A moral quandary: Epilogue

I wrote to the bus company and sent the photos of their best and brightest texting while speeding down the New Jersey Turnpike. I wrestled with whether or not to turn him in. I surmised that it could cost him his job and I don’t know if I want that on my hands.

In the end, I took the sage advice that the good Chef left in my comment section. When I was laid off in 2009, that dude provided some words of encouragement (first comment) that I revisited over and over again. They got me through a dark tunnel, so when he talks, I listen. I didn’t identify the driver. I blackened out his face, thus:

academy-3My note to the bus bosses was dripping with my trademark Unbearable Sarcasm. I didn’t expect to ever hear from them but they wrote back almost immediately.


Thanks for sending this.

You are absolutely right that this type of action by the driver is unacceptable. The driver’s action is not only contrary to company policy but, more importantly, illegal.

We hold countless safety meetings during each year and topics like cell phone use are discussed regularly.

For us to appropriately deal with this issue we would have to speak with the driver directly. Do you remember your departure time or the bus number?

Yes, I know the departure time and bus number because I wrote it down. But I haven’t responded. I also know what “appropriately deal with this issue” is a euphemism for. I confided with another driver and he assured me this guy would be unceremoniously tossed out onto the cold, hard sidewalk. I’ve been tossed out onto the sidewalk, albeit with an apology and and a fat severance check, but it still sucked. I can’t do that to another man. What a rotten manager I’d make. I guess I’m a people person after all.

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potI know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking this is a plate of Mrs. Wife’s astonishing, slow-cooked (six and a half hours!) pot roast. But you’d be wrong. This is a plate of autumn. It’s a plate of changing leaves, a crisp breeze, thick woolen sweaters, first nights on Broadway, Sunday football and, soon enough, 5th Avenue adorned in bright holiday lights. I do a lot of complaining here but, honestly, I never lose sight of how lucky I am.

A moral quandary: What would you do?

Nothing irritates me more than texting while driving. It’s a thing with me. I get much angrier than I should. The amount of anger that washes over me is so grotesquely out of proportion to the offense being committed that I consider this one of my problems. When I see someone texting behind the wheel, my first impulse is to run them off the road. That would be crazy. Right?

The bus drivers who take me in and out of the city on a daily basis are not a happy bunch. It’s a difficult job. They’re not looking to make any new friends. They mostly come off as being curt, edgy and are prone to scowl and grunt at you as you climb aboard. It’s all your fault.

But one guy makes an effort to be customer-friendly. Always a greeting. Big smile on his face. A real sweetheart.

So what do I do when I find this gentle soul amongst a team of marauding huns texting while driving a bus load of lemmings?

   moralphoto 2 Do I turn his ass in? Because he’ll probably lose his job.

moralphoto 1We were flying out of the Lincoln Tunnel and entering the helix onto the New Jersey Turnpike. It’s not like we were stuck in traffic and at a standstill. See how the cars in other lane are blurred?
moralphoto 3In this last pic, he’s using BOTH HANDS to text and steers the bus with the back of his left hand.
moralphoto 4Imagine my daughters being told that dad died in a bus wreck and that the wreck occurred because the driver was TEXTING. And never mind the loss of life. The company would be brought down by the weight of all the litigation.

Do I send these photos to the bus company, which will probably get him fired? Or let it go and be glad I survived the incident?

Is it safe?*

Someone who reads my blog once asked, “Isn’t your wife insulted by insinuation that your life is unbearable?” The whole idea of being unbearably banished is an attempted witticism. I’m not banished at all, really. I left the Lower East Side of Manhattan of my own free volition.

All sorts of biological urges kicked in when I had my daughter, the most primal being protection and self-preservation. Even though by the time Daughter #1 came along my street was no longer the Walmart of the heroin trade in NYC and the bum who would defecate in my apartment building vestibule every morning moved on, Alphabet City was still no place to raise a little girl. If I could have afforded a nice place on the Upper West Side or the Upper East Side near Central Park I would have put up a fight to stay in the city. But lacking the financial wherewithal to provide my family with that type of lifestyle, I set sail for safer harbors, far, far away, in the enchanted land of New Jersey.

How safe is it where we live? It’s so safe that you can go out on a Sunday morning to walk the dog and stumble across a BMW Z4…


…and the owner feels completely at ease leaving both windows rolled down and the keys in the ignition.


I thought that, perhaps, they had just run in the house for a second but I came around the block about ten minutes later and it was still there. Back on Avenue B, that car wouldn’t have lasted ten seconds, much less ten minutes. Is it safe? Yes. Very.

*     *     *

Strolling through Times Square on my way to work this morning I read the following weather report on the news zipper:


Delightful? I don’t recall New York ever being described as being delightful. I’ve read some bad poetry about how dark the city can be and the tourist guides paint a pretty picture. Both are accurate, in their own myopic way. The truth, as always, resides somewhere in between. But I cannot ever recall anyone saying New York is delightful. It is! +10 points to whoever posted that.