The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Saturday May 28th

Pit Talk

Go Heels, Go America

I do not read the fine print. I mean, who does?

I also do not understand big cities at this point in my life.

Sporting these two hindrances, I embarked on an exploration of Washington, D.C. (insert sympathetic laughter here).

Drawing upon limited knowledge, I did my best to prepare for the challenges of the city. Taking the Metro seemed like a wise, time-conserving choice. And so, feeling proactive and metropolitan (taking the Metro automatically makes you metropolitan), I purchased a Metro card a few weeks prior to my trip.

The first day in D.C. was absolutely fabulous. My Metro pass allowed me to get in and out of the city quickly and happily. The Washington Monument was as breathtaking as always in the fresh autumn weather. Lincoln and Jefferson were watching over the city from their respective monuments, noble and pensive in their permanence. Ducks swam the National Mall, oblivious to the fact that they were entrapped in a large rectangle of 18-inch deep water.

I made it to my hotel with an alarming amount of confidence in myself. I had done the tourist thing flawlessly. I actually pondered becoming a tour guide for 37 seconds.

The next morning, I woke up bright and early and went online to add value to my Metro card. I purchased enough credit to get me through the second day of my adventure, and I departed for the train station with a sureness in my step.

When I walked up to the gates and waved my card in front of the scanner, the machine beeped angrily at me and instructed me to add value to my account. After fighting with the machine for a few minutes, I addressed the train station manager.

“Hi, sir. The machine doesn’t seem to be reading my card correctly. I know I have enough money for my fare.”

“When did you add value to your card?”

“Just before I left! I received a confirmation email.”

“Oh, girl. You messed up.”

“What?”

“If you read closely on the website, it tells you that it may take up to three days for your money to be processed.”

“Oh no… That’s a bummer. I’m from North Carolina. I don’t know how this stuff works.”

At the mention of North Carolina, the man’s face lit up. He asked me where I was from and where I went to school. When he discovered that I was a Tar Heel, the entire mood of the conversation changed.

“I tell ya, I bleed Carolina blue. Let me help you out.”

He led me around the back of his desk and to the other side of the gates. He wrote me a pass for a free train fare while expounding on his love for the Tar Heels.

I made it back to the city and took in the beauty of the Capitol, the Library of Congress, the Supreme Court and a number of graphically-appealing pamphlets.

My exploration of the nation’s capital was smooth and disaster-free, despite my inadequacies, with a little bit of help from a fellow Tar Heel.

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