The mini-busses that speed around town don’t always follow the same exact route. Usually they drive accommodating the passenger’s drop-off locations. Sometimes they won’t know which route to take and yell out, “Anybody want [insert destination here]?” The passengers will holler back their stop. Other times, they will have enough foresight and interrogate passengers before they board the bus. Usually, though, this tactic is reserved to persuade someone to choose their bus.
One afternoon, a conductor approached me and I replied in my distinct American accent where my destination was. “Yeah, yeah,” he acknowledged, grabbed my shoulder and dragged me to his vehicle. As we approached my destination the conductor informed me of my arrival and I handed him my fare, $100, expecting $40 in change as usual. The conductor handed me $20, reached for another $20, then hesitated and said, “It’s $80. Fare raise up this mornin.” I contested his unfair action and informed him that I took a bus this morning and it was $60. He didn’t budge and insisted it was $80, opened the door and shuffled me out as aggressively as he had pushed me on.
I stood on the side of the road feeling inequitably treated, knowingly taken advantage of, and mistaken for an affluent vacationer. I wanted to dispute it but couldn’t think of anything to say to resolve the situation. So instead, I brattishly snapped, “I live here!” and slammed the door. I'm quite proud to say that both my intelligence and maturity level have grown since living in Guyana.
The lesson I learned? Always carry exact fare, even if that means stopping for half-melted ice cream to make correct change. Ice cream makes everything better.