Monday, January 18, 2010

Transportation Retardation

I may have gotten a little too used to driving while I was home for the holidays, because I've had some issues with the metro since my return to Barcelona.

On Friday night I needed to take the metro to teach a private lesson across town, close to the school where I teach most of my classes. I had a ten ride metro card, which I thought had two rides left on it. Since I usually go out assuming I'm going to get pick-pocketed, I only take what I really need so when I left I didn't grab any cash or credit/debit card to take with me .

When I put the card into the slot and walked through the turnstile, the machine showed that I had just used the last ride.

Shit.

I was tight on time as it was so I had to go straight to the lesson and couldn't go back to my place to get money for a new card. After the lesson I looked in my little change purse to see if I might have enough to buy a single ride ticket. A single ride is €1.40. I had €1.32.

Shit!

I was about a 1.5-2 hour walk from my apartment, and not entirely sure how I to get there on foot. Once the lesson was finished, I wandered around the metro station like homeless person, looking for change on the ground or in the ticket machines. I called Laura, mainly to laugh about the situation since there wasn't anything she could do. She said I should ask someone for money but I could not bring myself to do that. Finally I decided to go over to my school on the off chance my boss was still there at 8:30 on a Friday night.

Thank God for the rare European workaholic.

She was on her way out but she was still there. She gave me a single ride metro card she had but at the last minute, gave me ten cents too, just in case. It was a good thing she did, since the card she gave me didn't work. I had visions of one of the coins slipping from my fingers and rolling beneath the ticket machine, but the transportations gods smiled on me and the trip went smoothly.

I got home, got my debit card and went down to buy an unlimited monthly card.

Then on Saturday night, on my way home at around 6am, when again entering the metro turnstile, I managed to slide my card into the seam of the machine right above the card slot. My friends tried to help get it out but it was really wedged in there. A guard noticed me staring, glassy-eyed and helpless at the machine and was able to open it up and fish the card out for me.

I'm thinking of trying to do more walking from now on.