I blame New York City
Of the dozens of everyday moral choices we make, few are more poignant than this: the decision whether or not to reach for the elevator’s “door open” button. It takes a hardened heart to watch a hapless office worker run towards you through a narrowing stainless-steel frame without reaching for that button — or does it? This morning, three people — myself and two others — stood at the back of the elevator car, staring blankly at the stockbroker jog-trotting towards the closing door with a mute plea in his eyes. We didn’t do anything; just stood there as the opening narrowed to a slit, then closed completely inches from the lapels on his Today’s Man jacket. And the other people in the elevator were not-for-profit staffers; one was carrying a guitar, for Christ’s sake! If they weren’t the kind of people who would lunge for the button, who would? What horrible miscarriage of human compassion was this?
I blame the city. If New York City specializes in one thing, it’s that kind of hardening — witness this horrifying downward spiral captured through a series of twelve consecutive mug shots.