23 December 2005


When I got on the bus this morning, I said to the bus driver, "glad to have you back," just like Mayor Bloomberg told us to. While it wasn't the heartwarming scene it would have been in the movie version -- I'd be played by Sandra Bullock; the driver by Jamie Foxx -- other passengers said similar things and I have to think that it made the driver feel at least a little better about having lost three days' pay for no discernable advantage.


Having recently made a mistake and acted rashly -- damaging a friendship in the process -- I wonder this morning whether the transit workers feel a similar hangover. They still don't have a contract. They don't know what the contract will be when they do get it. They've been fined tremendously; it could take years to get out from under this financially, to say nothing of the uncertainty of how commuters will treat them from now on. With suspicion and anger? With sympathy and kindness? A little of each?

I wish I knew, in my own case. I don't even have the consolation of having done something for the greater good -- having put the labor movement back in the public consciousness, in the transit workers' case. I was just thoughtless, and hurtful. Which is not to say that I didn't have a legitimate -- grievance is probably too strong a word, but I'll use it in keeping with the transit-worker theme. But I expressed it in completely the wrong way. It'll be weeks, or even months, before I know whether it's suspicion or sympathy, and the outcome is not in my hands. Ladies and gentleman, stand clear of the closing doors.


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