Kids These Days
A Croatian Experience
The old man started his work as soon as the wheels of the 8am bus rolled out of the Zadar station. As he worked his way through the front half of the bus, I realized that his work day started 3 hours ago in Split and he still had 7 hours to go until Pula. Quite a long day for an elderly man, I decided to forgive him for his lack of warmth when asking me for my ticket. Without a word, he moved on to the person sitting next to me.
I know precisely 6 words in Croatian: hello, goodbye, please, thank you, wine and beer. Hey, I have my priorities. But I didn’t need fluency to gauge the gist of the conversation that unfolded between the ticket man and my seat-mate, a teenager in every sense of the word. It went a little something like this:
Yah. Look here. (holds up his computer with confirmation of online purchase)
Fine, but do you have a ticket?
Yes, it’s here. (Points again to computer)
No, I mean a ticket. Holds stack of bus tickets he’s collected from the front half of the bus.
Yes, look. See here? I paid using visa.
NO! A ticket must be on paper.
But here is the logo of the bus company, and a confirmation number of my purchase!
The ticket man, shaking his head and muttering under his breath, wrote down the boy’s confirmation number and continued to the rest of the bus. A half hour later, he came back with a receipt in his hand, nodding his head that the company confirmed via telephone that this crazy “purchase confirmation” was in fact valid. The boy is free to ride the bus without a fine.
Kids these days.