Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Bus psychologist

The guy should be a psychologist. He is a bus driver and yesterday I walked into his bus.
I asked for a transfer and stood there while looking for change to pay the fare ($1.25 in DC). I already put a dollar. I'm missing the 25 cents in change. I can see plenty of pennies in my wallet, but no dime, nickels or quarters. I explained and he says "Have a nice day!" which means he is letting me ride the bus for only a $1. I thank him but as I am walking to my seat I realize that I have not looked in my other wallet.
A trick I learned while living in NY City. Always carry two wallets in case you get mugged. One contains petty cash -- never more than $10 -- and only a bank card. I'm not sure it would work though ("Let me check... Yes, that's it. You want to take THIS wallet and not THAT one"...).

I may have coins in that wallet. Suddenly the thought of not having paid the 25 cents for the bus ticket is bugging me. I have to check. Sure enough, I more than 25 cents in change.
I am happy while walking back to the driver and telling him "Sir! I have the money!" His reaction surprises me. He is almost annoyed at me and answers back "You can't take anything from nobody, hu! You don't like people to do you favors, do you??" He is snapping the words at me as I try to explain that, well, I have the money to cover my fare. That's all there is to it. But he does not smile nor laughs with me. He is just shaking his head in front of what I fear now is a terrible insult I did but refusing his gracious "Have a nice day" fare offer.
I am probably less taken aback by his reaction than by the fact that he guessed right.
I go sit in the back of the bus.


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