Friday, May 05, 2006

Forest Hills Asks Where's Charlie?

Waiting for Godot...waiting for Charlie...

We're waiting for Godot.
You're sure it was here?
What?
That we were to wait.

Well, we're sure it was Charlie. We're sure it was Forest Hills Station. We're sure it was May 4th, the day of our days on which we visited most recently.

Yet, Charlie has only put in a cameo, if that. He is here, but not here.

Then again, the sign promised that the Charlie ticket would be starting here on May 4th. It did not say that you could actually use or buy a Charlie ticket here. It did not say the system of hardware that had lain in crates and cartons for months would have any function that you could touch or operate. It read starting.

Oh, this is so existential.

I biked to and from work yesterday. On the way home, I clacked on my cleats into the middle of the FH lobby. It was R.U.R. again. In place of rebellious robots, there was a gutted, gaping rack of inoperative Charlie-ticket vending machines. Next was a small set of Charlie scanners, only four of which had the Plexiglas gates connected. Beyond and close to the bus bays was the large set of (inoperative) ticket dispensers. There, the Charlie elves and fairies were driving their Charlie screwdrivers and plying with their Charlie needle-noses. These machines at least showed an error screen, something about temporarily out of order. They had some juice, though, just to scant effect.

I clicked and slid my way to the shortest, ruddiest elf and asked (with nary a hint of humor) whether the equipment would be working today or tomorrow. He paused his elfin pause before saying, "Tuesday. You can use them on Tuesday."

Well, shall we go?
Yes, let's go.

They do not move.

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