Tuesday, May 09, 2006

I fought the law, and the law won

I've been doing pretty well with not having any mix-ups with the authorities since coming to Europe. Sure, the museum ladies shook their fingers at me and sometimes the ladies at the grocery store glared at me for taking more than two seconds to bag my groceries, but all of the innocent bliss ended on Sunday.
All of our Prague tram passes expired last Wednesday. Some of the people in my group bought new passes for a month, which are not that expensive, but are way more expensive than just buying individual tram rides for a week or two until we go home. The rest of us chose not to buy the tram passes and decided to live life on the edge by buying one-way tram passes every time we wanted to get on the tram.
Since I made this decision, I have gotten even cheaper and thought to myself, "Gee, why don't I just walk everywhere? That way I can have a healthy lifestyle and save some money."
Sometimes being cheap is not a good thing. Buying a tram pass is an instance where spending money would be much better.
On Sunday, Colleen, Anna, and I went shopping for some souvenirs. I finished my shopping earlier than they and wanted to get home so that I could study for my finals. As I started to walk back home, I thought to myself, "Man, I should just hop onto a tram. They never ever check for passes, and I want to get home so that I can finish my paper on Nietzsche and his philosophy on lightness and heaviness." (I really just wanted to get home so I could make some brownie mix.)
Do you see where this is headed?
So I hopped onto the tram at a pretty non-descript stop. The tram was pretty much empty, so I thought again, "Oh man, no pass-checking guy is going to hop on this tram because there is nobody on it!" However, by the time I got to the next stop, I was pretty worried. I was sitting there on the tram without my pass and felt like such a criminal that I was literally squirming in my seat. I would make a pretty horrible bank robber, because I would probably stop in the middle of the act and say, "Oop, sorry guys. I know this is wrong. Let's just forget it and I'll leave."
Of course, after Hradtranska (a stop near my hotel), a man came on and checked passes, and he walked right up to me and asked to see mine. I didn't have one, and he knew it, so he showed me a ticket saying that I had to pay 500 crowns. Grrr. I explained that I did not have any money with me and that I needed an ATM. The man sighed because that meant that he had to spend even more time with me as we attempted to find an ATM.
We got off the tram and started searching. We found a sign that said "Bankomat (ATM) 300 M". He had to ask several people where the bankomat was, and after about ten minutes we found it in what looked like a hospital. Patients shuffled around in robes and slippers outside as he waited for me to get money to pay him. After that, the poor man had to walk all the way back to the tram stop with me. I kept trying to make conversation with him, but he could not understand a word I was saying. We were almost to the stop and suddenly he took off running toward a tram that was sitting there. I think he really wanted to get away from my attempts at conversation! The moral of the story is that one should not attempt to gank rides on the Prague tram system.


kisa said...

The moral of the story is that one should come up with a cleverer alibi or use stealth more effectively. And that search for the bankomat was a perfect opportunity to make a clean escape!

Kathy said...

Oh, Abbie, I feel as disappointed as I did a couple of years ago when I first learned my beloved son, Davey, wasn't perfect!