M. Beasley.

That is the name on his badge and on the engraved nameplate that he slides into the slot above the toll box for bus number 344. For the two years I have ridden this bus, he is The man. Good weather and bad, Mr.B has pulled that big diesel engine up to the curb and nodded his head as each passenger sorted through change and eased their way to a seat. Mr.B probably has a family , although I have never heard him speak of them. I say that because of the one photo he has attached to his window visor with a rubber band. A smiling high school graduate, a girl, who must favor her mother.

M.Beasley is middle aged and stocky. Short, military style hair cut and clean shaven face. He wears a short sleeve blue DDOT shirt no matter what the temperature and that could be because he is warm all the time, or it could be so everyone can see his forearms, which are the width of my thighs, which is to say: huge.

He wears yellow tinted sun glasses and always has a single toothpick in between clenched teeth. He doesn't pull on it or slide it around its just 'there' He has no tattoos visible and neither ear is pierced. If you would call him Old school he wouldn't catch the reference. But he is a throw back to an earlier time that is for sure.

In all this time I have never seen him add any thing else personal about his cab. I used to think he was Catholic, because there is a single strand of rosary hanging from one of his rear mirrors (he has three different ones). But it turns out it belongs to another driver - "and I just let her keep it there, out of respect" (this was overheard when a nun was asking him which parish he belonged to). His words were not spoken in a sarcastic manner, just precise and clear, which fit with his manners, generally speaking.

Mr.B. has little to say, but he notices everything. He points to spare seats if someone is standing in the aisle and he hears the sound of every gum wrapper that hits the floor. He give dirty looks when that is sufficient and he makes somber comments about loud radios, food or drink that have been smuggled aboard

"I saw you with that sandwich, don't bring them on here no more or I'll be forced to throw you off this thing"

He anticipates careless drivers and traffic tie ups and finds a way to pull his wide wheels into and out of construction delays without sending old ladies flying into the middle aisle. If that sounds easy, you haven't ridden on a city bus lately.

Mr.B is serene at his task. His efficiency permeates every movement and he wastes neither time or words. He seems disinterested in conversation, but will give directions about routes and transfers, unasked, if he hears a passenger query someone else. Mr.B. keeps his eyes on the road and has that almost supernatural sense of anticipation that all good drivers have. He does very little honking because he "knows" where he is going, even if traffic does not. Sometimes, if I am sitting real close I can hear words muttered under his breath.

"yes, that's my lane, yes it is. Yes, I am scooting over, yes, that's all right, thank you now. No, no you can't get in there. You're too slow mr.sportcar, you're gonna have to wait"

He doesn't smile and he doesn't let on that he enjoys controlling his route. But not seeing his expression doesn't mean it isn't true

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