In an effort to fuel my blogging momentum, I shall now share a brief New York tale for the “What is WRONG With People?!” files. This morning, in a rare moment of mass transportation luck, I was able to get a solo seat on the 86th Street crosstown bus. This is highly unusual, as the bus is often jam-packed during rush hour. Furthermore, it was a particular blessing today, because I was feeling a bit self-loathing and it meant that the unfairly gorgeous Israeli girl I see every time I ride that bus – the one with the unfairly perfect body and unfairly ginormous Tiffany engagement ring – would be out of my line of vision. I could pretend that my jeans were not ridiculously tight and that my under-eye circles did not really make me look like I had recently used a Sharpie to craft decorative half-moons on my face.
Somewhere after Second Avenue, a woman began invading my personal space as she stood in the aisle, freakishly close to my seat. There was no real reason she needed to do that, but people are odd, so I didn’t think that much of it. She wasn’t old – I’m guessing mid-50s – and had no obvious physical handicaps, and I didn’t think to offer her my seat. I fully admit that this might have been rude, but it was not deliberate – I truly just didn’t think to do it, for whatever reason.
About a nanosecond after I realized she was giving me the evil eye and that I probably should have offered her my seat, I heard a very cute little boy – approximately three and toting a sandwich bag full of toy trucks – tell his nanny that he was quite tired and wished he could sit down. Again, I’m not sure why, but I did tell the little boy he could have my seat since I was getting off at the next stop. He thanked me in the kind of voice I’d give one of my stuffed animals and I knew it was the right thing to do.
But before I could even stand fully upright, the space invader dove into the seat with incredible speed, knocking me off balance and mortifying everyone who saw what happened. She’d heard me tell the little boy he could have the seat. She could SEE that he was just a little boy! She literally stole the seat from him. The surrounding bus riders all called her names and conveyed their disdain for her action. I couldn’t bring myself to look at her face, because I feared she’d say something really mean and my whole day would be ruined. Mostly, I just felt bad for the little boy, who probably didn’t understand why I’d told him he could sit down when in fact, he could not.
“Don’t worry. You’ll get an even better seat in a minute,” I said, and then was very happy when a man much older than the space invader stood up and instructed the little boy to take his newly vacated spot. I continued to feel appalled for the duration of my subway ride downtown to 23rd Street. I snapped out of it only when my boss called to tell me he was picking up Krispy Kremes for our impending trade show meeting.
Unreal. What is WRONG with people?