Tuesday, May 13, 2008

PDX: Save Steve.


When I lived in Seattle, I heard whispers about a bus driver who was so nice he baked brownies for his riders every day before his shift, even if his shift started at 5 AM. One morning, on my way to Queen Anne Hill, I blindly shoved my $1.50 in the slot, and the bus driver reciprocated by shoving a Tupperware of warm brownies at me. "Have one," he said brightly.

In Portland, there is Steve. Now, when I'm on a bus, I generally do everything in my power to pretend I'm not. I take my personal space and mentally try to expand it to the size of a football field. But this guy! Steve! He drives the #15 bus I take each night across downtown, across the Willamette river and into Southeast Portland. Stuck in traffic? He would sing songs and tell jokes. In another life, he would've done stand-up. Or maybe he does stand-up in this life, and that's why he drives a city bus. Anyway.

A while ago, Steve stopped driving the bus during that shift. Or, so I thought. Then I heard our bus driver make a slightly surly remark as we sat in silence, in traffic, about how if he hadn't been sanctioned, this is where he would make a joke. I recognized the flashy use of the bus intercom for non bus-related business. That was Steve! Steve lives!

The only reason I hadn't realized that Suddenly Silent Steve was leaving a hole in my life (in retrospect, he was absolutely) was because, quite honestly, he made me uncomfortable when he was noisily at the wheel (me and my attempts at a football field-sized bubble, you see). But today as it took the #15 40 minutes to go an unseemly 13 blocks, and his only observation was how with enough emails he could bug his supervisor into letting him tell jokes again. So, Portland readers, I implore you: Save Steve. Public transportation is dismal, and anyone who tries to make it less so by infusing it with humor should be applauded, should be elected to public office (considered running, Steve?). A world that bows to bus riders who are offended by lame jokes and sunshine, or bus supervisors who worry that driver handing out brownies without a food permit could be a liability - that's not a world I'm ready to live in. It seems that in an effort to protect ourselves, we often deny ourselves our own humanity.

Save Steve! Bus Driver Steve on the #15 from NW 23rd to 60th (or Parkrose)
Email Tri-Met: http://www.trimet.org/contact/comments.htm


janet said...

Please, please, please, send this blog to Steve's supervisor!!!! Jan

Christian said...

Hi Eden from Sweden -

I posted about your blog post on my own blog - TriMetiquette. I had already covered a little bit about Steve, which I linked to on my most recent post. You can read it here:



Sarah said...

I don't know Steve, but I love Steve.