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.
I'm from Austin, and what I've noticed is that it's better to have the ID out while you are paying your quarter. That way you can just kind of flash it, and it's no big deal to the bus driver--he won't ask you whether or not it's expired because he won't think you're trying to hide something from him.
I wonder if he realizes that the diesel the bus burned while he was having his argument with you cost the city more than the $.25 you would have cost?
Talk about winning the battle but losing the war. Guess the bus driver can sleep well knowing he made the city an extra $.25
Foxwoods, nice. I just blogged about my trip to Foxwoods a couple weeks ago.
I found this blog like 2 days ago through ASF and I cannot stop reading... this is my new favorite site. Awesome job, keep it up!
Hey, I always have little problems that get turned into something much larger and more embarassing than they should. It's comforting to know that these sort of things happen to cool people, too.
But I think if I were you when he asked why you would try to use your expired ID, my first response would've been "Because I can usually save more than 25 cents" but he probably wouldn't have liked that either...anyway, at least now it's behind you and you can laugh about it. Funny story.
Maybe when he asked if it was expired, he was actually referring to his own hand, and not your card in his hand, so the correct answer could have been "I don't know". The 2nd rule to live by in this world is "you don't know". Try using this type of logic in your daily life, and see if problems like this disappear after a short while.
my first mention!! you couldve atleast used my name and a link to my myspace...just a thought dearest brother
Last night I was in the Las Vegas airport, waiting for boarding to start on my flight. I went there an hour early because I didn't have time to play poker, so I figured I could get on wifi and get some work done. I knocked out a couple small SETT bugs, and then remembered about getgoing.com, the YC-backed discount flight site. The way it works is you pick two deeply discounted flights that you'd be willing to take, put in your credit card, and getgoing picks one for you. You don't know where you're going until after you've paid. When I first got invited to the site I mucked around with it and found some really great fares to both Beijing and Shanghai.
Maybe I should go to China, I thought. Twenty minutes later my flight to Shanghai was booked.
I like making impulsive decisions like this. My past is filled with them, and none that I can think of have ended in regret. Actually, if I were asked what I thought my biggest strength is, I would probably say that it is making good decisions very quickly.
I wasn't always good at making quick decisions. Twelve years ago I had the opportunity to fly on the Concorde for $1000. It was usually over $10,000 round trip. I really wanted to do it, so I called a few friends to see if anyone else was interested. There was some hemming and hawing, but no one was ready to commit. Well, I thought, I'll wait until tomorrow and buy a ticket then if I still want to go. The next day came and the deal was gone. Now the Concorde is decommissioned and I'll never have the chance to ride it. Strange is it sounds, this is probably one of the bigger regrets in my life. I really wish I got to ride the Concorde before it folded.
In my dreams I am unfailingly optimistic...
I own a single propeller engine car/plane hybrid that I mooched off eBay and park at the side of my place. When I want to go out on a food run I back it out of the side of the house and eyeball a small stretch of road near my house. It's good enough. I turn on the engines and launch myself into the air with barely enough space before the road ends. It's OK though - I made it up into the air - and nary a negative thought enters my mind. Yes I just busted out a plane and launched it in the middle of a residential district.
As I launch higher into the atmosphere I look outside the open cockpit at the city. I look at the buildings and green trees and parks and the expanses of urbanization that go on forever. It is breathtakingly beautiful. I just look at the horizon beyond and stare at it in a sort of infatuation. I'm just going on a food run. I maneuver the plane a bit and dip low as I'm nearing my destination. I am skimming the tops of apartment buildings, trees, dipping up not to hit tall power lines and I love every minute of it.
As I'm in the air approaching my usual landing strip - a small wide stretch of park jogging trail in a forested park my mind goes thru some passing thoughts. Won't I get in trouble for flying a single engine wherever I want in post-911 paranoid America? Nah... it's just me... it'll be alright... I can explain it away. I'm not a terrorist just a guy in a single engine enjoying life. The thought passes thru my consciousness as quickly as it came. I also realize I am not wearing a parachute or have any sort of plan in place if my salvaged single engine suddenly died thousands of feet in the air. I have a passing thought about all the people who'd be sad if I suddenly passed due to any number of accidents that happened from flying this thing. My mind quickly retorts with: Sudden plane crashes are extremely rare and can be avoided with simple preparation. Don't fly in bad weather. If the plane starts failing it's a single engine prop - just glide it down to a safe landing zone. Do whatever you need to keep the plane up as long as possible. It's alright. The thought quickly exits my mind as well because in my dreams I am unfailingly optimistic. I am in my element and I am happy.
The stretch of park looms up ahead and I dip the plane hard to prepare my landing. I seem to be going a bit fast for the ground and the landing site may not be long enough. It's OK though I've done this before - I know what I'm doing. I dip the plane down hard then angle the nose upwards while applying the airbrakes. The plane's engines cut out and I'm gliding over the ground. I am slowing down somewhat in the air and the approach is perfect. I land smoothly but I am still going a bit fast and the park trail ends up ahead. I slam the groundbrakes hard and the plane screeches and spins out right before hitting the trees. It was still about 50 feet though and I was supremely confident it'd stop. I recover from the spinout and taxi down the park trail as usual into a McDonalds parking lot. What time is it? I don't know probably about dawn perhaps 5 or 6am or pm - some time when the sun is either going up or going down.