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Psyched out on the bus

By Madam Cholet - 24 April 2012 55

I had to share the experience I had on the bus this morning….it’s a first world type of problem and I seek your forgiveness in advance for even bringing it up.

There I was, on the number 111 on my way to work. Just approaching Woden town centre, about two or three stops away when we stopped to pick up some more passengers. Minding my own business, sitting close to the back door in a normal forward facing seat – not one of the extra room seats. Not paying much attention as to who got on but seconds later was alerted to someone standing right infront of me….seemed a bit odd as I wasn’t aware of the bus being so full, so I looked up to meet the eyes of my newest travelling companion.

This is were it got weirder. My new travelling companion, (a youngish looking & decently dressed woman, obviously on her way to work), just stared at me….no problem, thought I, and I moved my gaze down again and promptly notice that she was pregnant. Looked up again into the still unblinking eyes of my newest companion and said “oh, right, ok, you want to sit down…”….no response still. I stood up…still staring, still no response, not a thank you…and moved to stand by the back door. As I stood up I caught the gaze of another passenger who was giving me a “WTF is going on?” sort of look. I gave one back.

Managed to get a seat as the strange pregnant lady got off a few stops later and was told by my new neighbour that it was one of the weirdest things they’d ever seen.

Anyway, after my strange non-verbal confrontation with weird pregnant lady, I just had a quick look at the Action website to see what they say about giving up your seat. It says “we request…” when referring to giving up your seat. I have to say that I was quite miffed at the way that she went about “asking” for the seat, and spent the rest of the journey considering what I could have said to her. I’ve been there and done that pregnancy wise and no one, not one person got up to give me a seat, and you know what, I didn’t mind. I had people climb over me on planes and experienced security officers watch me haul heavy baggage onto their table for checking when going through airports. Not to say that they were right, and not to say that I should not have given up my seat today – which I always do if I see someone who is more in need than I.

But what’s the etiquette? Is it right to stare somone out so they are psyched out enough to move? Should you be allowed to target which seat you want, and BTW there were some of the folding seats available nearer the front of the bus.

What’s Your opinion?


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Psyched out on the bus
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Katietonia 2:12 pm 03 May 12

I’ve been on buses before where people have got on with broken legs and I’ve had to give them my seat at the back of the bus because noone else would. That said, staring at someone creepily is not the best way to go about getting a chair ffs.

Monomyth 3:52 pm 29 Apr 12

At the end of the day, there is no official, ENFORCEABLE etiquette I waa bought up to give up my seat. I find elderly men get a bit embarassed because a woman is giving up her seat for him, but it’s only skin off my nose when im on a bus full of school kids or someone else who is fully capable of giving up their seat. And it’s not that they rudely decline, it’s that the thought doesn’t cross their minds in the first place. That’s the sad bit.

Postalgeek 2:22 pm 26 Apr 12

Of course it could’ve just been a novice Reptoid field agent, still getting a feel for their new skin.

Madam Cholet 1:21 pm 26 Apr 12

ML-585 said :

and BTW there were some of the folding seats available nearer the front of the bus.

It’s a common misconception that the “folding seats” are Priority Seats for elderly, disabled & expectant mothers – since those seats must be vacated for wheelchair passengers, they are best used by able-bodied passengers. The Priority Seats are located one or two rows behind the folding seats (depending on the layout of the bus).

sitting close to the back door in a normal forward facing seat – you may have actually been sitting in the Priority Seats and not been aware of it!

If the bus is full, I don’t think it should be the people in the so called “priority seats” that have the only obligation to get up. It’s respect for other individuals and their unique situations that should be the motivator for anyone to pay an act of kindness. Facts are, there were seats available before she got to me and she chose to exert what she feels is a right to another one. I would argue that the right did not actually exist.

Just thought it was odd.

ML-585 12:41 pm 26 Apr 12

and BTW there were some of the folding seats available nearer the front of the bus.

It’s a common misconception that the “folding seats” are Priority Seats for elderly, disabled & expectant mothers – since those seats must be vacated for wheelchair passengers, they are best used by able-bodied passengers. The Priority Seats are located one or two rows behind the folding seats (depending on the layout of the bus).

sitting close to the back door in a normal forward facing seat – you may have actually been sitting in the Priority Seats and not been aware of it!

JazzyJess 11:10 am 26 Apr 12

Comic_and_Gamer_Nerd said :

Pregnant women are fully capable. They do not need anyone to give up seats for them.
Also, what a creepy way to get a seat.

Oh yes they do, especially in the final trimester.

deejay 10:04 am 26 Apr 12

I’m enjoying everyone talking about these things as “first world problems”, too. It puts it in perspective, but I think the more first world problems we solve the more first world we become.

Thank you. This is the nicest way I’ve heard it expressed. I’m rather sick of hearing the “first world problems” line trotted out like we have to be all unicorns and sunshine just because we have a roof over our head and food in our bellies. Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful for that (especially after several years on the wrong side of the poverty line), but for a society that proclaims money doesn’t buy happiness, we seem to spend a lot of time telling people who have money that they have no right to be annoyed, frustrated, or discontent.

TheDancingDjinn 12:58 am 26 Apr 12

cynical_rendering said :

she should have used contraception…

Please make sure someone informs you mother that she should have done the same thing, or at least tell your father he should have shot you to the sheets.

What the pregnant fool did was ridiculous, and I personally would have made an ass of her, I would have then let her have my seat, I’ve been pregnant it can be hard on some. But I wouldn’t have let her have it without telling her she was an ass.

cynical_rendering 11:09 pm 25 Apr 12

she should have used contraception…

Dacquiri 10:41 pm 25 Apr 12

I’ve been riding ACTION buses for about a year now and have noticed that when it’s appropriate to offer a seat to a standing passenger (an elderly person, etc.), it is invariably a middle-aged female who makes the offer, never a male.

threepaws 9:04 pm 25 Apr 12

trevar said :

And as for the seat, just as many people would be offended by having a seat offered to them as would actually expect it. I would probably be like you, minding my own business until someone or something brought my attention to the people around me and how I might be kind to them. I don’t just stand up on public transport for anyone, but I often ask people—whether elderly or pregnant or just looking a little tired—if they would like my seat. About half of those I ask say yes, and then I stand for them. I think this is a better kind of etiquette than simply making assumptions about what another person might experience as kindness, which often causes offence instead.

Some good points about general courtesy have been made on this thread.

I agree that the above tactic, that simply asking is a good option. If someone really needs the seat they will say yes. Some people may really need to sit down for whatever reason (their reason may not be obvious), so if you spy someone, anyone, that looks uncomfortable, why not just ask?

I only utilised public transport a few times throughout my pregnancy, and the time when I most needed a seat was well before I looked like I had a basketball strapped to my front. I was a bit queasy, a little unbalanced, extremely tired, loosely jointed, and pretty clumsy. It was hard for me to ask for a seat based on pregnancy given that it wasn’t so obvious. I often took to caressing my belly if I needed a seat, so that people would twig that I was pregnant, not just porky.

When I did have a basketball strapped to my front, I would see men’s eyes darting about nervously – Do I offer her my seat? Why doesn’t that guy offer her a seat? Why should I? Should I? What happens if I don’t? It’s my seat. Does she need a seat? She might yell at me.

I almost felt like announcing to the bus “I’M HAPPY STANDING” just to put these poor guys out of their misery.

p1 7:45 pm 25 Apr 12

Someonesmother said :

I have always found when dealing with children that the phrase, ‘use your words’, is a valuable learning tool in teaching the young ones to communicate effectively. Perhaps her parents didn’t know this technique.

+1 for “use your words” to in articulate nutjobs.

Everytime I think about some of the juvenile delinquents I meet I feel slightly angry at the 30-60 year olds who raised them that way and now whine about it.

Jethro 7:30 pm 25 Apr 12

I-filed said :

Things have come to a pretty pass in Canberra society if whether a bus seat should be given up for a pregnant woman is subject to a debate!

Well… 42 comments in it seems it is a matter for debate..

For my part… those of you who think a pregnant woman doesn’t deserve some consideration on a bus…. You’re selfish turds.

nazasaurus 6:40 pm 25 Apr 12

ACTION Buses are mobile psychiatric wards

scorpio63 6:08 pm 25 Apr 12

Your whole story Madam Cholet says more about you and your kindness – dont worry about the woman’s reaction. Few people will offer her a seat next time if she stares rudely and expectantly at them. The mum to be will quickly realise that her attitude wont benefit her in the least.

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