Thanks to my new job, I am proud to say I am now included among the throngs of Portlanders who opt for public transportation (via Trimet MAX) each day. I can breeze by the bottleneck on I-84 and turn a blissful deaf ear to the accident reports on the radio. Instead, I just cruise along in a Pringles can on rails (Ray, I am giving you partial credit for that reference), listening to my iPod and waiting for “Old Town/Chinatown” to light up on the overhead monitor.
But Trimet does even more for me than get me from A to B. Oh yes. The MAX provides me not only a ride but also entertainment with almost every single ticket purchase. Some of this, of course, come as very typical and predictable passengers/behavior considering school is currently out for the summer and the MAX runs right by the mall. I truly can’t remember the last time I heard “like” so many times or was confronted by such an incredible amount of eyeliner (both on boys and girls). But there is also the lady that dresses like it’s still 1950 and talks about how she is currently encouraging her husband to invent personal bio-domes. And the overprotective grandmother, guarding her granddaughter with an evil eye and a below-the-shoulder mullet. Let’s not forget Portland’s own bearded lady, or at least the woman I saw heading home with a five o’clock shadow, nor shall overlook the young man sweetly serenading the MAX schedule at my stop. And, finally, the Taco Bell employee who decided to give career advice to my incredibly IT savvy and successfully employed boyfriend.
Now, all this isn’t to say I take everything in stride, smiling the whole time and letting the slightly off-kilter Trimet tourists be the cherry on top of my daily sundae. I definitely have my days when the crying children and the girl bragging about sneaking on to ride for free get to me. (I paid nearly $90 for such an experience, after all!) But when it comes down to it, I feel good about writing the MAX. There are no idiot drivers to worry about, it’s environmentally friendly, and, if nothing else, it is worth the stories.