I always help myself to the student discount when available. Sure, I don't actually go to school, but I still have my UT ID, and I'd argue that I learn more on a regular basis than most college students. Before today I'd never had any problem using my ID.
I'm sitting at a poker table at Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut. I haven't played in a while, and it's good to be back. I step away from the table to answer my phone. It's my mom and she wants to know where I am. I'm at the casino. She insists that I'm flying back to Austin at 7:30am the next morning. No, I was flying out on Sunday and planned on spending Saturday with the family. She checks, and she's actually right - my flight leaves in only seven hours.
We pile into the car and begin the two hour journey back to my grandparents' house where I'm staying. That gives me about 5 hours to sleep, pack, and leave the house.
I wake up bleary eyed and contemplate the parking situation at my new place. It's random, but I've only gotten a few hours of sleep during the past two nights. The night before I stayed up late watching the midnight showing of that pirate movie (instant review = 0 stars. Don't see it.) and then woke up early to go to the casino. Still delirious, with my mind out of my direct control I stumble out of bed and begin packing.
I pass the time on the flight playing scrabble with my sister and mother and by watching a documentary on the Concorde. It's fascinating. A several years ago I found a great loophole to ride the Concorde for only $1000, but I couldn't get anyone to go with me. Now I wish I went alone.
The plane finally lands in Austin and I dash for the downtown shuttle. There's a bus that runs from the airport to downtown every forty minutes, the next one leaving five minutes after my plane lands. The bus costs fifty cents, but only twenty five if you're a student. Obviously saving a quarter isn't a big deal, but I might as well. My sister had given me a quarter for it on the plane.
I step onto the bus and deposit my quarter nonchalantly.
"I'll need to see some ID."
Really? It's a quarter. It's not worth your time.
I hand my somewhat faded student ID, with the picture taken a full seven years ago, to the driver.
"Is this expired?"
My mind races. There's no expiration date on it. I still look basically the same. Is there a new design?
I don't really like lying.
"Well, then why would you possibly try to use it?"
I glance around the bus. There are only a few people on it, but they're all watching the drama unfold. I consider launching into a tirade on the benefits of going to school, the proper definition of a student, and the importance of learning throughout one's life. I sense that he probably wouldn't buy it, so instead I sheepishly explain that I thought I could still use it. I instantly wish that I had chosen to deliver the tirade - now I just feel like an idiot.
Struggling to come up with an analogy, he says it's like trying to get money with an expired bank card. My natural inclination to argue surfaces and I point out how ridiculous that is. Our whole conversation is ridiculous. It's over a quarter, and it's obvious I'm going to have to pay another one.
"Ok... look... I'll just pay the full fare. It's fine."
He continues to argue with me as I pat my pockets. Uh oh. I have no more quarters. I reluctantly reach to my back pocket.
When I was in Boston someone paid me who owed me some money. For whatever reason he only pays cash, so I have a thick bundle of twenties and hundreds in my back pocket. The hundreds are on the outside, making it look like even more than it is. I try to feel the bundle to pull out the smallest bill, but I can't tell where the middle is.
I pull out the wad of bills and flip through it to find a one.
He looks at me with more contempt than I've ever experienced. Yeah, the rich kid is trying to rip off the city by a quarter when he has thousands in his pocket.