This is why I say hello

Portland is comprised of 134 square miles of real estate within Multnomah County, which itself stretches 465 square miles. That county resides in the 96,000 square miles of land known as Oregon, just one of 50 states in the 3,800,000 square mile tract we call the United States, an enormous nation and yet, unbelievably, barely 2% of the 198,000,000 square miles of dirt and water that makes up the surface of the earth. And that is just the earth, a tiny planet suspended in an apparently limitless universe that extends endlessly in every direction.

I don’t know you. I don’t want to be friends. I don’t want to come to your house to watch movies or even chatter your ear off for the whole ride downtown. I’m simply amazed that within all this infinite space, within these hundreds of millions of miles of planetary terrain, at this moment we are so close together on this bus that your thigh is pressing against mine.

That’s why I say hello.

Story contributed by Bill Reagan (@williamreagan). Read more of Bill’s writings at

About Bill Reagan

Bill Reagan enjoys how public transit juxtaposes neighbors and strangers in a way no other microcosm of our community can. He likes eavesdropping, striking up random conversations, and watching how people act when they think no one is looking. He can be found online at and @WilliamReagan on Twitter.
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