tickets, please

As if today couldn’t suck any harder, I got a ticket on the subway.

That’s right. A ticket. On the subway.

When I ride the ferry, I get a two-part transfer. One half gets me a ride on Muni away from the ferry building, good for 2 hours after it is issued. The other half gets me a ride towards the ferry building, good for 24 hours after it is issued.

Well, every night I walk from the ferry building the two and a half blocks to the Muni station and give this transfer to the Muni worker in the booth in exchange for a Muni transfer. Some nights, especially after rush hour, there is no Muni worker in either of the two booths, and in that case, people are allowed to enter through an unlocked side gate as long as they can show proof of payment to the fare auditors that sometimes come on the train.

I have always been uneasy entering this side gate, but I’m also on a tight budget, and can’t see paying $1.25 extra when I have an actual transfer already. Besides, the fare auditors I’ve shown my transfer to in the past have told me it’s totally fine to do this when there is no one in the booths.

You see where this is going, don’t you?

Tonight, I arrived at the station soaking wet and limping. My ankle wound was really bothering me, and my sandal-clad feet were drenched. There was no one in the nearest booth and I did not see any sign indicating that there was someone in the other booth. (Sometimes there is a sign that states the other booth is manned.) So, as I have many times before, I entered the side gate and boarded the subway.

Wouldn’t you know, two fare auditors walked on right after me and asked for my transfer. I gave it willingly, not thinking anything was wrong. And promptly got a ticket for not having proof of payment. They said I had to go to the other booth, and I explained very politely that I did not see any sign indicating that the other booth was manned. They insisted there was a sign. I noted that I was injured and walking the length of the station merely to double-check the veracity of the lack of a sign was more than inconvenient to me, but they were unsympathetic. They could not even tell me how much it would cost me. I’m supposed to show up – in my copious free time – at the Hall of Justice to handle it.

So let’s review: in the less than six months I’ve been living here, I’ve had my car broken into, driven around the block, and left, with many things inside it stolen; I’ve had my car towed because I overslept my alarm while sick; and now I’ve been ticketed for having a white piece of paper instead of a yellow piece of paper. I bust my ass to live where I do, and for what? Sometimes I really fucking hate this city.

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I acknowledge that I live and work on stolen Cowlitz, Clackamas, Atfalati, and Kalapuya land.
I give respect and reverence to those who came before me.