What could go wrong?

I was so screwed.

I had been traveling to London for an FSU stud-abroad program in English Literature and Western Humanities. I was only 17, and still in high school.

And here I was, in one of the bigest, most sprawling and meadering city in the world, with no wallet (meaning no money and no pass for the bus or the tube), miles away from the theater where I would need to meet my group in two hours.

I was fixing to head back to our flat, where I had left my ticket to Shakespear's Twelfth Night, on the other side of town. When I left my group behind, I thought I had my wallet. I was wrong.

Luckily, I'm a slippery fellow. I slipped onto a bus whose route passed through our neighborhood.

Half an hour later, the buildings had goten smaller, and the driver announced "Last Stop!"

Last stop? I thought the busses all ran in circles!

I was too young and stupid to think busses would run any other way. I got thrown off two busses before one finally took me on and I was headed in the right direction.

It was rush hour now. The busses were packed with angry passengers, and the driver had gotten a bit ornery.

He was arguing with a passenger in Arabic, and suddenly hit the brakes and announced the bus wasn't going anywhere.

Dozens of passengers piled out. There was no room on the other busses. We shoved our way on, two or three at a time, as they passed.

I finally got on to a bus. Forget taking my friends' things back to the flats, or even retrieving my theater pass. There was no time for that now. If the professors found out I had gone off by myself, there would be trouble.

We got a flat. I jumped off the bus and started sprinting, still carrying my friends' bags.

I jumped on a another bus bound for the theater district, arriving just in time.

In the wake of the 07/07/05 Tube bombings, which had occured two weeks earlier, the theaters were paranoid about security

While all my friends' belongings were searched, I was able to slip through the turnstyles without a pass. I shouted out some section number I had heard someone else announce, to avoid scutiny by the ushers, who in showing people to their seats helped verify they were paying customers, and I found my group in the balcony. All's well that ends well.

The moral of the story: don't keep your bus pass in your wallet! Losing both at once can invite disaster, especially if you're traveling alone or become seperated from your companions.