Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Metrocard, Courtesy of His Highness, Lord Adam

During my lunch break I ran up to J&R for a quick shopping trip. I borrowed a coworker's 30-day Metrocard so I could save the $4 subway fare.

As I approached the cashier I noticed a Metrocard lying on the ground. In New York it's not an unusual sight. I tought twice about whether or not to pick it up. My first thought was to pick up the trash.

(I realize the futility of trying to eliminate litter in New York. I almost never give in to the temptation - pearls before swine, as Laurie says - but even after more than 5 years in New York I still feel the urge, and will innocently tell strangers who drop trash on the subway, I think you dropped something.)

I decided to pick it up, hoping that my effort to bend down and pick some litter would be rewarded with a free ride or two. I put the Metrocard in my pocket, and, using my coworker's Metrocard, I returned to my office. As I tend to do, I promptly forgot about it.

At the end of the day, I reached the subway station just as a train was approaching. I didn't have enough time to check if the Metrocard was valid. I swiped it and it let me in! Since a dollar amount was not shown on the display, I knew I had some sort of unlimited-ride card, but exactly what kind I didn't know.

The entire ride back to my apartment I wondered. Is it a 1-day? Maybe it's a 7-day. How about one of those new 14-day cards? Or - could it be - a 30-day? Actually, I didn't really give it much though. If anything, I hoped that it was a 1-day, so the person who lost it wouldn't have lost too much. And since I was leaving for vacation tomorrow anyway, I didn't need anything more.

Then I started feeling guilty for keeping the Metrocard. I don't know what I should have done with it. 5 minutes earlier I was trying to figure out where to drop off a laptop battery for recycling. I asked one employee after another - in total 5 separate but equally annoyed-to-be-asked-a-question employees - for help before I got an answer. I'm pretty sure I would have said "I found this Metrocard on the ground." The employee would have rolled his eyes, taken it from me, and then thrown it in the trash.

By the time I reached my stop, the guilt I felt for stealing someone's Metrocard outweighed my excitement to learn when it expired. I checked the Metrocard. It was good until Friday.

So I used the card for my ride to JFK. At JFK I noticed a group of men (from Africa, judging by their accents) standing around looking a little confused. I asked the most confused looking one if he was going to ride the subway. He immediately gave me a look that said "I'm not talking to strangers in New York."

So I said to him "here, this Metrocard is good for another few days." Immediately his demenor changed to one of surprise and gratitude. With a huge smile on his face, he said "Thank you very much my lord!" His response makes me want to start handing out Metrocards more often.


ettible said...

Speaking of totally "innocent" rudeness, I loved your comment to my post about cutting the hick-ish guy off on the sidewalk outside our office. The problem is that I thought the comment was so good that I can't think of anything good to respond to it with. One of these days . . .

Anyway, I have to know who these five annoyed co-workers were. I hope you know that if I ever act annoyed toward you, it's just because I get really caught up in my constant blogging and can't differentiate between Peter the Belittler and you until I actually look up.

Also, is it okay if I add you to my blogroll, or are you trying to keep this thing quiet around the office?

Unknown said...

They weren't co-workers, they were J&R employees. Of course you can add me to your blogroll. Apparently I violated protocol by adding you to mine without asking. Sorry!

ettible said...

Nah, it's just that I make a point of telling every single person I come in contact with about my blog, whereas I had to stumble upon yours, so I thought maybe you didn't want the whole world reading your biznass.