Root Cause

Dear J-

Tomorrow I have my encounter with traffic court for my infraction of nearly four months ago: on the first southbound train of April, I got a ticket for fare evasion because I didn’t have my monthly train pass renewed. I have the pass set up to auto-renew each month once I complete the first ride of the month, assuming I tag on and off correctly. The trouble was I didn’t remember to tag on when I boarded the train (mainly because I only tagged on/off once a month, and when you do it that way, it’s hard to remember which day is the first ride of the month). So my root cause was failure to tag, and my corrective action was to switch my habit to tag on/off every time I ride, every single time.

I’ll have the paperwork ready to show this, of course, highlighted and annotated appropriately to demonstrate this is how I’ve been doing it every single month since then. I have other papers showing I’ve had the monthly pass and renewed it every single month this year, so I really don’t think there’s that much I can be challenged on, but you never know what the judge may think. Real court. Hooray? Keep the argument simple and short; there are bigger fish to fry after all, and there’s no intent to defraud the system, only a question of bad timing on my part, so I hope he/she sees it that way and not as some arrogant scofflaw riding the rails for free, some digital century hobo one step ahead of the conductors.

One day I’ll be free of the ticket hanging over my head — tomorrow mid-morning, probably — and I don’t know what I’ll do with myself instead. Celebrate? I have plenty of other things to worry about as the day wears on, but nothing more pressing than getting in line and fulfilling obligations to the government; there’s responsibilities at work too and I don’t want to be the surly refusenik that I appear to be at times, do I? (I don’t. I think.) If people rely on me to do work then it’s my obligation to do the work right, to refuse to allow myself to shirk the products that I’ve been unaware of or refusing to perform, since if it only takes an hour or two, why even bother to make a big deal out of it by procrastinating? If I can fix my Caltrain ticket by changing my habits, what’s to stop me from taking over the rest of my life and responsibilities with the same forceful vigor?

Mike

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