So, coming to Chez Nous, one ordinarily takes the Dover train. However, my usual train home is not
the 5:47 Dover train, but rather the 5:50 Gladstone train. I know this perfectly well, and yet, tonight, managed to have a brain fart and got on the Dover train. (Which I should not have been able to, as it was at that point 5:49.) I noticed this as I was on it & making my way forward to get a seat, when they announced it on the internal speaker; at which point I cussed, turned around, and started running back to the doors...which were already closed. And yet the train was not moving. The conductor said he could not open the doors and went on about how "they announced the train three times..." (WELL, ASSHOLE, I'VE BEEN ON IT UNDER A MINUTE.) Fine, whatever. I was increasingly peeved as we sat there for close on ten minutes, but phoned nedlnthred
to find out where I was going. I figured it was not the end of the world, as one can generally change at Newark for a more useful train.
Much to my horror, however, this proved to be the express
train. Which first stop is Maplewood. I didn't even know where Maplewood is
. As we were discussing this turn of events, Captain Railway comes through again, taking tickets; I had out my monthly pass and just was holding it in the traditional Leaving Visible For You Whenever It Is You're Gonna Look At It fashion that is customary on NJ Transit, and eventually in the middle of my gibbering convo with Beth I realize that he's standing there looking at me. I have her hold a sec and ask if he's here for me, whereat:
Schmucky Conductor: "That'll be $1.75."
Your Humble Correspondent: "........what"
SC: "$1.75. Your pass is only to Brick Church"
YHC: "Wait, you're now going to charge me for getting on the wrong train
SC: "Yes, that's the NJ Transit rules"
Now, let me pause here to point out that the conductors have a lot
of latitude. I have frequently seen them not charge at all, accept lesser zones to go to a greater distance, not charge step-up fees, charge random amounts
of step-up fees...it's not like working retail where your register must be balanced at the end of the night. This clown knew damn well
I was on the wrong train, didn't want to be on it, didn't want to be going where I was going, and he deliberately did this anyways.
I, of course, had no cash, as is often the case. (Somewhere, audiovile
is chortling and having a giant I Told You So.) I was about to say "FINE PUT ME OFF ON THE NEXT STOP" when the fellow standing across from me said "Please, allow me..." and presented $1.75 to the Myrmidion of the Rails. Who had just enough cognizance to look slightly abashed, but took the money.
Naturally, I thanked my kind savior fulsomely, and we chatted for the rest of the ride. He did
take the opportunity to mention his e-commerce web site, and gave me his card, but I think that's no less than fair. (He assumed that I was a lost City girl faring into the wilds of Noo Joisey, and I did not disabuse him of this notion, as it was far less embarrassing than reality.) We got to the station, Beth picked me up, and now there is fire and blackened salmon and what-not.
So, yes. Absolute fuckheadery, but an opening for an act of random kindness, which made me feel a deal better about the universe.