Sunday, October 29, 2006

Excuse me, was that Kindness???

So, I was on the bus the other day, traveling from the east to the western side of Central Park so I could go to rehearsal on the west side of midtown Manhattan. The buses can sometimes get crowded, and there are signs posted around the bus reminding us that if all seats are filled and a pregnant, disabled or elderly person gets on board, we should offer our seats to them. Luckily, I had a seat, but I always keep an eye out to see if anyone needs to sit, particularly if I am coming close to my stop. One stop invited a large amount of people onboard, and when an older woman with a shopping bag stood in front of me, I decided to offer her my seat. She declined at first, but when I let her know that my stop was coming up anyway, she took the opportunity to take the weight off her feet.

As soon as she sat down, she started talking to the man next to her, who appeared to be close to her age. I try not to listen but, as she is so close, I couldn’t help but hear her conversation. I suddenly tune in to exactly what she is saying... “I am so tired of people thinking that I am elderly. I’m only only 50 years old! People don’t need to give up their seat to me, but they keep offering. Do I look old?” she impatiently asks the gentleman. He says no and laughs, telling her that he gets the same thing and she should just enjoy it. She continues to complain, and I am thinking, “Hello... I am right here! And you are complaining as though I am not standing 6 inches away from you.”

So this has gotten me a little frazzled. I mean, is it or is it not a courtesy to give up your seat for someone? Does it matter why I am giving it up? Should I just get up and not tell the person I am doing it for them? Must I hide these niceties for fear of offending someone? Or should I just blankly stare out the window and not care who may need my seat? Maybe I need to have an “age-o-meter” handy so I can tell precisely who needs a seat and who doesn’t:

“This says you are only 69- sorry, you’re not old enough to be considered elderly.”
“Sorry, you may have diabetes and be losing your hair, but that wouldn’t get you a disabled placard and you won’t be getting my seat.”
“Oh, you are 80, on oxygen, and have hip dysplasia? Ok, sit right down!”

So many details to consider, when I would rather just be playing sudoku.

1 comment:

  1. A comment from my friend, Uberbaud:

    As a youth, Scott, a friend of mine, went to dinner with his family and held the door for them and for a woman who was coming in right after them.

    As she was about to go through the door, the woman said to Scott, "I hope you're not holding that door open for me because I'm a woman." to which he replied, "No, I'm holding it open because I'm a gentleman."

    It's a very self-centered person who believes that someone else's actions -- especially acts of kindness -- are only reflections on themselves and not on the person doing the kindness. That's why you should carry a Taser and learn them folks some manners.


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