Shared Joy is Twice the Joy, Shared Pain is Half the Pain

We survived an ambush!

Before I start, let me note that I am not, and never was, in any danger as a result of this story. The ambush thing is just an appropriate name. (Ambush: a surprise attack by people lying in wait in a concealed position.)

I’ve been in the Czech Republic for 6 months and, as of a week ago, I had never had my tram/metro/bus ticket checked. And then, it happened. The dreaded. The horrible. The surprising.

Okay, in reality, it wasn’t all that exciting. I have a long-term pass, so there isn’t ever anything to be worried about. But it was an interesting experience. The actual ticket-checking itself wasn’t, but what happened in the immediately preceding moments was.

Holly and I were on a night tram, somewhat curious about the two policemen just chilling in the back. We assumed they had something to do with the high numbers of homeless people that use the trams as a refuge of warmth during the winter months. They weren’t bothering us, and we weren’t bothering them, so it was whatever.

But then, about two stops from where we were getting off, just as the doors were closing and the tram began to pull away, the tram jumped to life. All of a sudden, four people were on their feet, showing their badges and asking for tickets. There were literally four transportation officials in addition to the two policemen in the back. There were only five other people left on the tram, myself and Holly were two of those.

Within three seconds, the tram transformed (tramsformed?) from a sleepy conglomeration of people on their way home to a mish-mash of conversation. Normal-looking people pulled little red badges out of their pockets and simultaneously were speaking to every single other person on the tram. There were some people who didn’t have their tickets, and wanted to get off the tram at the next stop, clearly in an attempt to avoid a ticket. Hence the cops. It literally took longer for Holly and I to pull out our tram tickets than it did for the transportation people to corner everyone, but it was never a particularly stressful ambush.

In reality, it was a bit funny. Holly, who rides the metro everyday, where the ticket checks are more frequent, didn’t find anything particularly exciting about the ticket-checking process, but she was the one that coined the term as we were leaving the tram: “We just survived an ambush!”



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