A few weeks ago I had to take Charlie to the vet. He wasn’t sick, just in need of his annual shots. My friend found Charlie near her house in Barrio Brasil. We went to her vet right around the corner to get him checked out. And ever since then, I’ve been bringing him back to the same vet because they know him, I like the vets there, and the price is right. However, this means that I have to schlep Charlie across the city to get there, which is not the easiest of tasks. Usually I take the metro there, and splurge and take a taxi back.
So on this particular occasion I headed out with Charlie in his carrier, a few treats in the side pockets, my Bip card and some cash. I thought I had brought enough cash, but I forgot that he would be needing two vaccines instead of one. So I handed all the cash I had over to the vet. No taxi for us, we would have to take the metro back. Then I remembered: I had no more money on my Bip card! I contemplated going to my friend’s apartment and scrounging around for change, but I knew no one was home and there was no guarantee that she or her boyfriend kept money in the apartment. I considered walking home from Barrio Brasil, which would have been around 7 km, and I had Charlie in tow.
So I decided I had to do something that I’ve only done a couple of times ever: get on the bus without paying.
I got to the bus stop and I hoped that there would be a lot of people trying to get on so I could pass unnoticed. But there was just me, and old lady, and a teenage couple. The bus approached and it was half empty. So much for not being noticed!
I got on and swiped my card. It flashed red and made the angry “beep beep beep!” noise that tells you you’re out of money. I looked at the bus driver and said “permiso” (excuse me) with my best gringa accent. As I walked to the back to find a seat, a little boy yelled “Mira! Tiene un gato!” (Look she has a cat!)
And that my friends, is how I became the crazy gringa cat lady who doesn’t pay for the bus.