Friday, August 20, 2004


This morning on my way to a meeting. I am enjoying the cold AC in the bus as the air outside is getting unbearable even that early. Suddenly the bus stops. The driver says something that I can't understand and everybody starts getting out. There are women with kids and strollers, some old people painfully making their way out of the bus. I'm not quite sure what's happening and as I follow people out from the back door, I am greeted by the hot and humid air that I had just escaped.
I walk up to the front door of the bus. There is a small line there. People are trying to get in and are told by the driver that they can't. One of the young guys there asks for a transfer. A piece of paper that will allow him to travel for free for at least two hours on any of the bus lines, sometimes even more: drivers are seldom willing to argue for an hour or so...
I see at his grin that he didn't have a ticket in the first place. He is clutching his transfer, happy to have beaten the system, if only for a dollar and twenty five cents.
I ask the driver. "What's happening?". "The bus is broken," she says "the "turn off the engine" light came up, so that's what I am doing."
I ask for a transfer to be able to board the bus coming right behind. She looks at me suspiciously "You were not in my bus before! ". Her bus not mine. I protest "Yes I was, I boarded about 4 stations before." A proof of my sincerity. I am trying to recall any facts from my boarding the bus 5 minutes before. Was there any thing that could help her remember me? "I could not get the dollar bill in the machine" I say, recalling the only small story I had when I entered. She hands me the paper but by the way she is looking at me, I can tell that she does not believe me. She thinks I am a cheater. And feeling her disapproving eyes on me, I feel that I must have done it.
It didn't matter at the end. The other driver was accepting everybody in without checking.


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