A section of my Psychology 264 class was held off-campus. I hadn’t thought ahead to snag a ride with one of my fellow students who had a car, so I decided to take the bus. And then I had an even more brilliant idea.
Now when I ride the bus the drivers have an automated fare taker right next to their seat. I have a card and when I swipe it the phrase “Fare Satisfied” pops up, which always makes me feel good. Hey, I’ve been able to satisfy someone today. If I put in change the fare isn’t satisfied until I’ve put in the full amount. It takes a little longer, but as long as the fare is satisfied that’s all that matters.
In the old days when I first started riding the bus the technology wasn’t so advanced. The fare collector looked like a gumball machine.
Drivers had to keep a close watch on the amount that passengers dropped in to make sure the fare was satisfied.
So, boarding the bus, I held out my fist and dropped a bunch of pennies into the fare collector.
The driver narrowed her eyes at me. Then she cracked up. “All right,” she said. “I have no way to tell but that looks like enough. Take a seat.” And the truth is I had carefully counted out exactly fifty-five pennies—the full amount. I think any shortages would have to be made up by the driver and I wasn’t going to do that.
Psychology 264 was Abnormal Psychology. The bus driver let me off right in front of a mental hospital. I still sometimes wonder if she knew I was a student or if she thought I was a patient.