A (Bus) Token of Appreciation

So I mentioned how (I’m pretty sure) local landvættir gave me bus tokens one time. That probably warrants a story, even if it’s just to illustrate how much flailing and guessing and silliness is involved in religion.

I was at a music festival and was inevitably under the influence, because that’s…just what you do at a music festival. I was the kind of Under The Influence that demands buying a chili cheese dog. I’m not naming the intoxicant or verifying any guesses, but that should be enough to guess. Gotta maintain plausible deniability, yanno?

The land this festival is on is a really nice place to wander through in the off-season, when it’s a hay farm. I suspect that, despite how trashed the place gets, the landvaettir feed off of all the loose energy, spilled food and drink, etc. that all the hippies leave in their wake. It seems like leaves start falling off the trees the day everyone packs up and goes home, even though it’s only halfway through August. But it feels nice to be there year-round, so I’m really fond of the spirits that represent it.

Which is why I pick up trash if I’m in the area. Hence, also, why the owners don’t mind me wandering through. Who else is going to be that enthusiastic about retrieving shrew skulls?

So, wandering up to the food stall, very much not sober, I tried to be a responsible person and count out my money in advance, down to the cent. But when trying to hand over my change, I ended up dropping a ton of it into the grass.

It was super late at night, the lighting was terrible, and the ground was so saturated that I had no hope of recovering my change without being caked in mud. And, being as not-sober as I was, I didn’t feel like I stood a chance at recovering any of it.

“Well,” I said. “I’ll let the Landvættir have it” and bought my chili cheese dog with a bunch of paper bills.

And then forgot about the loose change entirely, because chili cheese dog.

The next day, while walking the long way down the festival grounds (which are basically a small vale) to reach the correct entry gate, I saw something glinting in the grass by the bridge that connects the two fields.

I certainly have some magpie tendencies, given that my first thought was “shiny!” I assumed it was a small puddle, since it tends to be a very soggy field, but upon parting the grass to investigate, I found a bus token.

It was for Philly’s mass transit system, which meant at the time it was worth about $1.80. I had dropped far less money than that into the grass the night before, but I figure now it might have been intended as both a thank-you for loose change and for visiting regularly. I knew it was extremely rude not to accept something from the Landvættir, so I gratefully put it in my pocket.

There are thousands of reasons it would have been there. But nobody else noticed it, and the timing was odd enough that assuming it was meant for me seems reasonable.

That bus token has remained in a special spot for safekeeping, and unspent. It will never be spent. Unlike a crowded trip on the Market-Frankford Line, that token is special.

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