San Francisco, Aug. 2

The Richmond train driver is usually a jovial sort, often announcing the destination as “R-R-R-RRRRRRRICHMOND! RICHMOND TRAIN! RRRRICHMOND!”

But not tonight. Tonight he simply called out the endpoint flatly, almost morosely.

I knew it was him from his distinctive voice even though I’ve never met or seen him.

It made me pause in my reading and look up and around the train car to see if anyone else had noticed.  A sea of faces absorbed by screens.

I went back to my book and reread the same paragraph three times as I wondered where his joy went. I wished I could ask him what was the matter. I wished I could tell him that I noticed. That someone was paying attention.