austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

Say hello to dear old Coney Isle if there you chance to be

In the evening on Saturday I needed to get back from about Rockefeller Center to the Port Authority Bus Terminal. That's not far, just about six blocks south and then a couple west. I can't really convince myself anything in midtown Manhattan is ``far'', although it gets closer to ``far'' when the weather's bad. Or when it's after dark and below freezing. So a modest walk through the cold was ... not ideal, but certainly tolerable ... of course, I have the Metrocard so why not take the ride ... but would that save any time ... so I wandered back and forth until getting to a subway entrance. Even then I stared at the maps, considering, and re-considering, even going halfway back to the street before deciding to take the subway.

I went to the gate farthest from the entrance (I do that, and I don't know why), behind a short line quickly evaporated to one woman sliding her card through the reader and being warned by the display that it didn't slide right. She kept trying, and pushing the revolving-door metal grate which would not turn, and I thought of this local news report months ago reporting how due to a programming bug the system could deduct value for a card even when reporting that the swipe through the reader was unsuccessful, and I wondered if her card was slowly losing its value as she tried to get on.

Finally she got a different message, that there only was $1 left on the card (the fare is $2 per ride). She started to go and I swiped my card through, offering to her the ride. She thanked me, and she offered me her card, though I couldn't figure why I would want it. And so going through (I had not been, remarkably, down to my last ride) I was left considering what an odd coincidence it would be that I would wander just the right distance and dithered over the trivial question of whether to ride just long enough to be where I could do something nice. Later I wondered how she got an odd-dollar-value charge on her card. I suppose the vending machines take fives. I hope they do, anyway.

Trivia: Gerardus Mercator was the first person known to use the word `italic' in a book title. Source: Mercator, Nicholas Crane.

Currently Reading: The Age of Voltaire, Will and Ariel Durant.


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