I have a couple problems that I need to get taken care of immediately…The most pressing, I need to get with my credit union and have them send me my pin number for my bankcard because I have no way of getting cash until then. Trust me, I have tried. Most of you might think, well if you have a credit card, then why would you need cash?
Then it hits me, PURSES!
All girls have change at the bottom of their purses, so I race upstairs, time check, 9:18, (I have to leave the house by 9:50) and…where are they…oh, score, four purses, yea! I grab the biggest one I own first, dump it out, rummage through the pieces of gum, half wrapped with purse debris clinging on to dear life. (Pieces of gum such as this are disgusting, but…you can’t throw them out because you never know when the urge to chew your mouth to spearmint bliss is going to hit.) Over the mounds of lip gloss, receipts galore, random diamond stud, card of some dude I met last night who is “going to make me a star” READ: Harvest my kidneys – no thank you and voila, change! Quarters are like gold bits of love, I only find two.. there are a couple dimes and some nickels…fifty, sixty, sixty-five, seventy-five..(half way there!) on to the next bag, like it was a Las Vegas slot machine, I hit sixty cents!!! One dollar and thirty-five cents, all I need is fifteen more cents! Next purse, dry as the Mohave desert, boo….last chance is this tiny baguette I have, not very functional, but oh so cute, and I know, there ain’t no change in there…I dump it, knowing the outcome, I have hope…no change, but – sweet, there is my license, so it wasn’t a total loss…
Time check, 9:30. I have 20 minutes. Crunch time. Think, think Caroline – A-HA! The catch-all kitchen drawer!
I hit the door and make it to the bus stop with 5 minutes to spare, swwwweeet! I am counting out my change to make double sure it’s the right amount, and in the slowest of slow motion, a quarter drops out of my hand and tumbles in the air ever-so-slowly to the ground.. Remember in Old School when will Farrell gets shot with the tranquilizer and he is screaming in slow motion so his voice sounds like Buffalo Bill, (put the lotion in the basket) that was me, nnnnnnnnnnnnooooooooooooooo…, that’s not concrete, that’s a tree grate, NNNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOO!!
I have all this change in my hands that I must protect from joining their friend in change purgatory, I have to get that quarter and of course, Of. Course. Here comes the bus. I carefully put the change that I had in my hand in my pocket and look down…the quarter, I kid you not, is teetering on the edge of one of the grate bars, or whatever it’s called, and I just know at any second it going to commit to going all the way in and then – I’m screwed. Please God, please God…Then, thankfully I was an Operation champ back in the day, I make my fingers into tweezers and carefully bend down to retrieve my quarter, my lifeline to class.. As I am going in for the gold, the bus pulls up and stops, I am going to miss this bus because I’m in the middle of this procedure and I can’t seem to get it, nurse, wipe my brow please…looking up, through the massive beads of sweat, are my eyes deceiving me? Can it be that’s the express bus, not the 704? Yessss….deep breath….back to the quarter, finally, shaking like I am going through withdrawals, I grab the quarter with my two fingers (makeshift tweezers), squeezing it so hard I nearly draw blood and maneuver my hand with the quarter in it, successfully bring it up to safety.
Okay…..Guess I will figure this one out on the fly. The 704 bus gets there, and I get on. As I’m pouring my fare into the collection box, I ask the driver. “Hi! I’m first time rider, long time mass transportation lover, (laugh and flash a smile) and I am wondering if you can give me a transfer to the 780 bus, please.” As he shuts the door and starts to drive, “we don’t do transfers.”
“Excuse me? What?” What did he just say? They don’t do transfers? “Uh…sorry Sir, what did you say?”
“I said, we don’t do transfers.”
Meanwhile…there is this guy sitting across from me on his phone, oh his phone, talking at the top of his lungs. “Did you get my fax? I faxed it this morning. Yeah, this morning. I faxed it. Do you see it? Did you get it?” And he has mounds of papers piled on his lap. “I faxed it already. Do you see it. Did you get it.” I wanted, in the politest of neighborly fashion, to explain to the gentlemen, no, whomever you’re talking to didn’t get the fax. But I opt not to. I need to figure out how I am going to get on the 780 bus and I have 2 blocks to do so.
“Excuse me Sir?”
“Sorry, but I have never ridden the bus before and I am unclear how to transfer to the 780 bus.”
“You get off and get back on.”
“Uh..right, right but without a transfer slip, do I have to pay again.”
“Do buses take credit cards?”
“Um, okay, uh, I actually just put all the change (point to the collection box) I have in the collection box to get on this bus.”
“So use two dollar bills.”
“Yeah, I don’t have any more cash.”
“Sir, is there a way, to buy, maybe, a season pass for the bus?”
“Go online and it will tell you.”
I don’t understand why this has to be so hard.
What? WTF was that supposed to mean? Talk about being dazed and confused….
”Sorry Sir, What?”
“First time rider or been riding forever, I treat all riders the same.”
“Sir, I am not looking for any special privileges I just need some help getting to the 6500 block of Hollywood Blvd.”
Silence. Really???? Fine. I pull out my phone, GPS my location and figure out how to get there from the street I am on. I realize I can ride the bus up to Highland Avenue and walk, sprint the mile and a half to Hollywood Blvd and pray I make it to class on time.
“That’s what the map says” and point to the route map.
Didn’t see that there. “Thanks.”
As we approach Highland, I am absolutely certain the guy on the phone is bat-shit crazy, I push the “request to stop” button, stand up, put on my backpack and prepare for my dash to class.
As I’m standing there, the bus driver stops, opens the door and I star to exit.
Was he talking to me? I turn back around.
He motions across the street, “you can buy a bus pass over there, at that check cashing place.”
“Over there?” and I point to where he casually batted the air in the direction he said the check cashing place was.
I look across the street, and there it is, like a gift from above, between Do-Nut Time and the all-you-can eat Indian buffet place, CHECK CASHING.
A ghost town that was once, in it’s days of glory, a place to buy bus passes and cash checks and pay your water bill.
Posted by Caroline Parker on July 12, 2011 02:27 am
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