Before I leave in the morning I usually check to make sure I have all my essentials: ID, credit card, Metrocard, etc. But today I don’t have time — my head is killing me, my mouth is dry, I feel like death- but I still have one more day until the weekend. I quickly jump in the shower, throw on some clothes, and rush out the door to work. Unfortunately, when I get to the subway station, I search my purse and realize the unlimited Metrocard I bought three days ago for $104 isn’t there. This means it’s probably either stuck to the grimy floor of the bar I went to last night or somewhere in the cab that I stumbled out of around 3 a.m. this morning. Regardless, I’ve essentially flushed the amount remaining on the card the toilet unless I can get it refunded.
Losing my unlimited Metrocard is something I know from experience. A few months ago, my brand-new card flipped out of my jeans pocket and I spent the next half hour retracing my steps, to no avail. I’ve been through this process before, unfortunately.
The ticket agent at the station tells me to call the number on the back of the single-ride card I just grudgingly purchased. After wading through all the different options and jumping through the necessary hoops, the automated voice on the end of the line informs me that I’ll have to hold. I mutter under my breath something about not having the time for any of this, and when I get to work I try again, dialing the number on my office phone and praying someone answers before my boss walks in. Fail.
The next morning I wake up a half hour earlier than usual, hoping to catch the operators before the rush of other desperate Metrocard losers. I keep my Blackberry on speakerphone, listening to the droning elevator music while getting dressed. I’m still on hold when I walk to the subway, mentally kicking myself for spending more than $10 unnecessarily by this point. As I’m walking up the stairs toward the platform, an operator finally picks up. I explain my situation.
“Seems like you already lost your Metrocard this year,” she says condescendingly.
“That means you can’t lose it any more this year, you understand?” She’s scorning me.
“I promise I won’t,” I respond, as if the operator was my mom.
She finally refunds my credit for the remaining amount and I go to buy another unlimited Metrocard from the machine, smiling. It might be stupid, but I can’t help but feel a weirdly overwhelming sense of accomplishment when I swipe through the turnstile.