I see many things. I hear even more. I am getting a deeper understanding for the people of this place, which is exactly what I anticipated. What I wasn’t expecting was how much these moments would make me think.

I know I really do not matter to most of my riders. I know that I’m a means to an end; a cog in the pattern and machinery of their day. What they don’t know is that I pay attention. I’m seeing patterns. I can tell when they’ve had a good day or bad, coffee or no, had a harried morning or not. Most say a polite “thank-you” upon their departure. Some have even warmed up to me and begun speaking to me beyond the silent nod. Some never will do that, too.

I may take these impressions and write more about them. I may try to paint a picture of Portland that goes beyond donuts, coffee, beer, and beards. There is certainly enough fodder just aboard the short-line buses I drive.

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