Monday, March 11, 2013

No Ticket, No Boots, No Problem

Last Wednesday I lost my Metra monthly train ticket. The few days after that I was holding out hope that my ticket might be recovered and wouldn't have to pay another $178 for another one. In the meantime, I still needed to ride the train. This is the story of the morning after I lost my ticket.

Look guys, I'm taking some big chances today. First, I'm going to play the ticket stub game with my delightful morning train conductor because I lost my ticket on the train yesterday. Second, I'm not wearing my boots. So yeah, things might get a little messy today. This is the kind of excitement that can only happen after you've moved to the 'burbs and completely given up on life. I mean, if I still lived in the city and was single these things wouldn't even register on my fucking radar. I mean, I'd have all sorts of other interesting shit to deal with and write about and make me happy. However, that's not me. I made some fucking major decisions. I moved to the 'burbs. I had a kid. Not in that order. That order is sadder than the order I actually did it in. I think. Yeah, definitely. Moving to the 'burbs before having a kid is definitely sadder because it means you gave up before you even had a kid. When I was single, City Jeff I was making decisions about what kind of sketch show I was going to do next and how I was going to get an agent and if signing up for was worth it. Now that I live in the 'burbs I get to make the exciting decisions that really affect my life. Like deciding what kind of salt to put in the water softener. Or figuring out when to replace the filter on the furnace. Or when to buy a fucking snowblower because it's now a matter of when not if. Some decisions get made for you. But today I decided to take some fucking chances. No boots. That's huge. The bottoms of my pants could get messy and I'd have to take them to the dry cleaners. The ticket thing. Wow. This is really something. I mean, I'm going to try to talk my way into her letting me ride by basically showing her the receipt for the ticket that I've already paid for. I mean, I don't even know if this is a conversation she'll have. Plus, I'm on the quiet car. I'm definitely going to disturb the peace by having a conversation with the fucking conductor in the goddamn quiet car. I know. I'm living life on the edge here. Imagine the annoyed stares I could get from the people around me. I mean, the dude in front of me is TRYING TO READ and the girl behind me is LISTENING TO MUSIC. This could be a disaster. Uh oh. The plot thickens. The voice over the PA isn't the typical conductor. Plus, she usually makes an appearance by now. I may be dealing with a complete stranger who hasn't seen me on the train every day. Boy this will really be a high-wire act. I haven't even told you the stakes. If the conductor (whoever it might be) doesn't take my ticket, I'll have to pay $6.25 for a one-way ticket. Yikes. Thankfully, I've got exact change. You know how things can be when you ask a conductor to make change for a ten or even a twenty. TENSE. They look at you like, "Get your shit together, buddy. What are you? Some kind of rookie at this riding the train thing? Pshhhhht." INTIMIDATING. I can't tell you how badly I want the conductor to come through the car. The suspense is killing me. I just want this impending public humiliation to be over with so I can finally go back to being another working zombie on the train waiting for his life to end.

Okay, we're at the last stop before Union Station. After this, things should get heated. That's when the conductor usually makes her (if it is her today) rounds. Buckle up. It's about to get real rocky. Oh man, we're pulling out of the station. She's probably in the first car taking tickets right now. It's just a matter of minutes now. Maybe less if those people have their shit together. You know, not like me. Uh Oh. The stakes have been raised. The guy in front of me is no longer TRYING TO READ, he's now TRYING TO NAP. Whoa. I'm totally going to disturb his cone of tranquility with my unnecessary drama. Trust me, dude. No one feels worse than I do about what's going to happen to your attempt to nap.

BAM! I called it. Different conductor. Of course, I forgot that his need to check tickets would disturb this guy's nap session, so I'm off the hook for that. When I explained the situation, he looked at me all stern-like and said, "I'll give you a day to find it." Oh, you will? YOU will? It's your call, guy who I've never seen on my goddamn train before? If it was the regular lady, I might have accepted that answer. However, you come in here strutting around like you own the goddamn place. Listen, I've ridden this train more than you have, buddy. Don't come stomping around here like you own the fucking joint on your first day. You've got to earn it a little bit. Damn, I told you there was going to be some major drama. Shit, that was TENSE. Deep breath. Deep breath. Happy thoughts.

Who said living in the 'burbs couldn't be exciting?

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