Friday, August 26, 2011

Oh Dear

In one way we have done much better in 2011. We haven't had all the breakdowns at the Highrise we had in 2010. But personally I feel it is not my year. I must have mega aged.

A couple of months ago, R sat next to a woman on a tram. We were clearly together. 'Would you like my seat?', the woman asked me. I looked over my left shoulder and right shoulder. Nope, it was clear she was speaking to me. 'I'm fine thanks', I replied. 'You sure? I have been sitting in lectures all day and I am getting off in a couple of stops.'

Err, was that someone offering an older person a seat on public transport? I consoled myself with she was a person in her thirties and still going to uni lectures and just wanted a bit of social interaction with sensible down to earth people. And interact we did before she left the tram.

A couple of weeks later a co-worker who I don't speak to for reasons in the past, but he keeps trying to engage me, said 'How old are you? 63? When are you going to retire?' FYI, I am nearly 54. Ouch, that hurts to see it written in ink. He was deliberately being nasty.

Last week we got on a tram and there was one vacant seat. R is suffering from a cold. Instead of grabbing the seat for myself, I suggested he sit, which he did. 'Would you like a seat?', said a voice. Who? Me? Yes, it was me she was speaking too. 'I'm Fine thanks', and I smiled at her with a kindly elderly person look, while I felt like smacking her in the face. 'Can't you see I am only 25 you stupid child.' The man sitting next to R left the tram and I sat and then an old woman got on the tram and I felt compelled to give her my seat.

And then there was the incident at the Otway Fly before we went to Adelaide. R requested a Senior's price admittance, to which he is entitled, and it was automatically assumed I was a Senior too, and also entitled. I should have kept my gob shut, paid the lower price and shuffled away.

There is a certain smugness you feel when you get older as you start to relax into your older years. While clearly I don't feel entirely comfortable with it, I am going to take full advantage of it.

Off to practice my glare at school kids look to shame them into giving me a seat.


  1. You must live in a rather civilized city Andrew because back in SF you would never see that happen--anyone give up their seat. It's a dog eat dog world over here. Even when I'm crippled with arthritis flare-ups, people just stare here in Oklahoma. That is so nice, even if you're not quite a senior yet, that they offered you a seat!

  2. Michael12:42 pm

    Don't be daft - your best years are ahead of you - and there's been such a fuss over giving up seats for 'older/handicapped/pregnant' people (whatever that means to whoever at the moment) that the train people have to designate 'special' seats, resulting in less for the 'normal' people here in Singapore. As it is, people have taken to the nasty habit of taking camphone pics of 'nasties' who fall asleep or do not give up their seats for the abovementioned 'special' people and posting them up on a equally nasty 'citizen journalism' website (the singapore equivalent of the Hearald Sun) to name and shame them.

  3. Linda, many would argue that it is not so civilised here, but I find generally, younger people do give up the seats for older people. I guess the trouble with arthritis is, that it is not necessarily so visible.

    Michael, I am glad you said 'nasty habit'. I don't like that sort of thing myself, but I fear we will see a lot more of it. Someone who has fallen asleep is just not fair game. In my experience, give someone a little nudge and they will respond. Quite fun if they are hot looking.

  4. Andrew, one of the sweet young things at the swimming pool must have decided I was a 'senior' and I got quite a few concession ticket renewals before I realised the price in fact hadn't gone down, but I had been 'reclassified'!!! And FYI, that dreaded '54'- I reached it already early in the past week....

  5. Hello Andrew:
    But just think, whatever, what a joy it is no longer to be sixteen with all the trials and problems associated with youth. And free bus travel can be rather fun!!

  6. I get that all the time, being gray-haired and a bit balding. Sitting is not the problem, getting up is, so I preffer to stand. [and hope in the mean time that the driver doesn't think he needs to race just to be on time for the next stop]

  7. LOL Good luck with that glare, schoolkids have no shame.

  8. It is so rare nowadays for people do to nice things for strangers, I reckon you should take up their offer as a form of positive reinforcement.

  9. Well I am 62 and I have zero haircuts so that at times my head is as bald as Yul Brynner's and I am yet to be offered a seat on public transport. My virtuous innocence must make me look younger.

    On the other hand a friend who is several years older than I am was accosted in her workplace by a young whippersnapper who demanded to know 'why are you still working here'!

  10. Ha ha! I want to see your glare! I think when I get older I will get a walking stick, not to prop myself up but to use as an extra limb, opening things with it etc!

  11. Maybe you need a badge - 'I'm not a senior - do you see me drooling?' - or similar!! I'm in the same situation as you with the senior's discount - it was embarrassing the 1st time, but now I just count the savings. Which can be considerable ...

    And the only time school kiddies stood up for me was when I was dressed to go see 'The Rocky Horror Show'. They weren't shamed into giving up their seats - they were SCARED!

  12. Yep KN. Best we forget our dignity and just accept the cheaper price.

    Oh JayLa. The free bus pass. We don't get that here but Senior's travel is cheap. You are right. I don't want to be young again. It was hard enough the first time.

    Peter, from my memory, Amsterdam tram drivers do move their vehicles along at quite a pace. Make sure you hang on.

    Jayne, it might be the areas I move in, but I find the kids pretty polite.

    AdRad, advice noted, but I really don't see this lack of kindness thing generally.

    Victor, how often do you catch public transport! Your friend should have retorted, 'to pick up the pieces when you kids fuck up'.

    Fen, older people with sticks can be quite fearsome. You never know. They can turn like a mongrel dog and whack with their stick.

    Red, dare I ask which character you were dressed as?

  13. Why Andrew I catch public transport at least a couple of times each week. That pensioner excursion $2.50 day ticket is one of the perks of being a senior.


  14. Andrew, you should see the bus drivers, if they have to do a course on some F1 circuit.

  15. I stand corrected Victor, as I knew I would be.

    Ah Peter, rather like Sydney bus drivers. I rather like their full speed take offs.

  16. Just stumbled across your blog :-)

    Interesting... I would have thought recently being a very exhausted pregnant woman people would perhaps offer me a seat on the local trains here (especially the young and/or fit ones sitting in the special seats!) but alas no. Neither did anyone ask if I was ok when someone pushed my 8 month belly into the corner of the counter in the crush at the shopping centre - everyone wanted to see the bread! OMG the pain. I had to go sit down. I was sitting there crying rubbing my tummy while about a million people walked past...I had to phone my man to take me to hospital. Baby was ok luckily but I needed an injection of something and stomach had massive bruising ...anyway has worked out all ok now). I must say after that my faith in the general kindness of people has been a bit shaken. I'm glad to hear older people do get offered seats in the east. I will always offer mine but I try to offer it to people who look like they need it rather than just an older person per se or you risk offending!

    I'm bookmarking your blog!

    Best wishes


  17. Hi Cate, sorry for the delay. You comment went to the spam folder. It seems pretty random to be offered a seat. I suspect some people just don't think or are away the fairies. Pleased to hear there was no long lasting damage.