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As part of Mayor Rudolph Giuliani's cleaning up of New York City, the police have been cracking down on much more minor offenses, so as to make the city more livable. The active prosecution of these so called "quality of life" offenses has been credited by some for the decrease in crime citywide.

Up until tonight, I agreed with the idea. Crime is indeed down. Then tonight, I got a ticket while riding a train home. As I left the train, 2 policemen cornered me on the train platform, told me I had committed a violation and filled out the forms. I looked at the summons. Under "description of criminal court offense" is written "occupying more than one seat".

Yes, on a 3/4 empty train in one of the safest parts of New York City (southern Staten Island), at close to midnight on a weekend, I took the law into my own hands. I propped my tired feet up on the next seat. Oh, the shame. I am a disgrace to my beloved city. Nevermind that the car had dozens of pieces of garbage on the floor and that old newspapers were thrown about other seats. My criminal act was deemed unacceptable. For this offense, I will have to go to criminal court on a Saturday morning in June and appear before a judge to plead guilty and pay a small fine ($20 I've been told).

I did not receive a warning before being confronted and ticketed. And it was 2 cops, not 1. I guess such horrible offenses require backup, in case I was to do something especially dastardly...like maybe spitting on the tracks.

A few other points here:

  • It's arguable that my butt was dirtier (from taking the subways and such all day) than my feet were. Maybe next time I should sit with my feet on the seat, and my butt on the floor.

  • By the reasoning of this summons, it's also illegal to put one's schoolbag or belongings on a neighboring seat. I should've checked to see if the friendly officers kept their books on their laps.

  • During the course of my subway/train travel today, I was subjected to screaming children running through the train car, people whose walkmans were too loud and thus gave me a headache, people who talked too loud, and people who didn't believe in using deodorant (among many others). All of these "offenses" are more bothersome to anyone than my horrible and obviously dangerous criminal act, yet went undisciplined.

I'm obviously a vicious, deranged and dangerous criminal. I should be hanged.

On the good side, this might make me eligible to teach in Yossarian's School of Badassary.


Updated 6/9/2001:The case of The People of The City of New York vs. Me was dismissed. The case took a total of 20 seconds. The judge asked if I had ever committed a crime before. I said no. She then asked me if I had fallen asleep. I said "no, I put my legs up and...". The district attorney interrupted "The city would like to drop the charges". The judge agreed. Case dismissed. I didn't even have to plead guilty or not guilty...it never even reached that point. I hope it funnels down to the cops, so they don't harrass anyone else for something as trivial as this...

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