Sunday, September 14, 2014

you shall not pass

it's not nearly winter yet
but it's warm in the metro
it's heat-wave warm outside too, and i rush downstairs on my way to work
only a little late, not too much
my frozen dinner condensing in my bag at about the same rate as i am in my shirt

horrified, i realize that it's the second of the month and i still haven't renewed my pass
just - like - everyone - else standing sweating and on edge in the stupidly long line snaking to the machine

of course the cashier only takes cash

once again

i step in to the factory line
bottle myself up and do everything in my power to distract myself from that gnawing uneasy feeling that whoever's at the front is wasting time
*they're* not on the clock, *they* don't have a boss to worry about, they've never used the machine before and they certainly don't need to speak any of the languages they could use to ask for help

but this time i'm wrong, it appears, and every minute or so we all shuffle forward
and every few minutes another train goes by that i could've been on, but i'm not, so i resign myself to the never-ending torture of anticipation of those few shuffling steps at a time

i was here last night, i sadistically keep reminding myself, i could have done this last night

i feel my meal thawing
and i guess i'm losing my lunch in more than just the figurative sense

slowly, achingly steadily i approach the front of the line
until i'm merely one body away
then the clock slows down
as a little foreign "lady", dwarfed by the screen and the controls and the giant, looming machine
inserts her pass
then removes it
then repeats the action a couple of times
proceeds to insert her credit card, removes that, repeats the action then starts all over again

between my facepalming fingers i see this twice before my blood boils over to match my skin and the air around me but she keeps her back to the line, no look for help, no recognition that we all have better things to be doing

when i see her reach for her pass one more time something snaps deep inside
i launch myself towards her and growl, pointing an angry finger at the words on the screen that say PRESS THE GODDAMN OKAY BUTTON YOU ASSHOLE in bright, friendly letters
i press it for her, she takes her pass and we're done, with her graciously thanking me, oblivious to the burning hatred and general ill will i bear for her

the next woman, my last obstacle, breezes through like a breath of fresh air

i step up to the machine, perform my rites of passage...

TECHNICAL ERROR, YOUR CARD HAS NOT BEEN CHARGED

that's what happens, i carefully note through a thin film of rage, when more than ten people in a row press the receipt button. and DON'T TAKE THEIR GODDAMNED RECEIPTS.

...

in my head the metro's painted just as red as the little light accompanying the rejection beep.

i try the turnstile anyway.

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