Ageing, introversion, confusion and appearance on public transport

Seem to have spent lots of time on tubes and trains this week.

Twice today someone stood up to offer me a seat. As the working week has gone on I am wondering if I am looking greyer, more tired or just plain old – or is it that it’s Be Chivalrous day? It’s a moment that happens more frequently it seems and each time I am surprised to find myself being seen as the kind of age that needs a seat. Always that dilemma of whether to take the proffered seat or not and how to respond and acknowledge their kind offer when saying no. ” I am way too young for that” I feel myself tempted to say and luckily my reasoning saves me from doing that and thus that potentially awkward moment of them looking at me with disbelief. Like my grandmother who in her late 80s told me she still felt young and all I could think as a teenager was that she was a deluded old lady! Ah how the tables are turned now I’m sure she would think.

The joy of the quiet compartment in the train down to Plymouth. The perfect spot for an introvert like me to get absorbed in thoughts and ideas and observe those around me. A posh young man in a striped business shirt arrived a few minutes ago, starting a loud conversation on the phone with someone about salmon fishing. All around me typical English reactions of no-one saying anything but sharing raised eye brows and tuts… Martyrs all….Just as I was formulating my words, a bold Spanish woman many seats away got up and firmly silenced the rule breaking young man sitting with his phone under a “Quiet Coach” sign. Relief all round and perhaps some like me thought they should have been as courageous as she. All that now we hear is the rustle of papers and squeak of cases as people get in or leave. Silence reigns once more.

Where did coach B go? Passengers alighting at Paddington clutching their Carriage B tickets wandered fruitlessly up and down carriage A and C looking for it. An announcement finally that Coach B was now in fact Coach E and off they all scuttled both relieved and annoyed. Who needs it on a Friday rush hour? Messing with the alphabet like that.

Twice on a tube this week I have watched young women expertly apply their full make up – even carefully drawn lines along eyelids and mascara applied faultlessly. From early morning pale washed out faces transformed into flawless beauties. Like me others watched their transformation with awe and wonder. Their confident strokes and applications, completely unaware of or indifferent to the interest they were creating around them.
Of course then being me with my imaginings I wondered whether the process is reversed going home. I just can’t quite see that ever happening – though I enjoy the thought…Maybe one day someone will.

Public transport. I love it.



14 thoughts on “Ageing, introversion, confusion and appearance on public transport”

  1. Had a similar experience on a “Quiet Coach” I wonder if it’s always the besuited, “natural born right to everything” type who do this. Getting home makes the journey all worthwhile though.

  2. Now in my late 80’s, I am grateful when someone offers me a seat on public transportation. Usually, it’s a young lady. I accept it with a “thank you.” I remember the days twenty years ago when I was riding crowded buses in Slovakia, and no one ever offered me a seat. Train transportation was another kind of trip, with high steps and little time to board. It was always an adventure.

  3. You just voiced out my thoughts on commuting. Hilarious.
    I must say I don’t like to watch those people who put on make up while on transit and I always accept when someone offers me a seat.

  4. Yes you are right… Sometimes I say no as only going a few stops so am really careful about how I say no because the offer is always appreciated. Really.

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