As I said a few posts ago, my brother asked me to build him a bicycle to ride to the gym. I happily did so, and decided to ride it to work today to give it a sort of a shakedown ride, and to get yet another bicycle out of my garage. I made to the station just fine, if a little winded. Once I got to the station, things started to go downhill, and not in the way I'd prefer when riding a bicycle. DART recently (well, since I stpped riding regularly) raised the price of a single day ticket by $1.00. This isn't a big raise, and isn't really that big of a deal, I suppose. Well it isn't that big a deal if you have all four of those dollars when you need to buy your ticket, which I did not. I swear to you that I counted all four dollar bills out, and put them in my pocket before I left, but somehow one of my dollars managed to free itself and was nowhere to be found when I went to buy my ticket.
I actually arrived at the station just as the southbound train was pulling in, and while I wildly searched my pockets for the missing dollar I watched the train pull away. As I stood there staring at the machine and cursing our cashless society and the fool that decided not to put a credit card swiper on the ticket machine I realized that I didn't even have my debit card with me. No debit card means no easy cash at 7:10 in the morning. I was stuck.
As I stepped away from the ticket machine, an older gentleman wearing a day-glo yellow motorcycle jacket (with no motorcycle in sight) stepped up after me. I saw him paying for his ticket with a five dollar bill, and I heard the change drop in the return as he got his ticket. The train lights were flashing signaling an approaching train, so I stepped to him and said,
"Sir, I'm not a bum, but I am short a dollar for my fare. Can you spare your change?"
He looked me over very closely and kind of shook his head as he tried to decide wether I was really a bum or not. I always have a "lucky" silver quarter with me, and I quickly offered it to him in exchange.
"This is worth at least $4.00 - it's real silver. I'm happy to give it to you for your dollar."
He handed me his change and said "I don't want your quarter - here."
As I thanked him from the bottom of my heart, the train pulled up to the station. Turning to the ticket machine, I saw another woman who had sidled in behind me during my panhandling session trying to stuff the limpest, most wrinkled dollar bill I have ever seen into the payment slot. In went the dollar - then immediately out again. Three times. Finally, the fourth time it went through, and we had to wait while her ticket was printed. As I stepped to the ticket machine, I waved a the driver and held up the universal "hold on one second" finger. Unfortunately the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one, and my universal sign language did not work. I could literally hear the machine printing my ticket as the train started to pull away.
I gave him a different universal finger sign as he made his merry way down the tracks.
During my foray into hustling for change, I had unzipped the smaller outside pocket on my (fairly expensive) Munsingwear backpack to offer the quarter, and when I tried to zip it back up, I had a zipper blowout. There I was, standing at the train station, struggling with my backpack and headphones (which kept getting caught up in my struggles and being pulled out) when the water bottle I had in my bag decided to come open and spill all over my bag and leg. Fantastic.
When the next train arrived, it was thankfully empty, so I didn't have to add to the rough morning by struggling for a spot to put my bicycle. I walked in, stood at the end of the car, took a photo, and watched my iPhone shut off as it died flat.
I have had better mornings, for sure.