Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Earning my wand

I have long said that in my next incarnation I want to be a fairy godmother. I just think that would be the coolest gig. Being somewhat childish, I insist on believing that there really are benevolent spirits out there who do things like make your laptop case fall apart so that you are forced to stop and deal with it instead of running in front of the speeding SUV because you're trying to catch the bus.

Yesterday, I suspect I may have been interviewed for the job.

The grooviest thing that happened was the very first one. The ACE train pulled into Pleasanton, and those of us on that next-to-last car were faced with a fairly large jump from the train to the platform. It's the usual. So I hopped down, and bent over to pull the handle of my rolling laptop case up.

Before I knew why, I was jumping up, putting my arms out and under the chest of a woman who was falling face-first toward the pavement, flipping her back upright and holding her steady while she found her feet again. Jackie Chan had nothing on me yesterday morning – it was slick. We don't know why she fell, maybe her heel caught on the metal step or maybe she just misjudged the distance, but if I hadn't caught her it would have been a very painful face-plant on the concrete.

I was being moved by some other force, because I literally had no idea why I was moving the way I was. My body reacted like it knew, but my brain was jogging along behind going, "What? Wait! What are doing? Why are you grabbing that person? RIGHT ACROSS HER BOOBS?!?! Ooooooh…I seeeeeeeee…wow. Kewl."

But it didn't stop there. All day, I was given the opportunity to be a decent person.

I got to help a lady figure out the BART system – she was on the phone with a friend saying she had to get off and switch trains across the platform to get to San Leandro. That would have taken her the wrong way. So I turned and said, "Actually – San Leandro is on this line. Two stops up from here."

Really? Yes. I was sure? Yup. It's the stop after the one you're proposing to make your transfer, and I hear them announce twice daily. Saaaaaaaaaaaan Leandro, San Leandro station. If you look at the map over there…you can see. Bayfair, San Leandro. {smile, nod pleasantly, go back to knitting}

She was on her way to a job interview. Being late would have been…not so good. She was very grateful. And welcome to the help. I could have used it m'self a few times.

Helped a lady pick up her dropped and scattered newspaper, chased down a guy and returned his dropped BART ticket, and got into the office feeling like I'd done my work for the day.

But no!

In the evening, as we were pulling into the station in Dublin I glanced back and saw an elderly couple surrounded by bags at the rear of the train. I looked at them, and a little voice said to me, "They are so not going to get off this train before they shut the doors and pull out again."

(The train pulls into the yard, turns around, and comes back – they don't always do anything to make sure there isn't anybody on the train. I have, in fact, taken this ride myself twice – once when I dropped a knitting needles and was determined to find it, and another time when I was so engrossed in my book that I failed to notice we had arrived.) (FREAKED me out the first time!)

So I went back and asked if they needed some help. They said no. I stood by the door anyway and sure enough – it started to close. I stuck my bag in it and waved at the driver, pointing into the train. He opened the doors again, I helped them collect their bags, walked them to the elevator and guided them down through the station to where their friends were waiting to pick them up. They were visiting old friends, here from 'back East', had heard that California was a friendly state but wasn't this just to beat all?

But wait! I still was not done! Twenty minutes later, as I sat waiting for the stupid shuttle, a lady asked me if I took the 54. Yes, yes I do. She asked how much it was and if she needed exact change. I told her it was free for ACE riders; the driver doesn't usually even ask for it, but technically all you need to do is show your ticket.

What ticket? The ticket you need to purchase in the morning. They do not sell tickets on the trains or in the afternoons. Yes, it's stupid. No, I don't know why. They just don't.

She had no ticket. This…could be a problem. I glanced down at my ticket, which had two punches left on it. Where was she going, I asked? Same place as me.

Hokay. I told her I knew just what to do. We'd double-punch my ticket, stick together for this trip, and we'd be golden. Which we did, and it was a delight. She's a neat lady; hopefully, we'll be seeing each other fairly regularly on the train. She even paid me for the trip in spite of having been told, "Don't worry about it, no big."

I'm wondering if maybe I was having an interview or something. Sure, you might get two opportunities in one day – but six? C'mon. That seems pretty intense to be random.

Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo, y'all!


Moira said...

SO Glad you had a good day...
you deserved it!!

21st Century Mom said...

Hey there honey! Want to come visit me? I could use some heeeeelp.......

RM Kahn said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
RM Kahn said...

Karma, honey.... and you racked up the points in spades!! Now I know why you're my kids Fairy Godmother.

Anonymous said...


Congratulations! You have passed my tests. You have proven yourself worthy of many great rewards for your Kindness to Total Strangers in the Face of One Hectic Commute.

Your friend,

Anonymous said...