Picture of the year
Picture of the year Sound Transit

Maybe it’s a case of Friday doldrums, maybe it’s the ennui of life, or maybe it’s because I just made the mistake of looking up how many people have died so far from the coronavirus. But for whatever reason, this two and a half minute video about Sound Transit’s plans to expand light rail to Federal Way just moved me to tears at my desk.

On the surface this is a totally normal boring non-cry-worthy update on groundbreaking for an extension from Angle Lake to the Federal Way Transit Center, extending transportation options to three new stations over an additional 7.8 miles and moving closer to eventually connecting Seattle to Tacoma. Seems pretty straightforward, right?

But I don’t know, there’s just something about seeing all these people from diverse backgrounds and in community roles from a local artist all the way up to Governor Inslee that just made me aware of how connected and interdependent we all are especially at a time of crisis and … ohhhh geez here I go again.

This is ridiculous. It’s not like all of the Pacific Northwest is leaping up to declare ourselves Spartacus. It’s a construction update for crying out loud, not Bill Pullman’s speech at the end of Independence Day.

But this little video shows so many different stakeholders speaking about working together to improve peoples’ lives, some of them quarantining safely at home and others out in the community wearing masks to protect each others’ health. Recorded from various awkward camera angles, many of them clearly on dinky little cameraphones, it’s unpolished and personal in a way that government propaganda never is.

Even knowing how dire this time is, with people facing job loss and evictions and the unbearable death of loved ones, I didn’t realize just how much I needed to hear community leaders express that they’re still here, they’re still working hard on behalf of their people, and they’re looking forward to the day when we can all go out and see each other again and ride the train without feeling afraid.

I think it was the final moments of the video, with people handing a shovel off from person to person until it reaches Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff, that really broke me.

“You should look forward to a bright, more connected tomorrow,” he says, something that I've been waiting MONTHS for someone, anyone, to tell me, “and we’ll get back to what we do best.”

Then he plunges the shovel into the ground so construction can begin. I’m a mess.