Taking public transportation while pregnant has often felt like one giant social experiment.
The biggest observation, of course, is that people rarely look up while riding the bus or metro when others are boarding. It’s a head-down mentality, and the cynic in me has interpreted it as: if I don’t look, then I won’t see someone who needs my seat, and then I won’t have to get up.
It’s not personal, it just is.
Of course, there are the rare gems who either a) offer seats immediately or b) (and even more rare) make eye contact from across the car to give up their seat. (To the woman who did that, you might actually be one in a million.)
Overall, though, women have offered more seats than men have, and older women have offered more often than younger women.
But, naturally, I’d still rather go for an already empty seat, rather than take one from someone else. Which is what I tried to do yesterday on the commute home.
The train is always so crowded in the evening, that I was thrilled when I peered through the metro doors and saw one front seat open and available. As I moved toward it, the 40-something-year-old man sitting in the adjacent seat stood up, and I assumed that he just didn’t want to move over to the window, that he preferred the aisle. No big deal.
I made a move to slide into the window seat, perfectly happy to accommodate, and he blocked me.
He physically stood in my way, arms spread wide, and prevented me from sitting down – so that his buddy could step around me (no easy feat) and take the seat.
I looked at both of them in disbelief, said something eloquent along the lines of, “Seriously?” and proceeded halfway down the car where I managed to find the only other seat still available.
I’d like to think that if there hadn’t been one seat left, the men may have reacted differently. But, given the blocking, I doubt it.
I wish I could say I’d been the bigger person (aside from just my current roundness), but when we ended up all getting off at the same stop and they tried to cut in front of me, I may have thrown my elbows out wide and done some blocking of my own.
And honestly? I don’t feel too bad about that.