It was a Friday morning in the year 2006 when I decided to return to work, after being at home the whole week with flu.  You see, I had caught a draught during my sleep last Saturday night. When I had woken the Sunday morning, I had the most uncomfortable sore throat.  I found it hard to swallow and on top of that, my head was pounding with tension.  Because of this, I stayed home on Monday instead of attending the education centre where I had volunteered as an administrator and teacher – well, the teacher part was offered to me really.  Despite this, I worked my paid job the following day with total regret. 

Later that night, after returning home from work, my throat began to feel  worst than ever before.  My voice began to deepen with that sexy husky tone but my thoat deepended with discomfort.  I then made the decision to stay home the rest of the week until I felt recovered.  Being cooped up in the house for two days without any fresh air, made me feel all the more to return back to work.

I had it in my head that my travel pass had expired Thursday, which was the day before.  Not only that, but it was the first month of the year, so that meant that all travels fares had gone up – again.  Because I had been at home most of the week, I didn’t have any money on me.  I then asked my mother to lend me some money until I returned home from work that day.  

Confidently, I walked to the shop where I regularly buy my bus pass.  Knowing that I may not have enough money in my purse, I asked the shop attendant, “How much for a monthly buss pass?” 

“Thirty six pounds fifty.” The shop owner replies.  Boy wasn’t fares cheap those days. So I scowered through my purse, counting the change to see if I had enough money in it to pay for the pass.  I don’t.  I’m about fifty pence out and asked the attendant if I can owe him a pound. “No!”  He was not having it.  He then suggests that I pay with a debit card.  My answer then, was “No!”

“Don’t you have card?” He asks in his Asian accent, looking at me as if to say he found the solution.

“Yea, but you charge for that.” I reminded him

“How much?”  He asks.  I was thinking about a pound, as I was sure that was how much I had seen printed on previous bank statements.

“It doesn’t matter.” I said.  I thought, well if he didn’t want to lose out on a pound, then I wasn’t going to lose out no matter how small it was.  I walked out of the shop.

I thought great, I’m gonna be late for work now for I was not going to pay cash on the bus; I wouldn’t be able to do that coming home anyway.  You see, I worked in Covent Garden, which is West Central London.  In travel language, it’s Zone 1 and now you have to have pre-paid passes within that travel zone area.  My next best bet was to walk to Liverpool Street Station which is now about a fifteen minute walk away and but not one shop between sells travel passes.

As I began to walk towards the station, I tried to keep my spirit up, by trying to smile inside but was finding it hard to do so.  When I eventually arrived at the station fifteen minutes later and entered the ticket office, I was disappointed to find a queue. I was thinking, “That’s all I need.”  But I had no choice but to wait and hope that the queue would reduce quickly. 

Finally it was my turn and I asked, “Can I have a monthly bus pass please?”

“Do you have an oyster card?” The ticket officer asked.

“No!” was my reply.”  He pointed to a man behind me holding a clipboard and said to me, “If you go to that man and fill in an application form then come back, I can get you your pass.”  So I did as I was told and did just that.  When I returned to the ticket officer and handed over the application form, he asked to see my old bus pass, so I handed it over. 

The first thing he said to me was, “Do you want it to start tomorrow?” I replied “No, today please.” He looked up at me confused.  So he held up my original bus pass and said to me “You have a day left on it. Are you sure?” Puzzled and confused I looked at the pass and then at the man on the other side of the counter “Isn’t that yesterday’s date?” I asked

“No!” Was his straight forward reply.

Still puzzled and baffled I asked for the pass to start the following day.  By now, I was very late for work.  I walked away totally baffed.  Only if I had checked the date accurately, I could had been at work by now…