Sunday, April 27, 2014

First Man Standing

I thought I was hearing things.

I was sitting in my nice, comfy seat on the X27 bus Friday morning, all set to slip into my commuting coma.

This is a blissful state of mind where I daydream, meditate and enjoy the occasional X-rated fantasy. And by “occasional,” of course, I mean “non-stop.”

I was just about to step off into the abyss when a young woman got on the bus at 65th Street and stood right over me.

I expected her to keep going until she found a seat when I realized that there probably were no seats left.

I paused for just a moment before I looked up at her.

“Would you like to sit down?” I asked.

I’ve done this many times before. On each and every occasion the woman in question says “no, thank you,” and I cheerfully remain on my keester with a clear conscience.

Only things were a little different this morning. Instead of saying “no, thank you,” this young lady said, “oh, thank you.”

Oh, as in “oh, you mean you really want me to give you my seat?”

Yes, that’s what exactly what she meant. Stunned at this shocking turn of events, I somehow managed to pry my tortured tuchas out of that beautiful chair and step aside so the woman could sit down.

I looked down the length of the bus just to make sure there were no other seats, but no such luck.

“Full boat,” I muttered.

I was the only one in the bus standing up and I could feel all these eyeballs aiming at me. As someone who loathes being the center of attention, I was ready to go full-on fetal right there in the aisle.

Get On Up

But I calmed down and saw that I stood out because I was doing the right thing. Helping someone is often physically uncomfortable, which is why sitting on your butt is so tempting.

As we drove along, I imagined how I would behaved in I had not gotten up.

I’m sure I would’ve feigned sleep or buried my beak in the Times, while stewing in useless guilt and concocting all sorts of lame-ass excuses as to why I shouldn’t get up.

I’m older than she is. I’ve got a bad back. Why can’t any of the other men on this bus offer her their seat?

Jesus, I’d rather ride on top of the bus than suffer through such a self-centered soliloquy.

No, damn it, I was going to stand tall. My mother would’ve wanted me to give up my seat and knowing that I was honoring her memory had me floating through the clouds.

The bus moved into the HOV land on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and I felt like a surfer taking on the Pipeline in Oahu.

Hell, I sit at my desk all day; it wouldn’t kill me to stand up for a 25-minute ride to the office.

The bus got into the city in no time and as we came out of the tunnel my internal jukebox was cranking out “On Top of the World” by Imagine Dragons.

I’ve had the highest mountains, I’ve had the deepest rivers. You can have it all but life keeps moving. I take it in, but don’t look down…

Now it’s important not to overstate things here. I only offered my seat to a lady. I didn’t throw myself on a live grenade or take out a terrorist cell with a penknife.

But since I seem to dedicate an awful lot of time to self-abuse, it felt nice give myself a pat of the back.

I grabbed an empty seat at Battery Park, the first stop in the city. The young lady got off at Rector Street and walked right by me without looking in my direction.

It would have been nice if she had smiled or wished me a good day, but I didn’t mind. Virtue really is its own reward. I knew that a very special lady up in Heaven was quite proud of me and I was on top of the world.


Ron said...

"Virtue really is its own reward. I knew that a very special lady up in Heaven was quite proud of me and I was on top of the world."

*patting you on the back*

You are absolutely right, Rob, virtue is its own reward and your mother was proud of you!

It amazes me though how many times I'll open a door for a lady or a gentleman, or offer to give them my seat if I'm sitting in coffee shop and can see that they need to sit down because there are two people that need a table, and will get no thank you or even a smile.

It use to really piss me off, but then I thought, "Do it anyway Ron...just to do it."

Great post, buddy! And hey, I love that vintage photo of the bus!!

Have a super week!

Rob K said...

Hey, Ron, how's it going?

Yes, there are some people who think they're just entitled to anything they can get it.

But you're right to adopt the "just do it" approach. And other people will show their gratitude, which is the best feeling of all.

Take care, buddy!

Bijoux said...

Don't you wonder why she seemed to pinpoint you? As a woman, I wouldn't expect anyone to give up their seat. I'd rather stand, honestly, as I'd be feeling guilty, unless I was pregnant or had a broken limb.

Rob K said...

Hey, Bijoux! Now that's an interesting point. Maybe she was playing me.

But, heck, I'm willing to give her the benefit of the doubt. It didn't cost me anything and I felt good about it all that morning.

Take care!

v said...

thanks nice of you rob. i always have to remind myself that if i'm going to do something nice for someone, don't expect a thank you. if they do however say thank you, it's even better. you do nice things for people because you are a nice person.

Rob K said...

Hey, Val, thank you so much! That's such a lovely thing to say.

You're a very nice person yourself and I'm so glad I know you!

Take care!

Anonymous said...

This is very sweet Rob! The thing that I am confused at is why she stood over you. Its like she pegged you as someone who would stand so she bullied you into it. That is not cool! I would never do that! Nor would I accept a seat if it was offered but still. Strange lady you ran into my friend.

Rob K said...

Hi, Shae! You know, I think this lady was legit. Or maybe I just choose to think that.

She was actually closer to a man across the aisle and I honestly didn't feel pressured. I didn't feel pressured by her, seriously. I just felt like giving her my seat.

Take care!