Monday, October 3, 2011

JUST LET IT GO

The other day, something happened on the bus that made me sad.

Now,  if you're about to click out of this page because you saw the word "sad," remember that your visit has already been recorded in my stats, which is mainly what I care about.  So you might as well stick around and read it.

One of the things I enjoy about the bus is that it gives me an opportunity to be a good neighbor.  I'm not always in the mood to be, but I at least get to practice my good-neighboring skills.  Unfortunately, not everyone feels the same way.

On the day in question, I was placidly riding the 21.  I like the 21.  It's one of my favorite routes.  I would compare it to a route in Utah County that I like, but none of the routes in Utah County are like the 21, and even if there were, none of you would get the comparison, so I won't even try.  But I like the 21.

An elderly woman in a motorized wheelchair got on a few blocks after I did.  She had a little trouble maneuvering into the wheelchair spot (which is, if you haven't heard, usually on the right side, at the front of the bus).  Apparently the basket on the back of her wheelchair ran into a woman who was sitting in the seat on the left side, who said

"HEY! HEY! HEY!"

This was my first indication as to her character.

See, most people, when being run into by an elderly woman's wheelchair, would probably not shout at her, I think.  I hope.  They could say something like "Oh, watch out there!" or "Let me get out of your way first," all of which could be said in a normal tone of voice.

She actually stood up, clambered up onto the seat, then said, in a sarcastic tone of voice, "Be my guest."  She remained standing on the seat, holding onto the overhead bar, until

Really?  Lady, do you eat cockroaches for breakfast or something?

The elderly woman having at last situated herself, westward travel down 2100 South continued.  Everything was calm.

But she just couldn't let it go.  "You shouldn't have that basket on the back of your wheelchair."  Honey, nobody asked you to say that.  Who are you to tell someone who can't walk how they can and can't carry their stuff?  If you haven't noticed, I was somewhat incensed by her rudeness.  I thought about saying something on the order of, "Ma'am, just let it go."  But I was sitting all the way in the back (which is an indication of how loud she was talking), and I didn't want to shout at her, as a full-on shouting match might have ensued.  I held my tongue.

A rather snappish conversation ensued, but I must say the woman in the wheelchair was much more polite about it than her opponent.  She said things like, "Well, you can always sit somewhere else if you don't want it to be a problem."  I mean, there's a sticker at the front of the bus that says

PLEASE YIELD THESE SEATS TO THE ELDERLY AND PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES
FAVOR DE OFRECER ESTOS ASIENTOS A LOS MAYORES DE EDAD Y DESCAPACITADOS

A few blocks later, it was time for the wronged lady and her party to get off the bus.  As she got off, she said something else, which I didn't catch, but it was long, and the tone was unmistakeable.  The elderly woman finally lost her composure.  "Yeah, I'll bet you would!  Fatso!" she shouted as the other woman headed off down the sidewalk.

A few blocks after that, it was time for the elderly woman in the wheelchair to get off.  As the bus driver undid the restraining belts around the wheelchair, she apologized to him for having lost her temper and for having caused problems.  The bus driver told her she was fine.  I think you know by now whose side of the argument I was on.

I have never seen something like that happen on the bus.  I was surprised that two people couldn't coexist for six blocks on a city bus.  There are days, I admit, that I feel rather picked on.  How long did it take YOU to go to work today?  But, as I ride the bus, as I walk around town, as I talk to my fellow humans, I realize often that I really have it pretty good.  Who am I to treat someone so poorly?  Why am I special?

The next time you're on a bus, or walking down the street, or waiting in line, and someone you've never met mildly inconveniences you:

Let it go.

Please.

2 comments:

  1. A clarion call in a mad world of tricky transportation. You're my hero.

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  2. This is up there with Uchtdorf's "Stop it"

    ReplyDelete