April 2nd, 2008

disco star

(no subject)

I'm a big HUGE fan of public transit. I always do what I can to support it - always pay for my fare, sometimes even more than I need to (i.e. a full day pass, even if I'm not sure if I'm going to need it.)

This being said...

Yesterday, on the way to band practice, I got off of my bus right as the Max arrived. I have NEVER ridden the Max (for those of you not in the Portland area, the Max is the light rail system here.) without buying a ticket for it. I have ridden it many many times, and have never seen anyone ever get busted - or even questioned - as to whether or not they have paid their fare. As I didn't want to wait for another 20 min or so for the next one, I just jumped on, thinking I would pay it when I transfered, or somesuch.

When I pulled into Chinatown and got off the yellow, my transfer showed up immediately behind it. I totally forgot to grab a ticket - heck, I was about half way through my transit, so it had completely slipped my mind. I jumped onto the blue and everything was hunky dory....

... until one stop before the stop where I disembark, a giant wave of inspectors came on board, swarming over the populace, demanding in loud voices to see tickets.

As the train left that stop and headed to the next, I prayed for it to stop quickly, as the inspector closest to me was tied up with one gentleman who didn't seem to have his ticket, but who was making a frantic show of looking through everything to find it. The second the train stopped, but before the door opened, Mr. Inspectorman flew around him and barked at the rest of us to show tickets. The door opened, and I went to stand up, and he loomed over me, glaring. "Um... I didn't have cash and the machine wasn't accepting cards?" I said feebly, fighting the urge to vomit. (My entire life, I could never handle getting in trouble.)
"Where did you get on?"
"Delta Park, but this is my stop."
"... this train doesn't go to Delta Park."
"*HEAVY SIGH* do you have i.d.?"
"Step off the train with me. NOW."

I decided then to stop trying to make up excuses and just be frank with the man. Yes, I had done a Very Bad Thing, but I'm an honest person overall, and that should give me credit, right?


I handed the man my Arizona driver's license and he started to write information down, calling all my stats over his radio to ... whomever was at the other end. I tell him that I'm terribly embarassed and have always paid my fare before.
"Is this your current address?"
"What is it?" I give it to him. "How long have you lived there?"
"Um.... four ... years?"
I then get a GIANT lecture about what a horrible person I am because I haven't obtained a Washington State driver's license. I explained that I'm a pedestrian, and he replied with something to the effect that now that they have my information, THEY WILL FIND ME. I peek around him and see Ben sitting in his car, waiting to pick me up.

I looked around and saw many inspectors with a great number of people in tow - mostly minority non-English speaking families and teenagers. Several people come up to my inspector and ask where theirs went, as they have their i.d. (Apparently, some guy jumped off the train and ran for it, resulting in a misdimeanor and a $500+ fine.)

Mr. Inspectorguy finishes with the information and hands me my license and a ticket. "I gave you a warning this time, but next time, it will be a $94 fee."
"I understand. It won't happen again."
"Don't make me talk to you again - you WILL be fined."
"I understand. It won't happen again."
"I understand this. I have never done this before and certainly never will again."
He starts moving around people standing between us to yell, "DO NOT MAKE ME TALK TO YOU AGAIN!"

Anyhoo. I ended up at Ben's, we had a successful and productive band practice. I had to potty halfway through... I did my deed and stood up to pull up my pants. My pants suddenly got much lighter, as I heard a "PLOOP!"

"OH NOE!!!"

I had carried a notebook from work in my back pocket - I kept it with me at all times so that if I came across something on the floor, I could write it down to come back to later, instead of getting side tracked with it. I do have the attention span of a drunken gnat. Anyhoo... my notebook and my bank card had fallen in the urine-filled toilet and sank immediately to the bottom and into the pipe a bit. Yes, I had to fish around in my own pee to get my bank card and notebook. The notebook went immediately in the trash, and I washed my hand and card many times.