Getting Ready, On the Bus, New York Style
There was that winter chill in the air. As I was getting onto the bus, the woman in front of me seemed confused. She was looking at the metro-card slot and the bus driver was saying something to her that didn't quite make sense to me at first:
Driver: Go on, miss. Just step back.
She hadn't paid yet, so it didn't make sense. She was standing there puzzled. Not saying a word. Staring down at the metro card machine. I noticed that there was a gray colored card in the machine.
Driver: Miss. Look at me. Do you speak English? I'm the operator. The operator. Step back please.
And she did step back and now it was my turn to be puzzled.
Driver: Sir, step back.
And now I got it. The metro card machine must have broken down. And the ride was free. But the operator didn't say that. He didn't explain why we should step back. He just barked orders. I suppose that he didn't want to admit that the machine was broken, or he was tired of saying it. Still. He could have simplified things by saying the machine was broken and the ride was free and we would have understood that.
I watched the woman who had been puzzled sit down and take out a pad and paper. She was writing something down. Maybe the operators number.
Driver to the next person: I'm the OPERATOR! STEP IN!
A New York moment. There is no free ride.