pretty uneventful; I had a few more people than I expected, they were all on their way somewhere, traffic was very light, the weather was clear.  My Bus warmed up this morning, then the heater went out about halfway through my first run up to Shoreline Community College, I called it in, Transit Control would get me a new bus on my run back to Westwood Village. 

Heading down Greenwood I stop by an assisted living building, it’s a very nice facility, I understand its pricey to live there and is excellent in its services and the condos are spacious and well appointed.

I have picked up this woman at the stop many times over the course of the last 2 years.  She is over 80, always well dressed, even when dressed casually, her hair is perfect, makeup well done, fashionable and accessorized.  She has always struck me as well accomplished; she communicates well and very direct.  I’ve thought of her as rather Grand, though we have never had a conversation more than a general greeting.

Today she gets on the Bus carrying a large Tupperware container, “Oh Hello, Merry Christmas” she says Merry Christmas I said, she sits at the front, She’s in a Burgundy coat, black stockings, matching heels, wonderful scarf, Hair perfect.  You look like your on your way to fun I said, “ Yes, she replied, Granddaughters first time hosting Christmas.  “Wonderful” I said, Yes, and its my job to bring these muffins, everyone knows how to make them, but they have made it my job.  “No one cooks better than Grandmas” I said.  That’s so true, she said, This is my Grandmothers recipe, She taught me how to make them, and I make them every year, taught  my daughter, then taught my granddaughter, “ I love family traditions like that” I said.  The recipe has changed a bit since my grandma made them,  we lived in Idaho, I grew up in a cabin, my grandparents didn’t have power, back then, grandfather built the Cabin, not very big, large fireplace, exposed timbers, wood stove and they got by with lanterns.  It was a farm, they had some livestock but all of it was very modest, we made our own butter, Milk from the cow, eggs were fresh and the squash were from the garden.  So much now is store bought, its all easier, but I think they have dropped a bit in taste.

“that’s Amazing” I said.

We pulled in near Woodland Park Zoo, she stood up and walked towards me opening the Tupperware, Here, take a few,

“ Oh Gosh I couldn’t”  ( I have a policy of not taking food from people on the bus for obvious reasons of being too risky)

Of course you can, I want you to, please take some.

You, know, I have so much food in my bag, those look really good, she smiles and said……. Take !  I took one, and thanked her profusely, “ Merry Christmas Sir, your always so nice to me, I appreciate you.  Merry Christmas Mam, it’s my pleasure.

She stepped off and I pulled away with the muffin stored in a napkin to my left.

It was a light day in Traffic, and I couldn’t help but to think of her growing up in a cabin, no power, snow, warmth of a fire, I imagined the cabins fireplace, river rock, a Mantel made out of timber.  Her Grandmother in a calico dress and white apron with lace ( maybe I watch too much tv.)  I drove through our city of cement, steel, glass, I drove my near million dollar bus through the streets with many people, and thought how her Christmas has changed.

No power, then radio, then TV, highways , Trak housing, Moon landing, Internet… the list is huge, Her experience then is so different from her Grand daughters experience of Christmas. 

But they share a tradition,  Muffins, Muffins that have a recipe of perhaps a hundred years, maybe more as I have to think her Grandmother learned to cook from her Mom, maybe Her Grandmother, so perhaps food now isn’t what it used to be, so much now is ready made, flour, butter, pasteurized milk,  ingredients from all over the world are available now, few people grow their own food, much less cook from scratch of the level of churning their own butter, picking their own eggs.

Was fun to think about.  A new bus was waiting for me at 1st and Lander, a couple of customers quietly changed buses with me and we continued on, dropping someone occasionally. I pulled into Westwood with 1 person to drop off, Merry Christmas he said, I waved back and wished him the same.

I lifted the Muffin, perfect color, not a cupcake style, the old school type, that has the top.  I thought again of how old this recipe might be, I took a bit and held it in my mouth. 

I should have taken more.

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Shared Stories

Seattle is a large city, people coming and going from all parts of the world, all stages in life, all of us have stories that begin, develop, continue then end. Bus stops are like frames from Zoetrope’s

To drive for Metro means that you have a certain understanding of the humor and tragedy of the people you see.  There is a level of empathy that we share through it all.  It might be because we are up close and see these people and talk to them, it might be something that Metro see’s in us and that’s why we are hired.

I have made numerous connections with other drivers, from the ones I was in training class, to the ones I see around the base, and the ones I work with loading Orca cards. 

When we load Orca cards it’s a 4-hour shift with another person, and you get to know them pretty well, and in all human situations you connect with some stronger than others. 

Often these connections are made because of our stories we share about driving, and we find each other to have a similar level of humor and empathy for the people we have encountered.

Some stories affect us deeply.

My friend Juda shared with me today.

“Was pretty much a normal day, I was picking up people, and you know how they are, you say “good morning” to everyone and only a few hear, or say it back, their busy doing what they do.

A middle aged Asian lady got on my bus, she was dressed professionally, clean, her body language was bent over, and a bit timid, then I noticed she had a very bad clefted lip, it went as far up into her sinus area, I said “good morning” to her as I looked her in the eye, I read something in her eyes that seemed she didn’t get recognized often, she said “good morning” back and went to a seat in the front, and put her head down immediately.  I was taken by her body language, she seemed to hide, It made me think of the situation she must be in, kids don’t have filters and ask their parents why she looks like that, and lets be honest, not all adults are kind and their reactions of disgust must hit her hard.  She must have had to deal with this her whole life. Why, I wondered, here in the US would someone have to have this situation… and other countries people are shunned….

She came up to me when we came to her stop, she thanked me for saying “good morning”

I looked her in the eye and said, your welcome, my eyes acknowledged her, we connected.

She has a problem she lives with everyday with no relief, she never gets away from it. 

It helped me see the difference from a problem, and a situation. that I have no real problems, I have situations.

I changed that day, I think of her when issues come up and it helps put it in perspective, I share this with other drivers.

We have reasons, a purpose in life, I’m not sure what these things are, but sometimes seeing something and feeling something that connects us makes sense of things.”

I took in his story, asked if I could share this with you.

He said, “please do, it changed me”.

Her story is ongoing, and we witness others who’s problems are ongoing or develop.

On 3rd and Madison a middleaged man first scanned his card with me sometime in July, I remember because he was particularly friendly and talkative and liked a womans dog that was shaking because of all the noise going on at the bus stop. after that, he was gone a few weeks then appeared again, but missing his right arm.

His short sleeve hid the length of what was left and he didn’t say hello back or say a word as I scanned his card.

Now during the second week of September, he has appeared again with an artificial arm.  He didn’t scan his card this time nor did he interact with anyone, including the dog, who is still scared by all the noise at a bus stop.

Which brings me to Gus.

Gus is a lab mix who was rescued from a kill shelter in Texas.

Gus just met his forever home partner at the  Sea Tac airport today and on his way to his new home by bus.   Gus is over 12, black fur, grey muzzle, just a tad overweight and a bit arthritic.  His front teeth are missing from chewing on a chain link fence.  He has scars on his nose, legs and ears that are believed he received from being a bait dog.

Gus seems to know his life has taken a turn for the better and loves that people are saying hi to him. He loves his new life partner as she shares with everyone his story and how she met him for the first time at the airport and he hugged and cried when he met her.  She is still flushed, his tail hasn’t stopped wagging, Gus and the people around him know that from today on, his life is going to be awesome.

Seattle is a large city, people coming and going from all parts of the world, all stages in life, all of us have stories that begin, develop, continue then end.  Bus stops are like frames from Zoetrope’s

One piece that is part of the story.

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Dragon Flies have fun with food

The Dragonfly’s were out in full,

I was sitting on the Dock last night, thinking this might be the last warm fullish moon.  I sat down just before sunset,Some of the trees are turning now, bits of orange are blending with the green. I  had my dinner of left over Teriyaki chicken and a rice beer. 

The Dragon flies were out in full, Iv never noticed just how many swarms, and how busy they are.  Nats were clouds of flutters, the Dragons, which id like to see in slow motion some time, were having a feeding frenzy.  They would buzz by my head and sometimes appear to be looking me in the eye.  I noticed more speicies than Iv seen here before, at least more colorful types.  With few exceptions, Iv only seen Black Dragons here, last night, I saw a full range,  yellow/green,   blue/green,  black, white, orange.  Ill have to look them up some time and see if their of different varieties or not.

They looked like they were having fun.  Most spiecies, including us, compete for food.  Hunting, growing, cooking, a lot goes behind getting a meal that our fast food resturants and convienient stores with  all their marketing has helped us ignore.  Food is a task.  Most animals spend all their time dealing with hunting for food and playing the odds on their next feast.

I wonder If the Dragons compete for food at all, or ever have to deal with a shortage.  I saw millions of Nats last night,

I saw hundreds, maybe thousands of Dragon flies.  The Dragons seemed almost joyus in their feeding, bouncing, hovering, rolling together and singly.  Figure eights and long flieghts across the lake and back.  Made me think of rush hour on the freeway.

Iv been to food circuses, County fairs, food and Art Festivals,  Theres  also a frenzy that people seem to enjoy,  as we walk through these events we eat what we want.  Its s a blast, a great way to eat and mix with people  and eat more than you should,  feels good doing it..

We have our food they way we want it, and I think, Dragon flies do too.

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Burning Bush

My workmate and I chat as we scan, and often people chime in and join the conversation, we like this and we cover a lot of subjects

“What does it take to show an illustration
Of the hurt and the pain of a nation.
One glowing look upon a ragged canvas
Tells the story of our past and present situation

Maurice White, EWF

“What does it take to show an illustration
Of the hurt and the pain of a nation.
One glowing look upon a ragged canvas
Tells the story of our past and present situation

Maurice White, EWF

Seattle has its perfect summer days, the kind of days where strangers meet at bus stops and say, wow, this is perfect, not too hot, breeze is nice, you can smell the sound the sea gulls and pigeons are busy, a couple of puffy clouds, its 5 pm the sun is behind the buildings the streets are shaded and people are heading home or to out door restaurants, shopping, boating, BBQ with friends, you can feel that people want to make the most of the rest of this day.
3 days a week in the afternoon my job description is “Orca Loader” which means I scan people’s Orca cards so they can go in any door of the bus, makes it quicker and easier for everyone…. But, lets be honest, and it hasn’t gone unspoken, my job is to show a presence, be polite, watch after people answer questions and try to give a positive experience, I consider this the best time of my week because I get to watch people, talk to people interact with the “parade”.
My workmate and I chat as we scan, and often people chime in and join the conversation, we like this and we cover a lot of subjects. As we were chatting about his 94 yr old mother in law that he adores, she’s Japanese, old family, old school, came to America when she met her husband during WW2 and the rebuilding of Japan, She is doing well, insists on doing the cleaning and keeps herself busy doing what she calls “women’s work”.
Across from our stop is a TJ Max, a “hang out” of some street folk, often the ones in wheel chairs, some are otherwise “handicapped” and they mix with others they know or chat with, liquor is poured, weed is smoked, and they party until they go their way. As I watch, one guy helps a paraplegic woman drink from a bottle, he wipes her chin and they laugh at something, then a gentleman is walking across the street towards us, older man, 70ish? Small bottle of alcohol in his hand, African American, white cap on his head, clean white T shirt, cacky shorts, He says, “ you gentleman have it made, all these nice looking young ladies, you never get too old to enjoy seeing them’
It is a pleasure I said, we get to meet and chat with all kinds of nice people, Mark here and I were just talking about his mom in law and who is from Japan… “ hows she doing? He asked… “ Shes good” Mark answered, still wants to do house work everyday… “ wow” “ I was in Viet Namn he went on, was there for a long time, spent time in Malaysia, the women are lovely and good women, yes, good women” he said as he took a drink. “ I spent a lot of time in other countries he said, Ive seen a lot of stuff, I love this country, it’s a perfect day, we shoot each other , we cuss each other, but this is a great place to be.. He went on to discuss the need for gun control, “people don’t need military guns, its crazy that people in church, school , anywhere get shot down…. For no reason !

That old bush just keeps on burning
Nobody seems to show they’re learning
That old bush just keeps on burning.
I wonder will we ever feel the flame.

“it didn’t used to be like this” I said, when I grew up, there weren’t mass shootings like this
“Well,” he said, I’ve traveled a lot, I love this place anyway, people seem to hate the little things now.. hate” “we were just talking about this” Mark said, my girl is multi racial and we had to deal with a few things, but not like this, “I married a white woman” he said, “she strayed a little, but I love her and we have a good couple of kids” “Sorry dude” I said, “lts fine, been years, what do you do? As his bus arrived he took another sip from the mini bar bottle, “you guys enjoy the day, tell those pretty ladies I said hi. We waved at him, Mark moved north of the st

Our way of life on total exhibition
Shows the way in which we live of an
Imperfect nation.
This tree of life so far from perfection
Share a little love to improve our situation
”.

“Who do you work for” ?? she yelled…..
I looked around to see what was happening? “ who do you work for?? She yelled at me again,
“I work for Metro…. King County Metro Transit to be accurate… why?
“ You shouldn’t be talking to people like that” I was a bit shocked, I wondered if we had said something offensive, she was outraged….. “ did we say something offensive? I’d like to know……
“You work for the county and your talking to street trash like that!!!” I couldn’t think of anything offensive, so I asked her again, “ what did we say that offended you….. Id like to know?
“You were talking to street trash, its terrible, those people are terrible, you should be ashamed!!
My god I thought, what? I stepped away and leaned against the building, people moved from her,
I looked at her, mid 40s brunette, hair tied in back, glasses, jeans, shirt, then I saw the Trump 2020 pin. I got angry and knew I needed to shut up right now. (my job) She got on a bus , self-righteous, stepping in front of a couple of people who were in line.
I thought about the man, well mannered well spoken, a kind and likable face, He deserves that drink I thought, Vietnam vet, father, he did his time and lived his life, nothing he said was trashy or disrespectful, in fact…. I completely enjoyed my encounter. I was disgusted with myself for being off guard, breathless in the face of hate like that. This country has some serious problems.

That old bush just keeps on burning
Share the hope for future learning
I wonder will we ever feel the flame

Featured

Porch Lights

Was close to midnight when I stepped out of my cabin, I was in the mood for a walk and the beach air draws you out.

Was close to midnight when I stepped out of my cabin, I was in the mood for a walk and the beach air draws you out.

The Day had been overcast and the Clouds had now dissipated revealing so many stars, the sliver of the moon was hard to find.

I walked across the street towards the beach, my shadow from porch lights and window light shortened and disappeared as I reached the sand, dry sand is soft and firms up as you get closer to the waves, who were muffled and sounded deep.

I walked into the Pacific mist and kept walking towards those muffled waves and their slow rhythm, it was farther to the waves than earlier in the day, had to be Low tide.

I made the goal of walking to the edge of the waves; I like to touch bodies of water I visit. 

I looked behind me, back to the cabins that are rented out, no more porch lights or lights from windows, just blackness and mist, I closed my eyes and because it was so dark, there was no change in light, the waves felt louder now and completed their rumble with a fizz. I opened my eyes and was engulfed by the mist completely, there were no more stars, just the waves speaking over my breath. I walked farther and came to the edge of the water. I was farther away from anything than I had before.

I knelt and put my hand down. The wave came to my fingers, it was cold and soft almost like the mist around me.  I inhaled, I wanted to inhale the sound of the waves, then closed my eyes and there was no change in darkness.  My exhale was in treble, and the waves in bass.

I listed to my heart as it made its Duette with the waves.

I turned back to the cabin the waves behind me

I walked back in search of porch lights.

Featured

Transit Transients

I have been driving for Metro for about a year and a half now, Love this job. Driving has always been fun for me, and adding on the parade of people on a daily basis in a large beautiful city like Seattle, is the extra foam on my Macchiotto. Thank you for dropping by…. I hope you enjoy these stories as much as I do.

Three afternoons a week 3rd and Pine is my bus stop to load Orca cards, I watch people come and go, and have come to regard this as “the Parade”. Friday as I arrived a homeless man had been sleeping on the sidewalk for a reported 3 hours, a puddle of Urine had started to leak out from beneath his pack….I called it in , a supervisor arrived and let me know they had moved this guy earlier that day.
At the crosswalk another man was pushing his wheel chair that had run out of power, I ran over to help him out of the street .. he had been pushing it for a few blocks with no where to plug it in to get a quick charge and no one helped him, as I got him off the street he was so out of breath he could hardly speak, I pushed his chair to his shelter… The Police and Aid cars were busy at the McDonalds entrance with a person that overdosed…..
There were a small herd of pigeons picking at food droppings, one of the smaller ones only had a stump for a leg, no foot and painfully hobbled, came across a crumb and was pushed away by a bigger healthier pigeon….
A retired couple from Czechoslovakia asked me for directions to the Museum of Flight…… they loved Alaska and were looking forward to seeing more of Seattle until they flew into New York to visit relatives……… A woman of plus 70 with a cane gave a young 20s girl some kind of muffin from her bag….. Young lovers met there after work embraced as though it had been days, a bicyclist with a speaker turned up too loud rode by too fast bumped a young mans pack, skidded to a stop and apologized…… another man that resembled the guy that plays aqua-man had a huge Newfoundland, black with paws larger than my hands were getting attention and praise…….
a Seagull dropped his mark next to a small group of Chinese women that made them laugh as they stepped back…..
This was about 45 mins on Friday.

I have been driving for Metro for about a year and a half now, Love this job. Driving has always been fun for me, and adding on the parade of people on a daily basis in a large beautiful city like Seattle, is the extra foam on my Macchiotto. Thank you for dropping by…. I hope you enjoy these stories as much as I do.

House on the Hill

She has a small pallet board homestead

She stands about 5′-2″—wind-blown Jet-Black hair. Dark skin, she Weighs maybe 90lbs. Because of her small size, her striking features, I think she might be South American. She wears jeans, plaid shirts, sometimes a black jacket over the shirt.
She has found a place behind Seahawk stadium, facing 4th avenue. Small empty green space, slight incline, a small tree to the north side of the clearing, small bushes on the street side.
She has built a small pallet board homestead. Shes lined her home with tarps, pieces of wood she has found.
The home sits on pallet boards as well. She steps up to the opening that is used as a door, pushing the tarp to one side, then steps in. Her place appears to be about 3 or 4 feet deep, 7 or 8 ft wide.
The area that she cleared for herself is clean. The grass is pulled, weeds are pulled. I have seen her collect garbage that blows its way into the area.
I have driven by in the mornings and have seen her sitting in front of her place eating. She uses a bowl and utensil. I begin to wonder where she has come from, how long she has been there. As the city has cleaned out other tent towns and homes over the last couple of years, she seems to have survived this, her house always clean, always separate from others, no one has moved into her territory. I have wondered why.

The small tree on her homestead is about 20 feet away from her door. She argues with it. I have seen her shake her fist at it. Break a branch, throw it on the ground. Then stomp to her house.
I have seen her stand at her property line, next to the street as cars and buses, trucks buzz past. She doesn’t seem to notice us. She stares past the hustle. Her dark eyes are busy with things on her mind. And She is busier than the street in front of her.
She looked my way last Sunday, I was hoping to see into her eyes, but we never connected there. She turned again to the tree, waved her arms, stomped to her door.
Behind her, lights of Century Link Stadium.

The Prayer

He unrolls his prayer rug to face east, kneels with his arms reaching in front, the drops of rain sticking to his skin, darkening his white tank top

Turning North on 6th from Holgate, 5:40am, on the sidewalk just east of Salvation Army.  A man, dressed in shorts, white tank top, bare feet carrying a prayer rug, it’s sprinkling out rinsing the soot of the recent fires in Oregon that have been sending their smoke North to Washington and Canada, there has not been much wind in the past week, it is smoggy, thick with the smell of smoke, you can feel the air stick to your skin and the sprinkle of rain creates a darkening mist just above the ground.

He unrolls his prayer rug to face east, kneels with his arms reaching in front, the drops of rain sticking to his skin, darkening his white tank top.

His pup tent door is open to the sidewalk, it is also facing east.

 I continue to drive by as I hope Allah is listening,

I as well speak to the great Creator, asking for wind, and perhaps if he feels it appropriate, a downpour of rain to help all the creatures of his world as I pull into our parking garage.

It’s noon, I pull into the Burien Transit center, drop a small group of riders off, There by the building 5 policemen have a man on the ground, he is kneeling, his hands cuffed behind him a small crowd surrounds the scene.

  I continue clockwise around the building and come across a small flock of pigeons that have been slaughtered a few are missing heads, it does not look like they had been run over by a bus, I wonder if the handcuffed man had something to do with this.

I’m at home, close to 9pm, in my yard, through the haze, my binoculars are focusing on the moon that has begun it’s crescent phase, it has a slight red tint to it.

The Kiss

I have watched a man walk his dog during that time frame, a good looking Pit bull Labrador mix that has a brindle coat.

I have been driving the same route in the same time frame for about a year now, and at different times almost two years before that.  I have watched a number of people on this route and know some of their routines.

I have watched a man walk his dog during that time frame, a good-looking Pit-Bull Labrador mix that has a brindle coat.

He had been walking her up and down 35th sw, happy dog, smile on her face when she greets people, she has that squirm and her ears go down when she meets people, and she loves them all. 

He is over 50, shaggy beard carries a ball for her, I have seen her run and catch, fetch be distracted by birds, dogs and people as she brings it back to him. 

I have seen her become grey, and this past year, she has slowed.  He had stopped carrying her ball early last summer, she was walking with her head down, her tail swings slow left and right, she stops, her nose in the air and sniffs, he patiently waits for her to move again. 

I missed seeing them over the past few weeks, saw them today. He lives by a stop, I am letting on an old gentleman that needs the ramp as he scoots his walker past me I watch the pair, I’m saddened:

Her back legs are not working right, her hip overly swings, her front legs are weak as she shakes to walk.  They are at the end of their front walk of his house where it meets the sidewalk grass, she stumbles falls, whimpers, she seems blind now, scared, he bends down next to her, lifts her front torso up, kisses her head and sooths her.

I am taken by this moment, I leave my door open and watch this grotesque, horrible but beautiful moment. 

I know he is talking to her, softly, as his lips are to her head, he slides his other arm under her back, to her hips, then lifts her, she subtly jerks, he whispers again, holds her as he stands and kisses her head again, she relaxes, her head loose over his arm, her tongue out, he is holding his head against hers in a hug as they turn towards his door. 

I close my door and start to pull away as he carries her to his door.

Orange Needle

Crows are present, they have found stops like these offer foods for the day, materials for nests, a reason for territory arguments

This August morning started with greys and mists, sun orange behind clouds the warm light casting mild shadows.

Its early enough the sounds of cars, traffic and people are still singular sounds, muffled by their distance. I am at a stop at 12th and Lane. This stop is often busy with human services and care, by this stop is a small tent city know for its drug use, crime.  Some are waking up, some are returning home, they are moving around, one lady makes her way to 12th, She doesn’t seem to know she’s on the street, nor does she see me, she drops her pants, her skin is blotchy, potted, she pees, then vacates her rectum a few yards in front of me.  She cleans herself with a towel she tosses to the sidewalk.  My door is open, I smell the garbage that’s littered, wrappers, beer cans, broken bottles, clothes. I can smell alcohol and the garbage in the air. A siren in the International district echoes between the buildings.

Crows are present, they have found stops like these offer foods for the day, materials for nests, a reason for territory arguments.

Two Crows look to be molting, they are skinnier than most, not a jet black, more of a light charcoal, feathers hang loose from their bodies unpreened,  their movements are quick, they seem angry, they have found an orange needle the kind that is handed out by the state, they are pecking it.  One goes to pick it up, the other pecks at its beak, the needle is dropped, the crows fight each other. Viscous, not normal territory squabble.

I had to ask myself, are they fighting over the needle for its drug?

They are rolling on the ground, talons out, pecking for eyes, one flutters away chased for a bit.

I close my door, continue south across the Rizal bridge,

I can see T Mobile Park lighted in Pink, in the distance behind, Puget Sound then the Olympic Mountain range rises above the park, its peaks are blue to white, to a soft glow of the yellow sun touching grey clouds.

In the Park

 

 

7 am at Westwood, the park across from Target, there is a woman lying face down, sleeping, she is brunette, grey hoodie, she has the brown skin possibly an Islander,  her pants and underwear are off, they have been folded, placed next to her elbow of the arm her head rests on.  Her right knee out and almost equal to her hip.

An empty bottle of Jack Daniels lays on the other side of her clothes.

I can’t help but to look at the details of the situation.

It was not sexual for me,

There was some concern of perhaps rape, but her folded clothes, empty bottle, her deep, seemingly comfortable sleep led me to believe she found a comfortable spot.

I pick up the radio and call TCC

The Grass is long in this park, it is due

for a mowing, dandelions are tall, some yellow buds are turning white at the end of tall stalks where one has found itself to be standing behind her entrance.

It’s a warm morning, nearing 80 at 7am, a woman in her 80s that I often see walking, stops, approaches her, tries to wake her. The sleeper raises her head, then turns it the other way.

The elderly woman has a cell phone to her ear as she reaches for the woman’s pants and gently lays them across her rear.

I open the door to the bus, call to the elderly woman that I have called this in, she responds, “I just called too, the police will be here, 2nd time this week I have found her like this”.

You ok mam? “I’m fine, I’ll stay with her.

Thank you, mam, have a good morning.

TCC responds, I tell them to disregard.

A male in his 30s is doing his morning run, stops where the old woman is, they have a brief conversation, he turns his back and faces the street keeping his eye open for the police.

I pull out, start my route, heading east, sun in my eyes.

The Beautiful

Somehow the warmth of the air brings us inside the perfume of flowers, trees, breeze bringing us nearby kitchens, clicks of glasses with ice, somehow the light and shadow with its strong contrast creates a focal point.

 

 

She walks south on Freemont ave, Red Dress hangs just to the knees, small white floral pattern, brown sandals perfect with the summer dress, her dark hair pulled back to a pony tail, Olive skin, her right hand holding white daisy’s, her left gently swings lose, each step graceful like an ice skater, her head glides like on a rail, she moves through the shadows of the trees, the light dancing on her like she is center staged, people notice her, girlfriends holding hands of their lovers join their lovers in a long look as they hold their breath.

Summer is the time for such moments,

Somehow the warmth of the air brings us inside the perfume of flowers, trees, breeze bringing us nearby kitchens, clicks of glasses with ice, somehow the light and shadow with its strong contrast creates a focal point.

She walked through the sidewalk crowd lost in her thoughts, provoking thoughts of others

She is early 20s, she lifts her hand with the flowers and smells them as she passes an elderly couple, He uses a walker, she has her on his arm , white hair, white wrinkled skin fresh to the sun step into the shade of the tree and  watch her walk by, he kisses her hand then they turn back slowly moving on their way.

A 40sh male riding his bike slows to look at her, loses the rhythm of his pedals, he shakes his head as he regains his rhythm, energy well spent.

I turn my bus west on 46th, 12pm on a Monday, its quiet on this street, not so many shadows as the sun is now overhead, not so many trees, cars on each side.

I think of the time I met my lover at a QFC, we bought Sushi and Ice Tea, we walked to a near by park and talked, we had winter jackets on, hers a light blue, mine kaki, I did not notice it was cold.

The Ladder

Driving South on the Aurora Bridge, Lake Union on the right,

Puget Sound on the Left.

 Chesheeahud was a renowned Duwamish chief and travel guide to Lake Union, Lake Washington, and Lake Sammamish in the days before roads were built in the City of Seattle and its suburbs of the “Eastside”. Chesheeahud was the leader of a Duwamish village on Lake Union. Chesheeahud had a cabin and a potato patch on land given to him by pioneer David Denny at the foot of Shelby Street as late as 1900.

 Landscapers have been busy at the “Canlis” Shrubs have been trimmed, lower branches from Maples removed.

There is a ladder that is leaning against a Juniper, left behind as the workers moved on.

 Crossing the bridge,

A Black Lives Matter sign hangs from its right side and drapes over the sidewalk the breeze picks up, it swells like a sail similar to one of the boats below.

Chesheeahud’s to become also known as “lake John” (canoe was a full-sized Salish style canoe, with gently up-curving bow and tapering, angled stern.  Carved from a single huge log of western red cedar, large canoes of this shape had almost disappeared by the end of the 1800s. This was by the Nuu-chah’nulth from the coast and western.

 A young man, 20 something, dressed in white shirt, vest, tie, nice  jeans leather shoes leaves the bus at 39th and Freemont, I pull forward he slaps the bus and waves, he has left his computer behind.

At 46th and Phinney, then drop him at 65th and Greenwood, I pick up a regular, older man, 70? Wears a grey flat cap, light blue jacket, jeans, white tennis shoes, his line before Covid was to pay a $1, say to me “its only fair” we both will shake our heads with appreciation for the corny greeting,

He awkwardly enters the back of the bus now and seems to feel he is missing something before he sits down.

 

“John was a Lake Indian. His illahee [land], which was given to him by his cloish tillicum [good friend], “Dave Denny,” was on Portage Bay, Lake Union, at the foot of what is known now as Shelby Street. There he had his cabin and a small potato patch. He buried his chickamin [money] at the base of stumps. Back among the stumps he built his “sit down” house,. of which he was very proud and which we would not allow any one else to use.”

 

One person is left on my bus, an older Japanese woman, English her second language sits in front with her cane and mask, I had picked her up at 4th and Jackson by the International District, she leaves my bus at 100th   where I pick her up in the mornings, Her husband is with her , his White Fedora, White Jacket that matches his white hair, he pays her fare, walks her to her seat while he does, he makes sure to let me know he is leaving and where her stop is.

Her Husband is now at 100th, there to greet her, helps her off the bus and both bow and wave goodbye to me.

 Chesheeahud and his wife, known by her Pastid name “Madeline”, were often referred to as “the last of the Lake Union Indians,” since they were in fact the last Duwamish family to maintain residence on the lake as the city grew up around  “Debadidi” (David Denny) and moved with many of his people to the Suquamish Reservation across Puget Sound.

I have continued the route, left my layover at Shoreline Community College, a dozen or so people on my bus, I cross the  Aurora Bridge Southbound, the Olympics are still white with shades of blue as they meet the sound.

On my left is the “Canlis”, with a ladder that has been left behind as workers moved on.

 Sources:

Dailey, Tom. Coast Salish Villages of Puget Sound, http://www.coastsalishmap.org/

Gould, Jim, Professor Emeritus of History and International Relations, Scripps College, Claremont CA. The Montlake Neighborhood,  http://montlake.net/mcc/mcc_history_Jim_Gould.htm

King County Landmarks & Heritage Commission, Change of Worlds, http://www.changeofworlds.org/object.cfm?object=

Thomas Speer