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Can I Have Your Seat? - Riffs and Licks
Can I Have Your Seat?
What would you do if a young and apparently healthy person asked you this on the train?
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From: (Anonymous) Date: September 16th, 2004 07:50 am (UTC) (Link)

On not asking when clearly in need

Ken, your question reminded me of an incident recently. I was lobbing a couple of bags and had settled into a little nook and looking forward to my Bed-Stuy destination. I looked up and noticed a young Latino M/F couple hanging onto the poles. The guy was muscled and thick and trim in all the right places...hints of a four-pack were in evident outline against the thin white T-shirt. The girl was willowy thin with a ponytail that elongated a sad face. She had circles under her eyes, eyes that kept watching him with much concern. I looked closer and saw that he held on to the pole but had his eyes closed. In between his costruction-booted, denim-clad legs he carried what looked like an institutional bag with a pillow stuffed inside. He also kept reaching toward his heart with his free hand. I stared at the girl and caught her eye. I mouthed a question to her: would he want to sit down. She nidged him and indicated my offer. He looked at her steadily...hard even, he looked at me and shook his head no, waved off the offer. She implored him with her eyes and her quiet voice. He wouldn't budge even tho by this time he looked about ready to faint. I insisted on the offer by simply vacating the seat, waiting close by so that someone else wouldn't take up residence. He came over, his eyes met mine and he said thank you very, very quietly. He sank into the seat...then put his head back against the window and closed his eyes. Standing close to the girl, I commented on how tough our world has been to our men, to all of us...this man couldn't see taking the seat even tho he was evidently in need. She and I had to tag team him into sitting down. I left the train after a few more stops. I was hopeful that whatever it was that ailed him would pass, that they would continue to strengthen each other. But more, I felt good that the structures of life in our painfully atomized city do still create these opportunities for some simple and very human exchanges. I said a little thank you to the forces that I wasn't spending my life in my own AC-ed transportation bubble belching gasoline exhaust into the environment and wrestling with fellow sojourners on some exurban freeway route. (Guess who...?) Sorry, I think I screwed up your formula here....
bad_bad_zoot From: bad_bad_zoot Date: September 18th, 2004 11:54 am (UTC) (Link)
What would I do? Well, he or she wouldn't be apparently healthy for long. This is the kind of dilemma that only hairless persons would dither about: if you want my seat you'll have to pry it from my cold, dead paws, to quote Moses.
steelbrassnwood From: steelbrassnwood Date: September 18th, 2004 11:55 am (UTC) (Link)
Ah, Zoot, we have sorely missed your perspective here. And the scars are mostly healed over from the last encounter, so welcome back!
bad_bad_zoot From: bad_bad_zoot Date: September 18th, 2004 11:57 am (UTC) (Link)
You call those scars? Man, you hardly had a limp at all.
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