By adamg on Fri, 01/02/2009 - 11:02pm Let's say you're using the toilet and as you get up, but before you flush, you realize your CharlieCard has somehow fallen into the bowl. Do you retrieve it? Neighborhoods: Topics: The TFree tagging: CharlieCards Tweet WidgetFacebook Like Comments interrogatories Faced with a disgusting dilemma, the lawyer in me responds with logical questions: 1. "Paper or plastic?" -- The type of card makes a difference. 2. "No. 1 or No. 2" -- The type of emission makes a difference. 3. "What time of month?" -- For a monthly card, if it's early vs. late in the month makes a difference. 4. "Public or private?" -- If it's my own toilet it makes a difference. No brainer I'm diving it in after it. I don't have a human resources dept. to issue me a new one, and especially so close to the first of the month, not having to shell out an extra sixty bucks is worth a quick trip into the pond. Besides, I'm guessing brief contact with one's own leavings is actualy more hygenic than most things we do on a daily basis...something even as simple as holding on to the railings on the T. She did the right thing. Grab it, and scrub like hell. Extract and Destroy The cards can clog the toilet, so they should be retrieved for that reason alone. You can wrap your hand in a plastic bag that is fully or partially watertight. Some janitorial staff will leave new bin liners in the bottom of a trash receptacle, or there might be a receptacle that has not been used since the current liner was installed. Baby changing stations might also have plastic bags. If the bag is not watertight, a card might be pinned to the porcelain, utilizing an item like a cheap pen or disposable chopstick, to permit a pre-extraction flushing-out of enemy operatives. After extraction, I would discard the card, due to a do-unto-others rationale. I might trust my own ability to decontaminate the object, but I wouldn't trust others to do so in the same situation, and I wouldn't want them going around town contaminating card readers and the subway poles they grasp minutes later. To say it would be OK for me but not OK for others doesn't sound good. That's the opposite of liberal relativism, which has one say that something is wrong for oneself but that one shouldn't judge others for the same thing. :) Can you transfer the value to another card? Neil, that's way too detailed a response ... voice of experience??? Anyway, I think you might be able to get a clean Charlie and tap in at the machine to switch the contents to an "undamaged" card? As for contamination, you can put the durn thing in a rubber sleeve or glove for the duration and it will still work. Once you encapsulate it, you won't have to touch it. Great moments in latex dip or decoupage?? Heck, even one of those quart ziploc freezer bags that seem to breed in every bag I own would do the trick of isolating the offending material. I saw someone changing a diaper on the T the other day ... eeeewwwww! So I wouldn't sweat a properly contained card. Transferring value I don't think you can do that at a machine. You'd have to go to the pass office at Downtown Crossing. Aha, Ziplocs! Swirly, I like solving problems of protocol and resourcefulness. I favor the idea of containment in a Ziploc bag long enough to transfer balance to a new card, then disposal as biohazardous waste. My daily laptopping backpack actually already has one clean Ziploc and 1-2 plastic grocery bags (they fold up into little triangles like paper footballs). And antiseptic hand wipes, and a disposable breathing mask inside the Ziploc. Everything I needed to solve this problem! (The hand wipes are for when hands are dirty and I need to handle laptop or camera gear. Might also come in handy for first aid. Breathing mask was for shooting fire scenes, when annoyance of smoke outweighed desire to not look like a dork.) Mini Dry Bags It started when I had to put stuff in them at airline security points ... and I discovered how totally convenient that can be! Then I was concerned about electronics when biking in wet weather, walking on downpour days, or kayaking. So I started putting things in those double-zip quart freezer bags. On nasty days or when out in my yak, I can even use my crackberry without taking it out of the bag! One of my son's friend's parents does this too, and she told me that if it drops in the water, the air in the bag makes it float for easy recovery. of course not, that would make sense Anyway, I think you might be able to get a clean Charlie and tap in at the machine to switch the contents to an "undamaged" card? Phhbt. Next thing you know, you'll be wanting to go online and check a card balance/load a card. See, all that *makes sense*. So instead, we have people who get on the bus and then run through 5 different charliecards until they hit one that has enough dough for their fare... The Worst Toilet in Boston Oh ghods, I just pictured that famous scene from the movie Trainspotting. Ew! *reaches for the brain bleach* Now the music for your Charlie Card retrieving adventures: Brian Eno can make anything better That's easy Number one: Of course I'd fish it out. Sure, sticking your hand in the toilet carries a major psychological "ew" factor, but we touch plenty of things all day long that have waaay more germs than a toilet bowl. Number two: Taking time to consider the type of elimination is irrelevant. No one should be, um, number twoing at work. Number twoing should only take place in one's own can or in a can at a location where one is spending the night. Only On Twosday? Geesh Eeka, so many rules! I guess you don't eat oatmeal for breakfast after biking to work. Not to mention And I guess she also doesn't know anyone with IBS or other gastro-intestinal issues that may make Number Twoing immediately necessary rather than a choice one might postpone for later. I do though! I have a pretty messed up GI tract actually. I now poo on schedule with the aid of most excellent drugs. Previous to the illness that caused all this GI nerve damage, I pooed on schedule just because, um, I prefer predictability and consistency? Yes, that's how I'll put it. Paging Dr. Freud... Question: Isn't this what subway mittens are for? Yes! John, did you ever get your pair? I've gone into the toilet after less... ...so I suppose I would. What else is soap for than cleaning off poopy hands and Charlie Cards? Well... If the toilet water was clean at the time, with nothing in it, or, if it was just number one, then I'd probably retrieve it, at least in part because I agree with neilvandyke about plastic clogging the toilet, but I'd make sure to wash my arm/hand and the card thoroughly, wiith soap and hot water. if, on the other hand, it was number two, well then...that's another story. Old story There was an old story, may have been Bert and I, where guy drops some valuable (say a dollar bill) down the hole in the outhouse. Looks at it for a while, then pulls out something way more valuable from his pocket (say a ten dollar bill) and throws it down the hole too. Then he reaches down for both. When asked why he did it, he says "Wasn't worth going down there for just one dollar" you know the old joke throw in a few twenties after it to make getting down in there worthwhile.