Resolutions

Like every last one of you, I’ve already failed all of my new year’s resolutions. Mine, predictably enough, were mostly TriMet-based. Here’s my shameful list of broken resolutions.

1. Quit getting irked when someone assigns their bag its own seat on a crowded train. I tell myself, over and over again, that there’s just nothing I can do about this. The corollary is when you’re driving, and someone is cutting through traffic like a lunatic, and you appoint yourself as the person who is going to bring that guy to justice by pulling in front of him and slowing down. Invariably the guy finds a way around you, and your noble attempt goes for naught. All the evil glances in the world won’t help when someone parks their bag on a seat (or two… or THREE). All you can do is live in hope that a passenger will walk up and simply ask for the bag to be moved. Or, better, that someone will take that bag and hurl it through an open door. Throw mama from the train.

2. Take the headphones off once in a while, and strike up a conversation. There’s a good reason that I can’t do this – I’ve witnessed too many one-sided, unwanted conversations on the train, nearly always involving some old dude like me and some poor young woman who’d really just like to be left the fuck ALONE. Seeing these makes me avoid even the most innocuous conversation. Even when the gender/age balance is equal, I’m always concerned that someone will be like I’ve been many times on the train, which is sitting there with my eyes straight ahead and praying that no one will try and make me speak. At the end of my day, I’ve often spoken enough, thanks. Plus, there’s always the risk that you’re going to run into that person who will automatically appoint you their new best friend. See #3.

3. Never, ever make eye contact with The JobSeeking Lady. There’s a nice enough woman who I run into every once in a while. She’s professionally dressed, she’s smiling, and she’s deeply, deeply disturbed. I had one unwitting conversation with her, once, and within two minutes I could feel her trying to burrow into my soul out of some deep need that I’d never be able to comprehend. She told me the abbreviated version of her life story, and then told me that her psychologists (note the plural) had advised her not to move again quite yet, even though her move to Portland had been so ill-advised. I think she started the conversation with something like “are you in marketing?” Nope. No, I’m not in marketing. I don’t know what marketing is. I don’t even speak English right now! My tongue was cut out by Satan! And I miss my headphones right now. Badly.

4. Find out the name of the guy who occasionally drives my 57 bus. When the schedules changed a while back, I lost my favorite driver. His bus is now a little late for me, so I catch the earlier one, which seems to be a revolving door, driver-wise. This guy is awesome – he looks like he should play a bus driver on TV. One day when he pulled in early to Hillsboro Central, he entertained us with his views about investing (buy gold, and dammit, he shouldn’t have gotten rid of his stash), driving (great work, people are good at heart), and a number of other topics. My fear, I think, is that if I learn his name I’ll take away his magic. When I was working in TV, I learned all of the things that are wrong with learning about famous people, including the fact that famous people are just as fucked up as the rest of us. I think I’ll just leave the 57 guy alone and go with it.

5. Write more stuff for TriMet Diaries. FAIL. Working on it, though. See you soon.

Story by official TriMet Diaries contributor Dr. Jeff Guardalabene, who also blogs at drjeffblog.blogspot.com. Follow @doctor_jeff on Twitter!

And make sure to check out Dr. Jeff’s Holiday Fare project, which aims to collect and deliver transit tickets to those in need this holiday season!

About Dr. Jeff

Dr. Jeff, in real life Dr. Jeff Guardalabene, is a Portland-area psychologist, who logs 300-plus miles on TriMet each week. He often live-tweets his commute to avoid intellectual stimulation. He lives with his wife and their five children and blogs about psychology issues at drjeffblog.blogspot.com. Follow @Doctor_Jeff on Twitter.
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2 Responses to Resolutions

  1. al m says:

    Describe the 57 driver, what time did you see him and where?
    I’m curious.

  2. Dr. Jeff says:

    Mid-late 50s, gray hair, glasses. He’s in the regular morning rotation and leaves Hillsboro Central westbound at about 7:55 or so. Great guy, very professional driver, super-good to his passengers. Really good operator.

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