Tuesday, May 1, 2012

A Rare Tuesday Rant

In the performance of a good action, we not only benefit ourselves,
but we confer a blessing upon others.

Philip Sydney

It's been awhile since I've had a good rant on here, so I guess it is about time to let off a bit of steam.  I've actually been ready to boil over now for awhile, ever since I began using my cane to help myself get to and from work. My body hurts. I know I've written about respect and the lack of subway etiquette  in the past, but it just never ceases to amaze me that people can be so thoughtless and crude. It used to be common courtesy to give your seat to an elderly, handicapped or pregnant woman, but that is no longer the case

Take Friday, for example.  The train was just pulling in as I reached the subway station in the morning.  When it pulled to a stop and the doors opened, a man brushed past me and went in first, taking the only available seat. Now, I'm standing there on a cane.  You'd think 'someone', especially those young enough to be my grandchildren would give me a seat.  That's a joke.  These high school students get on the train for free, yet not a one of them would offer an older lady with a cane a seat.  Makes you wonder what this world is coming to.  And, things are getting so crazy here on the city, one is afraid to ask someone to give up a seat.  Fistfights have started over silly things such as someone eating on the train. With my fragile health, if someone decides to give me a punch, that's the end of my job.

The previous day I had been lucky enough to get a seat at the next stop, but not because someone decided that courtesy was the best policy.  No, the man who had eyed my cane as I got on the train decided he was going to get his money's worth out of his seat.  Even though he was getting off at the next stop, he wasn't about to give up his seat. Then, when we reached the next stop, a woman boarded the train with her mother, a wee little old woman with deep wrinkles in her face and the whitest hair I ever saw.  

The little lady had to be close to 80, and it was obvious that it was hard for her to stand up with the jerking movements of the train. A young man seated across from me glanced up from his video game, then went right back to playing.  A woman seated next to me who was no older than her early 20's looked up and right at the woman for a moment,  but then buried her head in her book.  Up and down the aisle, people looked and pretended they hadn't seen. Others look and pretend that they don't see. You feel their eyes watching you balancing on your cane while holding the pole, but if you look their way, they immediately avert their eyes.  Probably because they believe if you catch their eye, they will have no choice but to give up their seat.  Well, to make a long story short,  guess who got up to give the lady a seat?  Yep, you got it. 'Twas me, the grandmotherly lady with a cane, and 'still' they didn't seem to get it.  

Don't get me wrong.  There is still some kindness to be found and usually it comes from the middle-aged women who, as soon as they see the cane, jump up and  insist that you take their seat. They are about the only ones who seem to care anymore.  In fact, I was speaking with a woman on the train the other morning.  We were discussing how there is so little respect for the elders anymore.  She asked me if I had ever heard of the   'never give up your seat group.' Is that sick or what? And, what does it say about the direction our world is heading. 

Indeed, I did manage to find some information about this nasty little campaign on the internet, and what I found really sickened me. Here's  a little sample of the way these sick ones think.

(A.) 'Young people are shouldering the burden of the entire society that old people live off of and deserve a few minutes' rest during their commutes.'--
Before you were in diapers, I and others like me were not only putting in a  hard day's work, but also took to the streets to fight for the freedoms you have now. Back then, all you smug young ladies who think you have 'earned' your seat, could only hold jobs as a secretary, a nurse, or a teacher.  These are definitely honorable careers, and I am not putting them down in the least.  What I am saying is that for today's young ladies the sky is the limit.  You can be just about whatever you want...a CEO, an astronaut, a bank executive.  And this is thanks to my generation, us older people who, as you so smugly put it, live off today's society. So, have I 'earned'  my seat?  You bet I have.

(B.) 'They,meaning older people, resent being labled too frail to stand, and don't take the seat you want to give them. -- I think it is actually quite rare that someone feels resentful over someone else showing some simple courtesy. True, the older person may 'not' want a seat, but the decent thing is not assume, but ask.

(C.) 'I work hard all day. I deserve to sit and read my book.'--Well, I've worked hard for 53 years.  I think I deserve a little respect.

(D.) 'Giving up seats is a privilege and purely voluntary. I'm entitled to sit as much as they are.' -- This one got me.  So what if they are old?  When I was your age I respected my elders.  When someone older than me got on the bus or the train, I immediately jumped up and offered my seat.  I didn't even ask.

(E.)  'So what if they are old.  I have pain too.'-- Yes, I understand that young people can have aches and pains just as us oldsters, but you have no idea what it is to live in constant pain, to stand there with searing pain shooting from your lower back right down your leg.

On subway car advertisements, a sign clearly illustrates that offering your seat to a pregnant, elderly, or disabled person is the right thing to do. Then there is the conductor over the loudspeaker, 'If an elderly, handicapped, or pregnant woman is standing near you, give up your seat . Courtesy is contagious, and it starts with you.' Does anyone listen? Sadly, no. Commuters simply just continue to be sleeping or pretending to listen to their MP3 or play games.

It is nothing more or less than kindness to offer your seat to someone elderly or disabled. One day, you will be old as well. It should be a human decency thing, where you rise and relinquish your seat to those who seem to need it most. Honoring our elders should be an important part of community. Thanks for letting me share.


  1. Kindness matters; common courtesy matters; unfortunately, many have never been taught this or about simple manners. It is another sad commentary on society.

  2. I agree. Selfish, disrespectful little bastards.

  3. tsk tsk tsk Sad comment to what things once were. I'm old enough to remember "those days." My mother's friends were Aunt? and Uncle ? so and so to us kids too. R E S P E C T !!!!
    THEIR DAY will come ( if they live long enough.)

  4. -sigh- You have hit the nail on the head, in more ways than one. Simple courtesy to older people. Do parents teach it, any more?

    Actually, is ANYONE teaching children, any more? Or are they growing up feral?

  5. I blame the parents of Gen Y'ers. They have been given EVERYTHING and truly do think the Universe is there exclusively for their every whim. I'm sorry you have to deal with these dolts on a daily basis. When I'm a sassy old 80 year old, you can bet those youngin's will hear about it.

  6. It is a sad commentary about today's societal values and morals. I often wonder who taught these children? Had I not relinquished a seat or been disrespectful in any manner my Mom or GrandMom would have pulled me up by my ear asking me 'where are your manners!' Of course I was taught to respect my Elders and do to this day.

    Disrespect in any form undermines all tribal systems and beliefs be it family, government, school, etc. I too have been the subject of disregard, disrespect and mostly in public places where someone will cut me off as I walk into a doorway going in somewhere, or in an aisle in the grocery store, etc. I never say anything but rather just shake my head in disbelief. I walk very slowly with my cane and when I am in a grocery cart on wheels (those battery powered carts) people more than not walk right in front of me and stop right there. I mean come on! They see I am on oxygen? Or do they? I often think they are blinded.
    Let's all pray for things like this to change...maybe we should take it to the schools, maybe they could help get the message of manners across as sadly parents aren't getting the job done! I'm so grateful I taught my children and grandchildren this sooo very important issue. But damn the little people who ignore an Elder...there days on this Earth will be difficult when they grow older. I'm just sayin'!!

  7. Greetings my friend! You know we were talking about how all of these electronic gadgets that are suppose to save time for everyone and be so good for us. REALLY?!? I think that all of these gadgets need to be turned off, no one knows how to inner act with live in person human beings. It is easier to act like we are "busy" doing something. No one makes eye contact or says hello any more. No one has to use their manners or be polite. How many conversations have you heard lately? People are so caught up in their gadgets that they will fall on their face texting while walking and get upset when people laugh. YES! I laugh at them! How sad is it that you are so damn important that you can't stop texting someone. How crazy is it that your ears are full of your MP3 while texting and you walk into the back of a parked car? Yes I did laugh at her too. It's not just the kids doing it, the lady that walked into the back of a parked car had to be at least 35. Why are the parents allowing this to go on and not making the kids interact with others? Is this where we really want to be? Never communicating with others other than to text them? There is NO excuse for rudeness none! However, when you allow it from your children you are just as much at fault, shame on you! A lot is a lack of parenting,I don't want to hear that parents are busy working and whatever. Parents have been working for decades, it is just a matter of letting the gadgets babysit their children. I miss the way things use to be, human interaction. And Mary, I and anyone of my children would give you their seat. I am sorry that you and other are having to go through this everyday. I want to wish you and your family a beautiful and very blessed Beltane!

  8. Anderson Cooper is talking about rudeness today and i agree with him about the influence of realty TV and people are online a lot more...not having these interpersonal relationships.

  9. Oh Mary.....I'm pretty sure "Civility" has flown the coop.

    BTW......I have a blow up cast that I used to wear when I broke my ankle ....actually....I have used it on several occasions....would you like to borrow it to see if you have any better luck. LOL LOL LOL

    Have a sweet day sweet lady,