“I din’ know you drive up this far,” said a woman who usually rides my 7 only when deep within the bowels of the Valley. We were downtown.

“Yup. It’s my route.”
“He likes the 7,” a passenger nearby explained. “You go to the hood, then go downtown! Go to the hood, go downtown! Go to the hood–”
“Ha!”
“He loves it!”
“You know what though?” I asked.
“Uh.”
“Some of the friendliest people are on this route. Yeah.”
“Even though it’s tha hood?”
“This route has some of the friendliest people on it.”

It was just a statement of truth on my part, but he heard that and more. It was music. In a singsong voice he began improvising, rhythm sneaking in unawares.

“It’s the baddest hood, but it got the friendliest people. It’s the baddest hood, but the friendliest people. The baddest,”
“Some of my favorite people are on this!” I exclaimed.

He was the backing vocal to our spoken-word poem. An older gentleman with a beret. I imagined him on a stoop on Sunday afternoon, tapping his knee to keep time as he did now, making music on the porch with friends.

“The baddest hood, the friendliest,”
“I don’t know how it works!”
“Friendliest people. The baddest,”
“But I keep comin’ back!”
“Friendliest,”
“I can’t help myself!”
“The baddest hood, the friendliest,”
“It’s a crazy world we live in!”

“Nice,” a nearby resident passenger grinned. I just hope they knew I meant every word.

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Nathan Vass has had work displayed in over twenty photography shows, designed a book and three album covers, including two for Neil Welch. His “My Favorite Things” tour at Seattle Art Museum was the highest-attended such tour there. Nathan is also the director of eight films, four of which have shown at festivals, and one of which premiered at Henry Art Gallery. He owns a photography business, Two Photography, with Larry Huang, and has photographed a dozen-plus weddings. Born in South Central LA, he holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Washington, and is also a prolific writer and sometime painter. Formerly a Hollywood resident, he still contributes film reviews to Erik Samdahl's site, Filmjabber. In addition, he holds a side job as a public bus driver, which he enjoys almost as much as directing films- if not slightly more so! He is a two-time winner of Metro’s Operator of the Month award and holds a record number of commendations.