This Actually Happened – November 5th, 2011

Charlie Challenge

This has been an extremely busy weekend so I have decided to postpone the next episode until Monday. I will write another, this actually happened entry. Due to the fact that I am doubling-up this week, I will change the usual one paragraph format.

Unbeknownst to me, my driver’s license expired in April. I honestly didn’t find out until this past summer when I attempted to enter a bar and the bouncer rejected my ID for being invalid. I was perplexed; did this idiot actually think I had a fake ID? He explained that my license expired on my birthday, and I attempted to explain that he was a bouncer at a bar which I did not plan on driving into! I completely understood the fact that my license was expired, but I was under the impression that IDs were used to determine a person’s age, but clearly the bouncer doubled as a state trooper. (Honestly, some people take their jobs way too seriously!)

I drove for several months without a valid license but my upcoming trip to LA forced me to go through the renewal process. For those who don’t know, I DETEST TAKING THE BUS! While in high school, I often walked the mile from my house to the Dudley Station and boarded the free bus towards the train station. This past Wednesday, I decided to relive my past. I walked towards Dudley and learned that the MBTA wasn’t making enough money and started charging for the fair. I noticed the other passengers paying and asked the driver, “how much for the trip?” She answered, “one fifty.” I entered two dollars into the slot and found a seat without retrieving my change. The ride was short, but I noticed that the bus used a different entrance into the train station. (My how the times have changed!)

I walked to train entrance and was mortified to learn that the attendant was not on duty. I had to purchase a Charlie Card. A few years ago, I happened to take the train and the girl I was with walked me through the Charlie Card process. I remembered that the station provided cards for the few “weird” citizens, such as myself, who did not own their own Charlie Cards. I walked toward the ticket window and retrieved a card; anyone watching would have been under the impression that I was a veteran of the MBTA.

I walked towards the Charlie Card machine and confidently placed my card into the slot which read, “insert ticket here.” Immediately, the card was rejected because the machine could not read it. I flipped the card over and reinserted it. To my surprise, I experienced the same result. (What the hell is going on here?)

I examined the machine a little closer, but I could not figure out what I was supposed to do. I stood at the machine, in a full of consternation, until a teenager walked up to me and said, “Is the machine broken?” I stepped away and said, “No!” He must have thought that I was a weirdo, and proceeded to use the contraption to make a transaction. I attempted to watch his every move, but I couldn’t see around his massive frame. (Why he decided to hide the process from me remains a mystery!)

I looked around at a few of the other machines and notices that people were tapping their card against a specific spot. That’s when the process became clear to me. I stepped forward, still a little unsure of myself, and I tapped my card against the sensor. Thankfully, the light flashed and I gained access to the wonderful world which is the Charlie Card. I filled the card with a couple dollars and proceeded to the gate. I tapped the card against another sensor and walked through the sliding doors.

With the new technology behind me, I was back at my old stopping grounds, Ruggles Station. When I arrived on the platform, I waited patiently for the next train. A man walked up to me and he appeared to be a homeless fella. He was courteous and excused himself.

Here is our conversation:

Homeless man: “How are you doing brother?”

Me: “I’m fine; how are you?”

Homeless man: “I’m doing ok, but I need to ask you for a favor. Would you be able to help me out?”

Me: “How can I help you?”

“Homeless man: “I was wondering if you had any loose change that you could give me.”

[I didn’t have any change on me and I was about to deliver the bad news to my new buddy, but he continued.]

Homeless man: “You see, I need some money so I can buy some bread; I want to make a sandwich.”

[I immediately laughed.]

Me: “You don’t have to lie to me.”

Homeless man: “No you see, I don’t receive my money from the state until tomorrow and I need some help. I have some peanut butter and jelly at the house, but I don’t have any bread.”

[This was a new one. I chuckled out loud! I pulled a dollar out of my pocket and handed it to him.]

Me: “Here you go.” [Still laughing.]

Homeless man: “Thank you, brother. Have a great day.”

Me: “You too; enjoy that sandwich!”

[He walked away.]

**I feel that people should work for a living, but I gave him the dollar because he made me laugh!**

     The train arrived and I boarded. After sitting down, I immediately wished I had on a pair of headphones. Why people have a desire to share their personal business with complete strangers baffles me! (I will do my best to avoid public transit for the rest of my life, at all cost!)

I arrived at the RMV and I was completely surprised by the short line. Due to advances in technology, most transactions can be completed on-line, which worked out perfectly for an old school person like me. (I would get into details about the people inside the building, but I don’t want to offend anyone. Think of every single stereotype about the RMV and I can confirm each one! The place is a complete twilight zone!) **There was the one incident in which an employee yelled to those of us who waited patiently with our numbered ticket stubs. She was in need of a Spanish translator, but I declined to lend my assistance, due to the fact that Hispanic Heritage month is over!**

I am proud to announce that I’m now a licensed driver, who is free to operate a motor vehicle within the United States of America! BELIEVE IT OR NOT!

For those of you who missed my ridiculous adventure, I’m sure you’ll enjoy the read! The Lost Toasts (Crazy night)

@PeteTeix617

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