Some Interesting People

During a late winter weekday I pulled into the stop by the Mission, it’s a busy stop, several bus routes stop there and its near the stadiums and international district. Mostly it is a stop used by homeless and people of various abilities.

In my first few months of driving I had a situation come up and wasn’t aware of a proper procedure to handle the situation or if there was one, so I did my best to deal with it.  This story is not for sensitive readers due to its explicit nature and sexual content. I chose to write the story as it happened and use the words spoken to me.

During a late winter weekday I pulled into the stop by the Mission, it’s a busy stop, several bus routes stop there and its near the stadiums and international district.  Mostly it is a stop used by homeless and people of various abilities.

This day, I picked up several people, two of them It struct me as the guy, and his case worker, he seemed straight off the street, and she was dressed in nice jeans, carrying a leather bag but wearing a white T shirt and no bra… ( I mentioned its late Winter) They sit in front and I hear them talk, she is relying on him to take her to a certain bus stop, he is assuring her he will make sure she gets there, a few stops later a friend of his boards the bus and they talk, he introduces his friend to her and he gets off at the next stop explaining that his friend will take her the rest of the way. He seems respectful and nice as he tries to get to know her, she gets angry with him, “ I don’t know you, I don’t trust you, leave me alone,”  He’s embarrassed by her outburst, apologizes says he’s not going to hurt her, this doesn’t work so he moves to the back of the bus.  She approaches me and asks if she can stand by me as she doesn’t trust “that man”  I tell her of course, you can stay here, you’ll be fine, we start a bit of small talk, she tells me she just lost her place and last night was her first night on the street.  “I’m sorry” I said, that sounds rough, “I was raped” she said, What? I asked… are you OK? I can call someone get them to meet us… “NO, she said, I just… not trusting anyone right now” I know of a women’s shelter I can drop you off at, but its not until I head back into town……  “I know where I want to go, I’ll just stay here for now, OK I said.  We got to the end of the route, I needed to use the restroom, she followed me into the store and waited for me to come back out and followed me back to my bus for my break.  We chatted a little about how she lost her job, an ex-screwed her over with money and it was time to begin my next run.  I start down the road and have just a couple of people on the bus, she leans closer to me and starts describing the rape in every detail, being  held down by 4 guys and how she decided to open her mouth……  It was clear to me she was messing with me and wanted a “reaction” I told her I needed to focus on my driving and will get her to her shelter.  She left a few stops before the shelter telling me, she was ok and changed her mind.

I saw her again a few months later, she was dressed in a school girls outfit, no bra, white shirt, glasses on, pig tails and addressed me as “Hi Mr Bus Driver” again, she seemed sexually suggestive,  but a whole different personality.  I wondered how many personalities she has and if they are all sexually suggestive.

During a break on a recent Saturday, parked at my layover by the station, a man mid-40s, dark hair, wearing kakis and a back pack, that was very inebriated, knocked on my door, I hesitantly opened it and he immediately asked me why Metro drivers are so fucked….. I shook my head and started to close the door, he said, “NO, sorry, look I’m just trying to get to Ballard, and that fucker dropped me here” I see I said, ( knowing he probably was asleep and wasn’t discovered until the last stop… happens a lot) Look, to get to Ballard you’ll have to  walk to the other side of that building, use the stop there to get downtown, then det on the D Line.  He stepped on my bus and tried to walk by me, I said, no, your not getting on here…. “too late” he said, NO…. get off the bus now!  He complied, but as he stepped down and turned he said I was a vet you unamerican bastard, I was in Afghanistan, Iraq, I woulda been in Nam, but I wasn’t born yet… in fact, I’m gonna get my buddies and were gonna kill you, were gonna come to your house, burn it down and kill you… where do you live?  I started to shut the door, he stepped by to avoid the door and fell onto his back. When he hit the ground he swung his fist, didn’t hit anything, still on his back, he kicked, “FUUUCK” he yelled, Fuck you!! His kick didn’t connect with anything as he laid on the ground squirming…. (cleanest fight I had ever won)

He crawled a few feet and managed to get on his feet, walked a few steps fell over.  I called it in, described what had happened and they sent out the transit police who got him off the ground, determined he was not dangerous and left him in some bushes… Not sure what happened to him after that.

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.

Route 11

Route 11 starts in the Madison Park area. This is a wealthier neighborhood, Waterfront property in Seattle is plentiful but very pricey. Houses and yards are very well kept. This is a neighborhood where Interior Designers, Architects and Landscape Architects, Caterers, Craftsmen of all kinds have made their mark and therefor their living in. Sidewalks are always clean.

   Route 11 is a loop route, meaning you go to one end, then come back without going onto another route.  These routes are comparatively short but done for the reason of higher density.  I particularly enjoy this route because of its path through several different types of neighborhoods.

  Route 11 starts in the Madison Park area.  This is a wealthier neighborhood, Waterfront property in Seattle is plentiful but very pricey.   Houses and yards are very well kept.  This is a neighborhood where Interior Designers, Architects and Landscape Architects, Caterers, Craftsmen of all kinds have made their mark and therefor their living in.   Sidewalks are always clean. 

I had been driving this route on Saturdays, which I understand is a “lighter day” to be driving.  Because of Madison Parks high density parking is tough so even the well to do ride the bus, its easier.  The route starts on 42nd, Usually picking up grandparents and grandkids going into the city, they let the young one pay in cash as I welcome them onto the bus and hand them the transfers. 

We drive through these stylish and well kept homes to Madison ave.  Take a right and start up the hill, we pass Bistros, Coffee shops, Boutiques, high end grocery store, Fashion houses and Interior Design stores.  As we go up the hill we start to pass condos and a golf course.  A few miles up and we arrive at the entrance to the Arboretum,   one of Seattle’s very large parks known for its amazing landscapes, historical trees and vegetation that stretches to Lake Washington, the Arboretum also hosts our oldest Japanese Garden, a place of unique beauty well known for its full moon tea celebrations with Koto music, large pond with schools of Koi and many turtles.  Families and tourists often get off here, grab some coffee and walk to the garden.

We head up the hill past more condos and into the “central area” which historically had been one of Seattles Urban neighborhoods that in the last couple of decades because of our tech industry, has become quite gentile.

At the top of the Hill is Capitol Hill.  Capital Hill is the center of our LGTB community.  Every weekend of the summer there is some kind of community gathering, music, art festivals, food, parades of all types. Sidewalks and crosswalks are painted in rainbows, restaurants and bars, retail shops and services are mostly geared towards the young and hip. 

This is a fun area for me, because here I will pick up all kinds and types of people, from the wealthy to the homeless.  Tattoo’s, piercings, gender mixes, clothing styles, hair color, even the dogs have colored hair and extreme style. It’s a nice break from the daily commuters going to work who dress rather conservatively.  A day in this area will demonstrate that there is all kinds of ways to enjoy being human.

From Broadway we head down the hill into the city, we cross the freeway pass our Historical Paramount Theater, Saturdays there are matinees of musicals, the evening will be music and comedians.  Then we head into our retail district, Westlake Mall, Nordstrom’s, Macy’s, high end clothing, perfumes, jewelry.  The sidewalks are full of people shopping, sightseeing and street performers. I open the doors and listen to all the bustle. There are singers with loudspeakers, guitar players, Chinese musicians, horn players, drummers, stand still performers in extravagant costumes, magicians, jugglers, it all happens here. 

I nudge myself through traffic to 2nd avenue and drop off locals and tourists who are on their way to Pike Place Market, a world class farmers market to pickup fresh food, flowers, Knick knacks and more restaurants

I take a left to finish the half of the loop and begin to head back, picking up the people going back home, or to the Arboretum, or Lake Washington. 

I drive through our Convention Center where there is an event almost daily and most certainly on weekends.  Busy, Busy, Busy.  Drivers say they get dizzy from this route.  Its not so much its circle as it is amazing variety of  people and places.

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