Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

In New Zealand, sadly trousers are called pants.

Also sandals are called jandals, swimwear is togs, dents are called dings, rucksacks backpacks, www is "dub-dub-dub" and Lloyds Bank is called The National Bank.

They also don't have any coinage below 5c.

I mention this simply because tonight I withdrew $20 from an ATM at The National Bank. I needed to get the last bus home after all.

Stuffing the 2 blue 10 dollars bills into my pocket, I stopped off at the Smile Mart to buy the Korea family a small goodbye gift for $7. This left me with 13 dollars from the ATM, plus whatever other change was on me.

I then passed an army surplus store that had a naked dummy in the window. I then realised that it was in fact fully dressed, but I hadn't noticed because it was wearing camoflage clothes.

Passing the long line of bus stops along Symonds Street, I spotted a 5c coin under a bench, and put it in my pocket with the 5c coin I'd found by the bus stop in New Windsor last night.

At the 68 bus stop, I put down my bag from the Smile Mart with my backpack, and took off my coat.

A smoking girl came up to me and quietly asked if she could have some fare for her last bus home. She said she needed $4.60. I asked how much she already had. She said she had $1.67. So I gave her $3 and she left.

After she'd gone, I considered whether I should have suggested that a more long-term solution to her problem might have been to quit smoking. That way she would have had enough money for the bus, right? Then the proverbial penny (all right cent) dropped. $1.67? 67??? In a country where no coin is worth less than 5c, she had clearly just made this up.

Nonetheless a moment later I saw her bus pull-up to her stop, and she got on and started to pay the driver. However, there was clearly some problem. Maybe her fare was more than she had realised? I was torn between approaching the bus and checking that everything was okay, or staying with all my gear that I'd put down. (I wasn't alone)

Fortunately, after about a minute and a half, her bus pulled away with her safely on it.

Shortly afterwards my 68 pulled-up, so I got on, and, here's the thing, I couldn't find my tenner. Anywhere.

Tissues, yes. A scarily high number of them. But a small blue piece of paper with Kate Sheppard and a couple of ducks on it, no.

"Errr...I had it a minute ago," I stammered to the driver. "I...just got...the ATM..."

He must have believed this, that I actually did have an ATM machine in the right-hand pocket of my jeans, but whatever the reason he wordlessly pulled away as I continued to fumble through my tissues and tried to remain standing. I might not find an ATM machine, but he was still expecting to be paid.

This wasn't good. This was the last bus of the night, and I really didn't think that even I could convincingly take the entire 30 minutes to search through my, albethem many, pockets. Still, I had a go, but I found that I was very quickly onto rechecking the same pockets a second time. Why does one do that? Is it humility, desperation or denial?

I'd obviously lost my second tenner. I should have put it in my wallet like normal, instead of shoving it in loose. I checked my spare change. $2.40. I needed $5.40.

I needed that girl's 3 dollars back.

Drawing on all my resources, next to my right thigh I rediscovered the 10c that I'd found in the street. I also had an Auckland Cash Handling System token that I'd found months ago. And in my 2004 diary I still had 20 UK pounds that my mum had given me when I'd left home, but somehow I didn't think the driver would accept them as legal tender. Especially not since Freakazoid had recently drawn an early klingon-esque beard on the Queen.

So to cut an increasingly trivial story short, he accepted the $2.50, soon after which I found a spare $10 note I'd forgotten about! Rather predictably it was in a tissue.

The nice thing was, without knowing about the girl I'd given my last 3 dollars to, the driver refused to accept the 3 dollars I now owed him.

Fare enough.


3 comment(s):

At 4:31 pm, Blogger BJ said...

Another riveting adventure (seriously)...I've added you to my blog as "Goble Savage"! This is in fact a compliment based on Erwin McManus' book "The Barbarian Way Out of Civilisation". His contention is that Christians live too safe and have become unhelpfully civilised! You are a walking faith-in-action-barbarian Steve, thus the honorific...

Good news on the place to stay...God is good

At 4:27 am, Blogger Iain said...

Doctor Livingstone, I presume?

No? Steve Goble?

Well, it was better bumping into you anyway, your posts are hilarious.

"Five stars, this man can write" N.Y. Times

"I was ugly, but now I smile so much that nobody notices. Thanks, Steve!" Helen C.

At 5:24 am, Blogger Steve Goble said...

Cheers Brett - it's such a refreshing change to hear someone refer to me as "savage" instead of "polite English gentleman!"

In real life I am of course... both!

Iain - it was such a great surprise to meet you this evening. I cut the number of entries on a page down to 15, as you suggested. Let me know how it loads for you now.

Your blog is highly readable and you have a great sense of humour.

Keep on rockin', Indiana!


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