Laws vs. Morals

This morning I was the beneficiary of a random stranger’s kindness.

Hastened by the distant screeching under-serviced metal on metal, I recompose myself and begin my second attempt at removing a subway card from the vending machine. My first attempt almost lost me fourteen dollars- who knew that the machines only dispense $6 change? Fck, a girl in checkered tights just blew by me.

Card in hand, I turn toward towards the gates. On the left, a young black man with a maroon hoodie and a black backpack runs a white card through the reader over and over . On the right, a older white lady with a perm does the same. A young woman and her barbie-themed kindergartener stand to the side, patiently watching the F train rumble into the station. A panicked crowd forms to my flanks. The train slows to a stop.

Fck! I ask the young mother if she is in line. She shakes her head- “this thing isn’t working,” she says, holding up another one of those white cards. Why are their cards different colored than mine? The gas pistons that control the subway doors exhale and a handful of Brooklynites leisurely stream out, oblivious to the crisis taking place on the our side of the gates.

Seconds from spending another twenty minutes underground, I grab the young man on the backpack. “Let’s do this,” I say. “Together. You first.” No hesitation on his part, he posts up on the gate like a runner in the blocks.

Swipe.
Clink.
Swipe.
Clink.
Am I fcking this up?
Clink. Swipe. Clink. Swipe. Clink. Swipe. Swipe. Swipe… We’re screwed.

Someone screams. HELP!!! A small Asian hipster with a violin under her arm turns toward us. She is pained, but obviously helpless. We flap our metro cards wildly. She steps inside the cab. A neatly dressed Brit and his wife peer at us from the inside of the car. “Stand clear of the closing doors.”

We are defeated. The I watch the shoulders of the boy I am currently pressing into the gate sink to the floor. Maybe I should move and ge.

BAM!! The Brit comes blowing out of the car, tumbler and grey hair slamming on emergency exit. HOPE. Rebuffed. “Harder” chants the crowd. The door begrudgingly relents wailing the whole time. Alarm blaring, we sprint through the closing doors of the F train.

Thanks random dude for recognizing that laws do not define, but approximate morality.

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