In Calgary it’s an honor-system basically, and the only one in North America that actually makes money. Usually, even though I’m one stop outside of the free fare zone (downtown it’s free to ride the train), I’ll pay for it. The transit cops like to sit at my stop and hand out $150 tickets and I’d really rather not be paying for their coffees for the month.
Anyway, today I didn’t have time so I ran across the street and into the door of the train right before it shut. Suddenly I got a gut feeling that the transit cops (I use the term “cop” loosely) would be there, in fact I almost got off the train downtown to buy a ticket and wait for the next one.
We arrive at my stop and, of course, the cops are standing on the platform. Luckily I was on the last car so I just ducked into the next one while they were busy checking everyone on the platforms tickets. I can’t afford $150. Also, I didn’t pay my last C-train ticket (I sound like a criminal here) so I’m not sure what they do to you, haul you off to pseudo-jail? Fine you double? I really didn’t want to find out.
I get to the next stop only to realize that there’s no sidewalk and the only way to get to my house is down a busy road that is currently covered in slush, mud and ice. I’m tiptoeing around in this in my stilettos when I suddenly realize that a sidewalk has appeared across the street. In my excitement I started to cross and then see a car heading straight for me.
“Shit, shit, shit,” I started yelling as I continued running to cross – another car coming the opposite direction came out of nowhere and I was almost toast. I made it to the other side and realized that I couldn’t breath. Whether from my asthma, the cold, the panic or what, I don’t know but I started gasping for air.
I slowly made my way down the hill knowing that my inhaler was at my house, a few blocks away. I finally made it home; wet, cold, gasping for breath and shaken.
The reason I was running late? I was at a Health & Safety meeting.