As we pull up to Third and James, southbound, a couple of folks get on whom I recognize. “Heeyy,” I say to them, beaming. We sit for the light nearside Jefferson. Across the way is Triangle Park, that open-air bedroom and bazaar, populated with denizens of all stripes and smells. I hear a roar coming my way from over there: “YO, NATHAN!”

It’s him, another buddy, arms extended in a full-body wave. I don’t know his name, but I’m equally thrilled to see him again– black skullcap rag, fluorescent jacket, construction green, with working boots and a crusty smile. Another friendly face from the bus. People remember when you’re kind.

I roll forward and get stopped at the next red light, only sixty-odd feet ahead, facing Yesler. In my right periphery is a dark-skinned figure in white, shouting up at me. “Aaay! Aaay!”

It’s Sho Luv.* He’s letting his hair grow out, blossoming into a full-bodied ‘fro that would make anyone jealous. I open the doors and respond in kind. This is what red lights were made for. “Mister Sho Luv! Heeey, man! I see you on every end o’ town! It’s like there’s ten uh you, jus’ hangin’ around all over!”

I forget his exact response, but he was as excited as I was, high off the elation of seeing and being seen. He wasn’t interested in a ride, or a transfer, or anything; the man just wanted to belt out a hello. I said something about him having magic powers, and at the green light we went our separate merry ways.

A older fellow inside the bus marveled, saying, “you got clout. You got clout on every corner, huh?”
I smiled before saying, “a little!” As we completed the turn onto Third South I added, “good people everywhere, you know?”
“I know tha’s right!”

*Mr. Luv is the gentleman in the linked 358 post with whom I discuss South Gate, right before talking with the researcher about funding for tuberculosis. His name isn’t mentioned because that was the first time we spoke, and as such hadn’t formally met yet.

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Nathan Vass is an artist, filmmaker, photographer, and author by day, and a Metro bus driver by night, where his community-building work has been showcased on TED, NPR, The Seattle Times, KING 5 and landed him a spot on Seattle Magazine’s 2018 list of the 35 Most Influential People in Seattle. He has shown in over forty photography shows is also the director of nine films, six of which have shown at festivals, and one of which premiered at Henry Art Gallery. His book, The Lines That Make Us, is a Seattle bestseller and 2019 WA State Book Awards finalist.