I arrived at Mt Royal station at 11:55am, and approached the ticket machine with my CharmCard. However, I couldn’t decide if I wanted to get a simple one way pass or a full day pass. The former would mean fighting through the crowd of homeless people milling around the machines at Baltimore Street (who know darn well if you put $2 in the machine, you get 35-cents back and will thus mob you when you turn around); the latter means I would have a ticket for 30 minutes and the rest of it would be wasted.
I decide on the one way, but change my mind about mid-way through. As I was cancelling the transaction, I thought I heard someone behind me until I finally I caught “I’M TALKING TO YOU, DAMNIT!”
I turn around startled. “WHAT THE F-“ the small, thin African-American woman said sharply. She then took a deep breath and slowly unclenched her fist before continuing. “You have a pass? A day pass,” but before I could answer she hands the green paper card to me. “I don’t need it anymore,” she said.
“Thank you,” I said.
“You’re welcome,” she said curtly. You may have noticed, but I have a gift for ruining feel good moments.
About two minutes after stepping onto the concrete platform, the train arrives. I alight at Baltimore Street, and make my through the homeless masses, under the breezeway, around the construction area and down the steps into the gallery.
They were showing a collection of glossy, black\white photographs of New Yorkers being New Yorkers. The only thing differentiating it from other photography exhibits was that these were shot entirely on a mobile phone. Even the guy sitting at the counter called it “somewhat lazy.”
Less then ten minutes after getting off the southbound train, I was already on board the train back to UB\Mt Royal. That’s why I like covering art: theatre takes a full evening of my time, art takes a couple minutes on a Thursday afternoon.
I spent the next three hours writing furiously as if on some imaginary deadline. Finally, I pull the little green card out of my left pocket, and decided that I wasn’t going to waste it.
I was surprised when the northbound train pulled into the station less then two minutes after I stepped onto the platform. I was even more surprised when I heard the operator say that his destination was only “Timonium Fairgrounds.”
I got off at the next stop, which just happened to be Lutherville (the station immediately south of the fairgrounds). This was good because I tend to get “train sick” between Falls Road and Lutherville so getting off there would give me a chance to get myself settled again. It also let me see if there was a new tenant in the Borders space – there is: it’s now a golf store.
I spent ten minutes walking around the mall before heading back to the train. I wasn’t completely recovered, but I figured the worst had probably past. After a few minutes on the platform, a northbound train arrived – this one going to Hunt Valley.
I got off the train at 4:42 and immediately made my way to the soon-to-be-closed Best Buy on the far end of the mall. As expected, the place was in a bit of shambles with larger merchandise on the floor and smaller items shoved into whatever shelf space was left.
I picked up two games (one of the “non-discounted” categories) and made my way over to Gamestop to trade in my version of Pokémon Pearl. I got about $6.50 or five dollars more than I usually get for trade-ins there. J
It was shortly after 5pm when I entered the Outback Steakhouse on the western edge of the vast tundra known as Wegman’s parking lot. The food wasn’t great, but at least I got a nominal discount for sending it back.
I left the resturaunt at 6:30 and tried to treat myself to an ice cream cone at Carvel. I then made my way back to the light rail. We pulled into Woodberry station 30 minutes later, and the only passenger to get on was a fare inspector. He started at the driver’s end, but eventually made his way back to me. He takes the small green card from my hand, flips it over and hands it back to me.
It had now fulfilled its purpose, and was now in effect useless again. Well, maybe not, I told myself. Maybe I can give it to someone at the UB station, but when I got off the train, there was nobody there…