Thursday, June 29, 2006

The Impatient Bit

An example from as recently as yesterday evening’s commute.

I understand that public transportation in parts unfamiliar can be confusing. But there are times when it just seems that people refuse to understand and/or refuse to move through the system efficiently, even when they should be able to do so, thereby causing hassle for the rest of us, who use the system every day.

I take Caltrain and MUNI every day, to and from work. There is only one MUNI train that goes to the Caltrain Depot; and quite often, there is some delay or other f-wittage on MUNI’s end. And if there is one thing I am super, scarily, freakishly hyper and impatient about, it is taking my same Caltrain (the 270 ROCKS!) home every single day, without fail, exception or interference (unless, of course, I happen to get off work early and take an earlier train).

I headed down to MUNI as usual, where I noticed a couple with a double stroller speaking with the station agent. Mom and stroller paid their fare and entered through the side gate. Dad, with a giant canvas duffel, was wedged in the only fare gate that can be used by the folks with a Caltrain pass – since it is connected to a button in the station agent’s booth that manually opens the gate. Dad is fully and completely occupied in collecting his $1.50, one excruciating coin at a time, from the capacious depths of his duffel. Apparently having run out of the loose change that just hangs out in the duffel, he fumbled for a small drawstring bag within that (hopefully!) contained more change.

To be perfectly fair, the MUNI faregates only accept coins. However, even if you didn’t know this in advance, it seems weird to me that you wouldn’t have the change more accessible, either because you just changed a dollar, or because, like most normal people, you keep your change in (a) your pocket, (b) the change compartment of your wallet, or (c) a coin purse that is located somewhere more convenient than the very bottom of a large and probably disorganized duffel bag.

Meanwhile, I know that my MUNI train is due any moment, because I check before I leave the office. Just before I had my aneurysm, the station agent noticed me standing there; I showed her my pass, and she said I could go through the side gate. I went down to the platform, where my train was just pulling in.

I hopped on, pulled out my sock and started knitting.

Aaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhh, calm.

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