the universality of frustrating commutes…

…was once again reinforced for me this morning, though it really had nothing to do with the efficiency (or occasional lack thereof) of London public transit. Here’s how it went down:

9:20 – realized that I had not gone to cashpoint last night. Subsequently realized, after ransacking every pocket, that I had only £0.95 in cash. Bus fare is £1.00.

9:30 – exited flat.

9:34 – arrived at shop closest to flat where travel cards are sold. Asked for a travel card and a packet of tissues. The man got a travel card, stamped it, and asked for £5. I handed him my Visa. he very apologetically told me the Visa machine was broken. I inquired as to the location of the nearest cashpoint and was told it was in the next shop down. I promised to return when cash had been procured.

9:38 – arrived at “next shop down” which was actually the 8th next shop down. Went to the cashpoint. The cashpoint would not accept my card because my card is not UK-based. My UK-based card, along with my monthly paycheck, is stuck in the mailbox at my new flat. I do not yet have the key for the mailbox at my new flat.

9:40 – went to the counter at the second shop, explained the cashpoint difficulty, asked for a travel card. Was told that Visa cards are not accepted for travel cards, tobacco or pretty much anything else I would want to buy at that shop. Explained again my increasingly urgent need to get on transport into city. Was told that if I bought an Oyster card, I could pay with Visa.

9:42-9:52 – filled out the paperwork for an Oyster card. Was asked how much transit I wanted on said Oyster card. When I said “a week,” was told that I could only pay with Visa if I bought a whole month. Resisted the urge to (a) lunge across the counter and throttle the nice pakistani man on other side, or even (b) inquire as to why, when I had made it known that I needed to pay with Visa, he would even ask that question. Instead, I gritted my teeth and asked for one month, please.

9:53 – paid £78 for an Oyster card with one month’s transit. Will be out of the country for 10 days out of that month.

9:58 – finally got on the bus. If I had had additional £0.05 in my pockets, handbag or purse this morning, I would have been arriving at Holborn at more or less exactly that time.

At least it’s good for a laugh, eh?