Sunday, August 31, 2008

home, one day early

i got on the first car, knowing it would be the closest to the turnstiles when i reached my stop. a man was standing, staring intently out the front window the train, his cart of luggage behind and to his right. as the train accelerated, i noticed the locked wheels of the cart sliding reluctantly against the mottled blue floor. i wondered if i should say something to the man - 'you know, your cart is actually moving. the wheels won't turn, but it can still slide.' i imagined him arguing back, thought of providing some retort about friction and how it wasn't enough, in this case, to keep something from moving even when it's barred from moving easily. the wheels, the cart, its progress along the floor became a matter of great interest. at one point, i leaned accidentally against it, presumably releasing the brake, for this sluggish friction-bound object suddenly moved several inches away from me, as if my slight brush against its handle was powerful and decisive, clearing the grey-wheeled infringer out of my path. somewhere in this drawn-out examination of my situation, i realized my hypocrisy. my own luggage, two decidedly non-wheeled bags, were lying on the floor, their coefficient of friction assumedly much lower than that of the creeping cart.

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