It was late. My first day to work after the holidays and I meandered bleary-eyed to the BART station.
The chunk-chink of the faregates greeted me. I took out a BART farecard with $1.60 because I hadn’t left my apartment early enough to buy the January fast pass.
As I walked toward the stairs, I heard the whish of a train just leaving. Did I miss one? I’ll catch the next one. But when I walked down the stairs, I was greeted by a huge mass of people. All with impatient faces. I heard a gasp and then a grunt of someone behind me.
OH MY GOD, someone said aloud.
I circled around the platform.
20 minute delay. We are experiencing… the loudspeaker said. Almost an attempt to calm the discontent of the crowd.
I instantly thought of my $1.60 BART ticket and cursed myself for not buying the fast pass earlier. I walked upstairs and went to see the station agent to see if I could get the money back. Unlike the people who needed to get to the east bay, I only needed to go 4 stops to get to work. But I didn’t want to forfeit my $1.50.
The station agent waved the crowd away gathering near her door. She was on the phone, attempting to deal with the emergency.
I don’t have time to deal with this now, she said bluntly and then turned away from us. I walked through the exit gate.
And took the 14 to work. All 20 minutes of its misery. Listening to people talk on their cellphones. And sitting on plastic seats.
After work, I went to the station agent at the BART station and explained my situation. He looked at me quizically and took my ticket.
“There’s nothing on it,” he said and handed me a dime. “That’s all that’s left.”
I pushed the dime back and said that I was unable to take the BART this morning. Because of an incident. I repeated myself. INCIDENT. THE TRAIN WAS NOT MOVING SO I HAD TO TAKE THE BUS.
I wasn’t expecting him to acquiesce for the measly $1.50, but I knew that I would start feeling negative if I didn’t resolve it. Right now.
After a minute of raising my voice to a near argument and squawking, he handed me my ticket back. Fixed.