There are some obvious benefits to taking public transit, as well as drawbacks. I could do without the shouters and the crazy monologues, for instance; if I was driving, I could just turn off talk radio. But last night, I saw a new chapter in a story I would not have known about if I was isolated in a car.
The last leg of my morning commute is the 12 bus from Tigard Transit Center. One of the stops on Barbur Blvd. usually brings us a handful of students on their way to Wilson High School. Last school year I got used to seeing the same faces and hearing their chatter as they boarded. When school started up last month, I noticed one of the regulars was not among them. This youngster was an energetic dark-haired girl who liked to sit with one of the other girls and gossip giddily. When the students returned from last winter break, I saw her downcast face and teased her about it, which made her smile for a second. Anyway, I figured she must have graduated and didn’t think any more of it.
I saw her last night as I took the 12 on my way home, but I hardly recognized her. She was dressed as though she was coming home from a job where clothes are important. Her complexion was cleared up and her hair was well-styled. She carried herself differently, too. In short, she looked a lot more like a young woman now. The changes made me smile, and (not for the first time) I was glad that I get to ride the 12.