Sunday, 26 June 2011

It's Only Time

A lovely days sunshine, busy day beavering away in a not so local coffee shop courtesy of my Costa boycott, and a mindful walk back to the car park I happened to stumble across a lady in distress at the ticket machine.

The first machine she went to only took credit cards, after scouring the car park for a coin machine I bet she wished she hadn't bothered. She put her ticket in only to find she was 10p short, she began apologising to me and I gave her a Kiwi "no worries" and gave her the 10p she was short. Only a couple of weeks before I asked a driver from Green Line at a ticket machine for change of a pound, which he didn't so he gave me 50p and said it was on him. I had begun to think that pleasant human interaction like this was a thing of the past or something you only saw in movies these days.

As the lady started to put her silver in the machine it locked out. She got flustered and pressed a multitude of buttons before getting her ticket back and an actor respond to her through the communication link. The voice from the machine said he would send an actor, sorry colleague, around to assist and we waited with baited breath. The lady began to tell me how she had recently suffered at the hands of these ticket machines and gone through this palaver before. She began to apologise to me again asking if she was holding me up for 'time' or something similar. I started to get philosophical asking "what is time" and about to give her a break down on space time and a meaning of life before she interrupted me with "time is money". I did not want to get into the meaning of money with her and decided to stop where I was, much to my friends relief.
After a few minutes a man arrived and the lady began to tell him what had occurred, he took the ticket, pressed some buttons and as if by magic everything was fixed. The lady thanked me for my assistance and went on her way.

Now it was my turn. Fortunately the actor had stayed for if he hadn't there may have been a little Steve Martin esque freak out....again.

I put my ticket in, expecting to pay my three bucks and then....well it was nothing like the £3.20 I was expecting, more like £8.50. The lady it appeared was right. Time WAS money and in this case it was 8 Earth minutes past the 5hours I had allowed and also £5 more to get out of the car park all because I stopped to help an elderly lady who was freaking out over faulty machine.
I remained calm and asked the actor to do something, I explained the situation and as he held back his laugh he told me there was nothing he could do. I had to report to reception and see if they could assist.

Tired, hungry and waspy over the ticket I headed towards reception with some flakey directions in the opposite direction to the actor, whom I bumped into outside the office when I got round the other side. I explained what had happened and pointed to the ticket and the time device on the wall explaining I was not going to pay a penny more than the £3.20 I owed. Thankfully he did not want to argue or exercise his right as an actor to mess me about.
All I had to do now was find the car and get out of there.

In hindsight I should have gotten my speech on time out to the lady before she had a chance to put a hex on me but it turned out alright in the end.

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