Dixie Peach: Mr. Kettle, You're Black Too Even If Your Head Says Otherwise

Cooler than the other side of the pillow.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Mr. Kettle, You're Black Too Even If Your Head Says Otherwise

I had to run a few errands today and when I boarded the streetcar for home I didn't bother to sit down because I was going up just one stop. As soon as the door closed I looked to my left to see someone standing at the front of the streetcar next to the driver's compartment and as I registered that it was one of the people who get on and off to streetcars to check for valid tickets a voice behind me asked to see my streetcar ticket.

I pulled it out of my pocket, showed it to him and as I was tucking it back in I looked back towards the front of the car where the other ticket checker was writing a ticket for someone who didn't have a valid ticket.

I sometimes get tempted to ride without a ticket myself. Those who do it are called Schwarzfahrer - black rider - and I'll admit that I've done it. I've been shopping and bought something I hadn't planned on and it was heavy and I would get on the streetcar to ride one stop so I wouldn't have to carry my heavy stuff so far. A ticket that is good for 90 minutes costs 1.40€. A city ticket that's good for you to ride within a limited area and is valid from the time you get on until you get off as long as you're still within that area costs 80 cents. Yes, to save myself 80 cents I've ridden black. It's a risk though because if you're busted for it the fine is 40€. Believe me, the transit company has made plenty on me for every time I've spent 1.40€ on a ticket and I've ridden one stop down and one stop back withing the span of a half hour. Even so, the times I've ridden black are few and far between and I even feel guilty for doing it, as I probably should. It's essentially stealing and I can't really excuse what I've done.

So even though I've been guilty of riding black myself I will admit that I took extra glee when I noticed who was being ticketed for riding black. It was someone from my old neighborhood - some unemployed, welfare taking, perpetually drunk skinhead with "White Power" tattooed on his shaved head.

I know it's not right to rejoice in the misfortune of others but is it misfortune if you're being busted for doing something you knew was wrong in the first place?

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Blogger Marshamlow said...

I too am glad he got caught. Are there very many people who are not white in your area? I am shocked to hear that there are skin heads in Germany I thought that was just an American craziness. I guess my level of education is showing. I would think that racial intolerants would be severely frowned upon in Germany, I guess not. I need more info. pretty please.

3:12 AM  
Blogger Dixie said...

Well that's what's so stupid about it. White Power? Dude, what sort of power are you lacking? YOU ALREADY HAVE VIRTUALLY ALL THE POWER!

There people in my city of all races and cultures. We have a pretty fair sized population of Vietnamese that have been here for many years when they were invited as guest workers for East Germany.

Prejudices happen everywhere - not jut the US or Germany. They're everywhere. They may be frowned upon by the majority but they still happen.

2:00 PM  
Blogger jane said...

i've done it in munich when the ticket machine would not take my money. but it always me nervous. once it happened with my family and they were so freaked out by it! had forgotten that! thanks.

4:27 PM  
Blogger The DP said...

Of course there is the murphy's law of how there will never be ticket checkers if you have an abonnement. I got what I call the "All Switzerland All The Time" pass and it took me almost seven months for a ticket checker to get on my bus.
Of course I am too much of a wuss to ride black and wouldn't you know the one time I did it, I got checked. I pled American tourist (lie, I lived there) and got out of it. Still feel guilty.

11:46 PM  
Blogger The Ripley Porch said...

While tempted on the 1000 times that I've ridden the bahn...I've yet to do it. I've seen 30 or 40 guys picked for no ticket. In Frankfurt, I've come to notice that most of the guys without tickets are foreigners...and they just act dumb about the whole the cops usually get called over.

6:45 PM  

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