Tuesday, November 11, 2008
This morning I managed to catch the early train early enough to make my way down to the front half, pick a carriage at random and choose a seat. I had a block of six to myself. I always choose a seat on the end; I hate sitting next to the heater and I hate being at the mercy of people who don't think about getting up at Charing Cross until the train has come to a complete stop.
After a while the train left Orpington and the block of six began to fill up. The last place taken by a man getting on at Elmstead Woods. At Grove Park a woman and a small boy got on and walked past my seat to stand at the end of the carriage.
Had I been able to make eye contact with the woman I would have offered my seat but I couldn't and gave up on the idea. The woman across the aisle from me got the boy's attention and offered him her seat. I couldn't do that. It would be a no-no for a man.
While I was going through an internal dialogue wondering if I should offer my seat to the woman so that she could sit opposite her son, it turned out that the man sitting next to me knew the woman and they struck up a conversation. It also turned out that he fancied her as he rather rudely splayed his legs like he was an oven-ready chicken.
Logically it would have made sense for me to give up my seat but the legs and the way the man leant across me to chat to the boy made me stubborn. I didn't want to do anything to help him.
The woman was able to keep her eye on the son at all times from where she was standing (in fact better than if she was sitting in my seat and chatting with the man) and she was not pregnant. Had she been I would have offered the seat.
I felt very uncomfortable, however. Actually I think I was made to feel uncomfortable.
Should I have offered my seat?
Your conscience may rest in peace.
He would have had trouble putting his legs back together in any case.