I had a cannister full of nickels at home. There’s a problem when you have a change jar; it’s that if you don’t spend it, change can be really difficult to get rid of. Hence, a cannister full of nickels. And some dimes. Plus the occasional quarter.
I decided this morning that while it’s all well and good to pump a five dollar bill into the fare machine at the subway terminal, there was really no compelling need to do so, not when I had this cannister of nickels I could just as easily spend.
And so, I loaded up my pants pockets with nickels and dimes and other shiny coins, and off to the parking garage I went.
My plan went exceedingly well at first. Oh, I wasn’t paying the fare down especially quickly, but I was paying it down, and my pockets weren’t as weighted down with shiny metal coins.
There was a limit to the number of coins the fare machines are willing to accept.
Thus, still owing fifty-five cents on my metro day pass, I could pump no more coins into the fare machine.
I ranted. I raved. I wailed.
All in silence, of course. To have done otherwise would have been unseemly.
Instead, I frowned — not an unseemly thing to do — and shoved the coins I had left, far more than the fifty-five cents I still owed, back into my pocket.
Fortunately, I had a dollar bill in my pocket. One dollar bill. Plus some fives. But, after all those coins, I wouldn’t have wanted to put a five dollar bill into the machine.
The dollar bill made everything good. I got back forty-five cents change — for all I know, coins I had put into the machine myself — and my day pass.
Other than that, there was nothing remarkable about the morning commute.
But I did learn a valuable lesson. Don’t pay the subway fare in nickels.