Dear Mr Bloomberg
Last night I received a citation from the “Transit Adjudication Bureau”. I basically broke the rules in the game of Subway. This pinnacle of my night was the result of multiple negative plot twists in a row.
OK, maybe I broke my own cardinal rule for going out. I went out when I was tired. The rum gave me a stomach ache, I’d been working all day, whatever it was — I get it. I should’ve audibled the night a long time ago. Anyways, I was on my way home from Greenwich Village and decided I would be ever so mildly spendthrift and use the subway. I got down the stairs to the F train, and went to slide my monthly MetroCard as usual.
When I was promptly and swiftly kicked in the nuts by the painful metal spinner we’ve all been rejected by once or twice. It hurt man, but that’s ok — I put up with it to live in this place.
What happened next really hurt. I realized that my monthly card had expired at midnight, which occurred about 80 minutes before this incident. I’m one of those “insufficient fare” chumps.
Ok no problem, I’ll just reup for the next month now, at 12:20 at night while I’m pretty buzzed, tired, and craving my bed. I don’t mind giving you the $110 bucks every month to use the miraculous system of high speed inner city transport we call the subway.
The MTAMachines will do nothing but spit out minimally explanatory explanations of nothing. “Transaction failed”. Yeah man, no cards right now is what the machine should’ve read. The honesty would’ve been refreshing. No nothing. I’ve got two dollars in my pocket. Here are my choices: go back upstairs and find atm, go back upstairs and use a cab with visa. I don’t want to do either.
After thousands of dollars over the years in subway rides, please, Mr. Bloomberg, "Can’t I just have this ride for free? Just this one."
Ok what I did next isn’t my proudest moment, but like, whatever. I decided this subway ride was on the house. I jumped the turnstile. Whatever, I did it. Whether it was right or wrong is up to you, but there’s no question of guilt here. And to make the story hot, I did it right in front of a cop. He walks over to me and I was busted.
Officer asks me for my license, etc. I prove to him who I am and we have a friendly chat. I mention to him the new apps I’m working on and we briefly banter of why the new iPhone battery dies so quickly. To be honest, it was one of the more interesting conversations from that low end night. But I was inappropriately dressed for “not giving a fuck”.
Beside the point, while he is scribbling my illegible ticket, I ask him if he couldn’t just possibly let this one slide. He goes, “I’m sorry man, it’s all about quotas. I gotta write this ticket so you become a statistic in a revenue statement. It’s how all the laws are written.”
I instantly understood that he was just another part of the scale at which government needs money. I quietly took my ticket and asked him if I could get 1 free ride for my $100 obligation to the city he had just handed me. He said, sure and that’s it.
I know what I did was wrong. I broke the rules. And the system only works because there are rules. You can’t not pay. But, then again. I’m a pretty upstanding citizen, and in that case, where the “ubiquitous credit card acceptance” policy was having a technical hiccup - I think I deserved the ride for free. It was late, I was drunk. It’s in everyones best interests to get home safe right?
Turns out it was anything but. I plan on scribbling the address to this blog post in the memo of my remittance to you over the issue. I’m still not going to break up with your amazing city. Although LA has been showing me some love and I’m always tempted to run away out west.
I can be reached at sheldon dot thomas at me dot com