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?