I've ridden with that driver before. He's mostly harmless. ;)
Less dramatically... he probably has a diminished immune system and is protecting himself from common air-borne illnesses.
Is this a premonition or did it happen on July 22 at 10pm? Apocalypse to come, perhaps?
I have seen this guy several times in my past 12 years of living in Seattle and riding metro. Totally harmless, just strange is all. But Charles you seem to be a little bit paranoid. You really should open your mind up and be more accepting.
Um, maybe he has a cold and was trying to be polite and not transmit it to anyone?
Why don't you frickin' ask him? You're a reporter, sort of, right? You work for a sort of newspaper, right? But if he told you why he wears the mask and his answer was boring then you wouldn't have a post. Better to play paranoid hipster writer and just imagine ...
Why didn't you just ask him? Aren't you all about understanding everything? Had you asked, you'd have an answer. Like so, you would not have made this post, where you sound like a total jerk.
It doesn't seem like Charles ever confronts anyone directly about his questions...he just writes Slog posts where he doens't really interact with commenters either.
I once rode the #8 late at night with this guy and talked to him the whole trip. He was your average old bus driver, bit of a curmugeon (sp?) but friendly. I never had the courage to ask about the mask. There is a lady driver who dons the mask as well.
Myabe it is because they come into contact with hundreds (thousands?) of people every day and they don't want to contract something nasty, like say, oh, TB? Just a thought...
If I drove a Metro bus, with the hordes of diseased and insane people getting on and off all day, I'd wear a mask too. It would not surprise me at all to hear that this driver was once sprayed with a syringe or something.
ROFL @ roag #7
"You're a reporter, sort of, right?"
calm the fuck down people, maybe...just maybe, Charles was tired (it was a Sunday at 10pm) and just didn't want to deal with any sort of confrontation that may arise from something abnormal.
Just because he's a writer doesn't mean that he needs to investigate every fucking thing.
I listened in on someone who asked him. He says he is exposed to everyone's colds and flues all day and doesn't want to get sick.
A little over the top, but kinda understandable.
I agree with #2.
yeah. pretty common in japan for example. not so common in the states but also not such a bad idea for a bus driver. if it had been a full-on gas mask it would have been a different story altogether though i understand not feeling like dealing with the facial tics of the public universe. blepharospasms of the real. next bus was fine, eh?
also, people wear surical masks in public in other countries with bad polution in order to reduce the effect of allergies.
@9...looks like the date has been corrected so Charles (or an editor?) must at least read the comments.
Could be allergy or hay fever related. I have been getting slammed by hay fever off and on through July.
Better a surgical mask than an eye patch.
Worst "Last Days" hot tipper ever.
Some cultures consider it extremely impolite to be sick in public. In some of SF's Chinese neighborhoods, you see a lot of people wearing surgical masks because of this.
More likely though, it's the drivers reaction to "I feel a cold coming on", or a weakened immune system, as was mentioned already.
Gee, I dunno, maybe he's tired of having people get on the bus, sneeze on him, and make him sick enough to miss work, so that he gets threatened with loss of his job?
Maybe he's had transplant surgery and is on immunosuppressant drugs and doesn't want to risk catching cooties.
Maybe he has AIDS, is immunosuppressed, and will die if he catches flu.
Maybe he likes yanking the chain of paranoid, freakishly passive-aggressive passengers who can't deal with anything remotely outside their "normal" experience.
None of those are your business. If he drives competently, that is your only concern.
Oh, and I've been riding Metro Transit and its predecessor here since the early 1960s. They've ALWAYS hired crazy people as drivers. Crazy people actually do better over the long term.
Yeah, Charles, the actual solution to your dilemma here would be to say, "Say, why are you wearing a mask?"
Also, to further what Geni said, crazy people a) are willing to do a fucked up job like haul dozens of assholes between neighborhoods and b) probably won't get offered better jobs and quit on them.
Charles, don't travel to Japan. I don't think you're mentally well enough.
In order to combat spam, we are no longer accepting comments on this post (or any post more than 45 days old).