In short, the bus and MAX train ride were technically flawless. Even the preparations went smooth. Last night I used TriMet’s website to verify my travel plans. After entering my home address, my destination (just entered “Oregon Convention Center,” no address) and the time I needed to arrive by, the website informed me of where and when to catch my bus. It also let me know where to depart the bus and then walk to catch my MAX train. As I said, everything was flawless. Even the times were right on. But, despite this, the experience was mundane and uninspiring.
Then, on my short MAX ride, the coachman alerted us to the presence of a sea lion in the river to our right as we crossed the Steel Bridge. My transportation experience transformed immediately from an impersonal task into a shared experience. People around me morphed from mere indistinguishable shapes to inquisitive and true community partners.
One little action changed my experience.