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Thursday, April 10, 2008

A Tale of Two Tickets

Part The First

Here on the Peninsula (San Francisco Bay) we have a wonderful ....

Connecting San Francisco to San Jose is an inexpensive...

There's a train.

Erin and I take the train from Menlo Park up to Redwood City for her swimming lessons. Sometimes we walk, but it's about 12 miles roundtrip, and my heels have been mildly bruised for a little while now so I've laid off the long walks for the forseeable future. The CalTrain station in Menlo Park is only about a mile away, so today I loaded Erin up in her backpack and headed off to swimming.

(A brief aside for those who have been playing our game: Swimming Mom was at swimming today after missing Tuesday. My conscience was really doing a number on me about not knowing her name and thereby publicly humiliating myself by revealing this fact, so as soon as I saw her I apologized, explained my behaviour as best I could, and asked for her name. She gave me a name, which I will assume is genuinely hers, and she invited Erin and me over for a playdate sometime next week. So as far as I know she doesn't think too badly of me for my blunder.)

So, on the train, which costs about $8 roundtrip when we take it because even though we only go 1 stop we cross a zone line, I overheard the following conversation:

    Conductor-type 1, standing in the loading area of the car: "Did you see him?"
    Conductor-type 2, just coming into the loading area of the car from the seating area of the car: "Yeah. What are we going to do?"
    CT1: "Just let him ride. Next Thursday we'll stop in San Mateo, chase him off, and let him wait an hour for the next train."
    CT2: "What did he try to give you?"
    CT1: "Nothing. He tried to B.S. me and didn't even try to show me anything. I've already arranged with the driver to do a special stop in San Mateo next week."

What the "guy" in question had failed to do was purchase a ticket. This happens sometimes (probably a lot on CalTrain), and it sometimes works. The CalTrain conductor-types don't always come through the cars between your boarding station and your de-boarding station to check tickets. I think they've only done it once between my station and Redwood City.

But I always buy the stupid roundtrip ticket anyway. Because I'm paranoid about something just like the above situation happening to me. Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't really out to get you.

And these conductor-types were going to let this guy, who had already earned a fine and a boot for the day, sit comfortably today so that he would try it again next week. Rather than enforce the CalTrain policy as it exists (boot the guy, fine him, etc...) they were going to also ENTRAP & SPITE him. Out of boredom, pique, and some petty vindictiveness.

They separated to check tickets in the cars adjacent to the boarding area where I was standing. And I now have a tip for the mystery guy who will be very very unhappy and very very late next Thursday.

Always carry one of these with you on the train:

Both conductor-types were staring at this little girl of mine whenever they could. And sure enough when they started checking for tickets they just gave me a nod and walked on by.

Part The Second

After swimming Erin seemed almost ready for a nap. And I thought, "Today might be the day we go back to the movies, and she actually lets me watch one!" So I raced to get to the theater before the next showing of Leatherheads with Miss Pettigrew as a backup (because I've paid to get in twice now and still not seen more than 10 minutes of it). I asked the guy selling tickets if there was anyone in either of those theaters, and yes. Lots of them.

Sigh. Based on the last couple of attempts at movie watching with Erin she probably wasn't going to be totally silent for the whole movie. And I didn't want to have to walk out again. But I really just wanted to sit in the quiet for a couple of hours zoning out, and if I left to go home it would still take another hour to get home and get Erin in her crib for a very late nap.

And then I saw that Nim's Island was showing in a few minutes. Kids' movie. Probably dumb. But it would be something, and since it was a kids' movie Erin probably wouldn't even be the babbliest person there.

So I bought a ticket, got a drink from concessions (but no popcorn, because popcorn does not help with the abs) readied a bottle for Erin, and sat her down in the backpack on the chair next to me.

Erin's Movie Review: "Nim's Island had some great previews, guys. There were bouncing things, and I'm pretty sure I saw a duck. And then, I don't know what happened between the previews and the credits, because I was pretty sleepy guys. I give it two "da's". But only because there was a seal that I saw a couple of times at the end. Bye-bye guys."

Yeah. She slept through the entire frickin' thing.

So, looking back on my day, and it's Tale of Two Tickets, I realize in my perfect hindsight that I needn't have purchased either ticket. I could have free-ridden the train, and I could have seen whatever the hell I wanted to, because this girl of mine

is my very own E-ticket.*

*Here's a fun game: figure out the 3 different ways in which I could mean "E-ticket" here.


kittenpie said...

OMG she's cute! The missed movie opportunity would have bugged me, too, because opportunities to see actual current grownup movies are pretty few and far between lately. Do they have movies for mommies where you are? That might be an answer to the worry about having to leave right away for any noise. If this next one has longer naps, I'm totally going to try that, but if it's like pumpkinpie was, we're talking 20-30 minutes tops for a looong time. Urk.

Backpacking Dad said...

They do have "Diaper Days" and "Diaper Date Nights" at one theater about 17 miles away. But she's been awesome ever since she was born. We've seen everything from Shrek to In Bruges. It's just in the last month or so that she's failed to nap or sit pretty quietly and entertain herself. She doesn't cry. She just screeches. Gleefully. And she says "Da da" constantly.

Here's a tip for going to the movies (which I will include in a Going-to-the-movies-with-a-baby post someday: Younger than 4 months, find a drive-in. Waking up every couple of hours is no problem at all, and there's no bed-time that early so you don't have to worry about being out late. And in Space, no one can hear you scream. Er. Your baby. In the car. With the windows up.

Heather J. said...

The only time we ride Caltrain is during baseball season...the kids love it. Such a simple pleasure. We should do it more often.

I think since gas is up to 3.93(shoreline, Chevron)and my vehicle currently gets 9.7 miles per gallon, we'll ride the train to the Hillsdale Mall, I need a dress for a wedding and the kids need a little retail therapy to help them cope with their lives being laid out for the entire blogosphere!

Erin looks too damn cute in those glasses, do you think she'll mind if I borrow them?

I'm glad everything everything worked out with Swim Mommy.

So do you want to talk about my pap smear now or later?

Oh stop, I'm JOKING.

THopgood said...

Oh my goodness does she look sweet! Those eyes!

Marly said...

The "E" in E-ticket, huh? Well, after just finding your site, and reading from the beginning, I'd have to guess Entertainment, Excitement, and Exhaustion. Oh, and maybe Erin!

You have created a wonderful place to visit - I'll be back!

for a different kind of girl said...

When I form my emo band, I'm hoping you don't mind if I lift Entrap and Spite as the title of our first release.

I love how kids help score the goods. It's totally why I wanted them. Damn if they don't turn out so cute you can't help resigning yourself to loving them.

I applaud you for asking Swimming Mom her name. Were it me, I'd be referring to her as SM forever.

Mandy said...

That's one cute chicky you have there.

I'm like you; I always buy the ticket, even if the probability of being checked is slim. On a side note, Nate absolutely loves public transit, so for him, it's an absolute treat to take a city bus, the seabus, the skytrain, etc. I haven't really braved it too much since Jake was born, but maybe today we'll take the adventure.

mamatulip said...

Erin is absolutely freakin' adorable!

They have mom's n' tots movie dates here, where kids over three are $2 and you can park strollers in the aisles and let the kids run around and be as loud as they want. Do they have that where you are?

Anonymous said...

Bless her, she's so pretty. I would have bought the ticket - why spend the entire journey stressed out about whether you're going to get checked or not!

Patti Mayo said...

E-ticket?? hmm...well, two things come to mind: Erin-ticket (which is quite obvious) and entrance ticket. can't come up with a third. She seriously is the sweetest little thing...

My husband would probably try to pull off what the no ticket guy did with out kids. Now, for the no ticket guy. I would so love to be on the train that day just to see it happen. Come on, it's karma. I'd probably have been plotting with the conducter and other guy on things to do to him. But I'm evil like that.

(p.s. started a new blog of my own. only two posts so far, but figured i'd plug it. hope you don't mind)

Mumma Boo said...

Movies? What are those? Oh, wait, I remember now. What I used to go out to see before I had kids. Now I wait for them to come in the mail. Although 80's geek that I am, you can bet your Ryan Reynolds abs that I'll be at the theatre when Indiana Jones 4 hits the big screen next month, kids or no kids. Is it wrong that my five-year-old quotes random scenes from all three "Back to the Future" movies?

But, seriously, Erin is one cute kid! How could anyone not melt (and give you free stuff!) with one look from her!

Shannon said...

I would have found the guy they were talking about and tipped him off, geez. You were kind of obligated to, like flashing your lights at cars when you've spotted a cop hidden behind a billboard.

But, I'll give you an ethical freebie since you probably wouldn't have had a clue who the guy was on a train full of people. (You should have pretended to be friends with the conductor types and said "hey, who ya guys talking about? What a lowlife! Ba ha ha" all buddy-like. Then slip away and tell the guy about the entrap and spite plan.)

Mandy said...

Hi again,

I've tagged you for a meme, when you have 5 min, visit my blog for the details!

Backpacking Dad said...

Heather: I hope the kids had fun at the mall. If you are feeling really adventurous some day take Caltrain to 4th and King and walk up to Market St and go to the Westfield there. The family lounge in the basement just off the food court is a nice place to hang out for an hour or two in the A/C. It has a bunch of changing tables, a flat screen, some toys for tiny kids, and a bunch of nursing privacy enclosures.

Thopgood: Yeah, those eyes kill me.

Marly: Thanks. One of the E's is definitely "Erin". That one was the easy one :}

FADKOG: Dammit. Now I'm going to be thinking of her as "S&M" forever.

Mandy: I hope you guys got out. I really hope you guys got out on a seabus. That just sounds like too much fun.

Mamatulip: Yeah, they have Diaper Days at one theater within 25 miles. But I've never had to use it.

bsouth: Thank you. AndI can definitely do without that stress.

Patti: Plug Away! And I know the guy deserved to get booted. But plotted against? I don't know if they were justified in going that far.

Mummaboo: Yep. I can't wait for Indy.

Shannon: If I had been going more than one stop I may even have tried to figure out who the guy was. But I barely had time to hear the conversation and get my ticket overlooked before I had to get off the train.

Patti Mayo said...

See, I told you, I'm evil. My lifelong best friend likes to remind me of that.

I could see if he only did it once but if this is something he done a few times, he may need to learn a lesson the hard way.

They could just call the cops on him and have him arrested. I'm sure there could be charge against him for it.

(psst. it's )

Headless Mom said...

E-Ticket at Disneyland!!! Erin is definitely a wild ride (in a very good way!)

btw-you're all up in my reader'n'stuff. :-)

Backpacking Dad said...

Headless Mom: That's two!