West Seattle, Washington
From the WS Herald Letters to the Editor page: A sorry saga of human unkindness.
That’s disappointing. I was on a packed 120 when a young mother and her toddler came on board. The driver asked that we make sure they had a seat and didn’t leave until he saw someone make room for them.
I was on the 7:12 from the junction 55 a few days ago and I think I saw the same woman having to stand. I wasn’t near where she was standing, but I did see many young folks and commuter men sitting and no one even looking at her. (If we are preoccupied, then we can pretend that we didn’t see her)..I usually sit closer to the front, but this bus was jammed…if I see her in the future, I know I’ll make more of an effort to get up..kind of reminded me of the time in 1979 when I was on the number 7 Rainier and it was close to 90 out and I would give birth in about a week…the only one who offered me a seat was the old lady with a cane…I didn’t take it, but I always remember the incident. I think we should all take what she said to heart and be a little kinder on the bus (they are miserably full from West Seattle during commuter times)
To Beth and fellow West Seattle women. Although I do not ride the bus to work (due to the distance of my commute) I hope you do not think poorly of all WS men. I would not only give up my seat to a pregnant woman but to any woman or senior under similar circumstances.
I assume then that it wasn’t a WS man she used to get pregnant? or maybe it was and that’s part of the issue? I’m so confused.
Why didn’t she just ask? Bus passengers can’t read minds. There’s a frequent rider of the 56 bus who is slightly disabled – he needs the ramp to get on the bus – but then when on, he seems to PREFER to stand!
cry me a river. so a few people in the immediate vicinity didn’t offer you a seat?? What about everyone else on the bus? What about the other women on the bus? Apparently, the whole bus was full of rude people. And shame on the driver! How about next time you open your mouth instead of hiding behind the letters section of the WSH (it’s such a rag, they have stooped to printing rant letters – nice).
In this day and age, some women would be offended if they were offered anything. So, maybe you just needed to ask.
Bubba: My wife is pregnant and rides the bus not the 55 but the 22, but the issue is the same. This isn’t confusing, you be a man and show some civility and give up the seat. Not complicated. But we live in a selfish me first city so this is not surprising.
One thing I noticed on my trips to Canada is that men will give up their seat for a woman (or elderly person, disabled, etc.) Here in the states I don’t notice this happening as often. That being said, I know the lady who wrote the letter and maybe if she seemed a bit friendlier, someone might give up their seat for her.
I’m sorry that no one gave up their seat willingly, but I’m also tired of this passive aggressive nonsense – she could have easily have said something to someone that she needed a seat, either directly to the people near her or to the driver. I also wanted to point out that we can’t always make assumptions on the disability status of people sitting in those seats just by looking at them or by their age. I am not elderly but have disabilities and need to sit on the bus, but you would not know it to look at me. I have had people make assumptions that I was simply lazy and selfish and didn’t want to give up a seat. There are plenty of people with “hidden disabilities” out there.
I personally always give up a seat to a woman (pregnant or not) or an elderly person, but not everyone is like me. I’d have to fault the woman for not speaking up or asking someone if she could sit down. I find it humorous how we as a society clamour for equal rights for all classes and then get pissed off when they’re treated like everyone else. Think about it!
Women want equlity nowdays and well, they have to stan up on their own two feet now. Chivalry is a lost art form of kindness because women want equality. So, us men said screw chivalry and let them open up their own car doors or pull out their own seats etc…
I think anyone in this position, if they know they need to sit down, should ask the driver to help make sure they get a seat if they are really that concerned.
Sometimes it isn’t as obvious to others that someone is pregnant…some don’t show much and baggy clothes make it hard to tell a pregnant woman from just a chubby one (no offense).
Yes it would be nice if other people were more considerate, but if you make your way through the world expecting it, your gonna get pissed a lot.
What’s done is done and cannot be undone. Rather than getting all kinds of cranky with each other, I figure next time I ride the bus I’ll keep this in mind. I’ll be on the lookout for someone who might need a seat. And if I, at some point, need a seat on a crowded bus, I hope someone will offer. If no one does, I’ll ask for one.
What about you?
I’m surprised at this. I’m frequently offered a seat when the bus is full. I have some grey in my hair; maybe that makes a difference?
I’ve seen people refuse when offered a seat. The offerer then looks embarrassed for having mentioned it. Maybe they were afraid to offer.
I’m one of those guys that holds open doors for women. It’s something my parents taught me and I automatically, reflexively do it in any situation, even with strangers. 95% of the time the reaction is a smile and a “thank you,” but sometimes a lady will look a little put out or have this awkward, “oh, you don’t have to do that” look on their face as they make an exaggerated scoot through the door. Oh well, I’ll still do it. And I can’t imagine not offering my seat on the bus to a pregnant woman. But you see a lot of behavior on the bus, not just in West Seattle, that is hard to believe.
I do have a soft spot for elderly people on the bus,not pregnant women. It pisses me off that when an elderly person is struggling just to sit down. but before she can do that, the driver starts off without waiting to make sure that he/she is secure in their seat. I’ve seen it when elderly have fallen flat on their faces because the driver didn’t wait.
“Selfish me first city?” Try substituting “society” for “city,” and you’d be closer to the truth. If there’s a utpoia where this never happens, I’m guessing it’s in your imagination.
Seems like the comments fall into two camps, asking the following of their fellow readers:
1) If you can’t open your mouth and say something in the situation, does it reflect any better on you when you take out your pen or your keyboard and rant to the world about it?
2) On the other hand, is it so hard to look at another person and sense that they might have it harder than you do and accommodate them?
I kinda agree with both camps. And I understand why it’s easier to do nothing than something. How many of you make the decision to do nothing when panhandled, for instance? And that rection makes perfect sense – given the volume of panhandlers, you can’t make decent judgments whether what you’re seeing is a truly desperate situation.
Engaging with strangers on a bus can be risky – if you shout out to the world that you need help or if you ask someone if you can help them, you might just turn what you were hoping would be a boring, quick commute into a depressing conversation from which you have no escape. Situations in which I willingly engage already have the possibility of being depressing enough.
I completely hear you Beth. Somebody should have offered you a seat, but it is sexist of you to feel disgusted only about the men. You should feel equally disgusted with the women.
P.S. I am a man.
I’ll recant ny comments about pregnant women. Anyways, if the situation was that I was able to offer a pregnant woman a seat during peak hours when the bus was full, and she was standing beside me while I was sittng down, It probably would make me feel better that I did give up my seat to her since WS is only short trip from town. I guess I just don’t like it when women get pregnant and abuse the welfare system to their advantage. But that’s for a whole nother radio show on another day in itself.
I am a healthy woman, perfectly capable of standing for the duration of a short bus ride.
I don’t expect a man to give up his seat for me, but am pleasantly surprised if one offers to.
Maybe his day was worse than mine and he needs the seat more :)
How about instead of complaining that some women don’t want to have the door held for them/seats offered to them so we won’t do it anymore, we just extend common courtesy to anyone who needs it? I hold the door open for anyone who is walking behind me, male, female, transgendered, whatever, I don’t care, it’s the polite thing to do. Same with seats on a bus. If I see someone of any age or gender who looks like they might need a seet more than I do, I’ll get up and offer my seat to them.
I have had the experience of riding a crowded bus while pregnant and having no one offer me a seat. Yeah, it really doesn’t make you jump up and down with joy for humanity. On the other hand, normal pregnancy isn’t really a disability and I wasn’t expecting special treatment for it, so I didn’t let it bother me too much.
But, lest Beth give up hope on the people of WS entirely, I did have the experience of standing at a bus stop on a very cold day while obviously pregnant, and a complete stranger pulled up in her car and offered me a ride to wherever I was going so I wouldn’t have to wait in the cold anymore.
Maybe they should just rip all the seats out of the bus and make everyone stand.
just kiddin of course :-) (Don’t want that idea to get into the wrong hands)
Herongrrrl, I don’t know if your comments were directed at me but I was hardly complaining. I wouldn’t do it if it was something I would later complain about! My point was that “common courtesy” is so frequently *uncommon* that some people don’t even know how to accept or deal with it when it’s directed their way (as Katherine observed), let alone how to dole it themselves.
My guess is that Ms. Heritage could have just as easily written a “rant” about someone offending her Civil Liberties by assuming that because she was pregnant, she wanted to sit. It’s a tough world out there lady, and unless you learn to speak up, your gonna have some sore legs for the next 2 months. And pity the office that has to spend the next 8 hours with you.
I don’t know what the answer is .. if you don’t speak up, you are called passive aggressive. If you speak up, you risk getting shot or atleast a pissed off dirty look or accused of wanting special treatment. One thing I know for sure is Seattle is not as nice as it used to be 10 or 15 years ago. I think we are all just feeling more squeezed like rats in a cage subconciously and this is what it leads to.
Eh, I gotta disagree about the unfriendliness being blamed on city growth.
I’m from a small town in the Midwest that looks a lot like Mayberry. I go back quite a lot. Wal-mart (only grocery store in town) feels like the most oppressive, unfriendly environment you’d ever find. I leave there thankful of the smaller, friendlier scale of the WS Thriftway, for example. You even go to a restaurant or small shop back there, and no one seems very interested in helping you or even saying goodbye when you leave. Quite the opposite of the experience of going out in public in West Seattle, for instance.
I’ll also say that, for all its reputation for abrasiveness, I’ve sometimes been blown away by the friendliness of, say, Manhattanites. No, it’s not universal, but that makes it seem so much more genuine when you find it.
People are a reflection of who they are inside of them…
Thanks Joel and Jiggers, I thought we were pals .. What are you saying about me? :) Seriously though, I guess it’s time for me to do some searching.. can I borrow someones Michael Bolton CD? I’m a jerk in a lot of peoples minds, just take a look at the new holes I have been ripped on the most recent tear down to town home topic..
This does bring up something interesting that happened to me this week. I was in a store and a salesperson was making chit chat conversation with me. She was wearing maternity clothing and appeared to be about six months pregnant. As we talked, I said by the way, congratulations…she was not pregnant! Fortunately I was able to quickly back out of the subject and apply the ‘congratulations’ to something else; however, it made me think.
I would gladly get up for someone pregnant, older, disabled, juggling a toddler, whatever – but you cannot assume that someone else can tell if you are in need of the seat. Perhaps being a little assertive is called for because while I have no trouble giving up my seat, I will never again make the assumption that someone is pregnant.
Chet, never change who you are. Be yourself. life is not a popularity contest although it may be to some. But you can feel better about yourself by doing little things for others. It doesn’t take much to do something nice for someone else. And in time, you will see a personal change before you know it without putting on a second face. I am who I am and I don’t care what people think about me. I just try to do something positive for soembody else. It will definetly make you feel better. Volunteer programs are a good start. I volunteerd at a hospital helping out cancer patients for a little while and really learned a lot. It was too much though mentaly to handle after awhile.
Thanks Jiggers.. I wasn’t going to ever come back to this website .. don’t know if I ever will. I might look at news topics but certainly wont get involved in discussions.. it’s just too stressful to have an opinion, for me anyway. Guess I thought I would get some agreement on my opinions on density for example or atleast some constructive feedback/discussion but I guess I was asking for too much. My opinions are not ones I picked up from some crazy guy on the corner of 1st and Virginia.. they are all over mainstream media, NPR, newspapers, etc but some people just rip me new ones because it’s fun I guess. A common theme I have seen in the past on boards is flaming.. you could have 2 people who agree on the same thing but end up trading insults for days and days. It’s insane and just not worth it and I am kind of ashamed of myself for not knowing better.
Sorry, comment time is over.