So every Friday morning the son and I have breakfast before he’s dropped off at school.
It’s a fun ritual—we pick a place, sit down for pancakes and eggs while playing cards. He usually kicks my ass in Gin Rummy, but that’s OK. It’s together time, and we talk about robotics (his passion), writing (mine), sports, politics, the world.
After leaving the restaurant, we head to his school. There’s always a decent amount of traffic, and at one point—roughly, oh, 300 yards form the drop-off point—one has a choice to make. If he continues straight, he follows a to-a-crawl path of other vehicles, all also depositing their children at school. And if he turns right, he can skip the line via a shortcut that bypasses all the others and places you at the front of the line.
So, again, one can go straight …
Or turn right and cut.
Whenever I’m sitting there, tempted to swerve and bolt ahead, I think back to my ninth grade high school trip to Washington, D.C. My class of about 300 kids was having lunch at a Luby’s Cafeteria, and the line was l-o-n-g. I was standing there, hungry and tired, when I spotted a bunch of the “cool” kids stepping in and cutting. I was too big of a cowardly dweeb to say anything, but I was dumbfounded by the wrongness of it all. By the nerve. Why were these assholes any more important than me or John Messina or Jessica Stein or Ed Schmidt. Who were they to do such a thing.
So, in 2019, I never cut. Never.
Not when we’re late.
Not when I have a ton of work.
But, amazingly, so many people do. Maybe they justify the move, or perhaps they simply don’t care. But they cut, and I’m reminded that humanity routinely disappoints, and that for some it takes work to do the right thing.