Saturday, 21 October 2006

can't let it go

Total commutes: 16
Seats obtained through vacancy: 4
Seats obtained through voluntary* surrender: 2
Seats not obtained: 10

I am OBSESSED by the dilemma of how to get a seat on the tram to and from work. Perhaps I should throw up on said passengers when I feel nauseous, or pass out on their laps? I take on board the comment left on the previous post that you can't always know when an adult has a need for a seat that isn't obvious - but could it possibly be that of the 40 or 50 people seated on every tram I catch that every single one needs their seat more than me?

I've also spent a fair bit of time contemplating why I find it so hard to actually come out and ask someone to stand up when I feel so strongly that they should. This kind of contradiction is not like me and I find it puzzling. The best I can come up with by way of explanation is that I just can't put myself in the weaker position - can't say actually I need you to be kind to me. Seems pretty pathetic but there's obviously something deeply rooted in me that says I can't need it that much if no one else can see that I need it.

Hopefully I'll be able to get over my obsession soon. Hopefully.

* I use the term lightly. In one case I actually stared daggers at a young man for a good 5 stops before he reluctantly offered me his seat.

18 comments:

kt said...

You go, girl. Eye contact is a VERY powerful persuader, and those niggling idiots need to behave like human beings and let you sit, for heaven's sake!

Keep the eyeballs on full-force piercing intensity, and use mind power along with it, and I bet you'll motivate more lazy so-and-so's to get up.

atelier455 said...

I remember reading something recently about how when there's a large group of people (like in a tram carriage) who could offer you help, most people will assume that someone else will offer the help, so they don't offer themselves. I think it was in Tipping Points by Malcolm Gladwell.

How about carrying a pregnancy magazine or book and reading it really obviously, just to drive it home? Or work up the courage to go for the really direct option and ask if anyone would give up their seat as soon as you board the train. I wouldn't mind someone doing this if I was one of the passengers.

Good luck!

Lazy cow said...

Could you design a t-shirt you could whip over your head when catching the tram? Something that says "yes, I AM pregnant, I need that seat more than you do"?

Ash said...

Sooz, here in Holland we have a special seat in every tram carriage that is for elderly, pregnant or disabled people. Do you have such a thing? If it exists you have every right to ask whoever is parking their arse in it to get a move on.

I've had to ask students a few times to move out of that special seat so some old dear could sit down and, when asked, they all do! If they're not asked they'll just avoid eye contact and stay sitting.

I would just choose a likely looking lad (boys tend to give up their seats easier) and tell them I needed to sit down.

nichola said...

pluck up that courage girl! I was on the train recently with both girls, i was carrying Esme because she was upset, Mia was walking and i had the pusher and numerous bags. The carriage was full and not ONE person offered me a seat even though they could see i was struggling to stay standing with a baby in my arms and a toddler holding the other hand. The worst offenders are young people and men i think but maybe that's just from personal experience.

blondebabypeaches said...

ahhh the evil business men hiding behind the paper trip, /my favourite thing was to have a vomit bag - tripple baged, sit down on the floor ( near somthing helpful to get you back up - though latter on I just did it standing up) and vomit ( or gag) into it. If that dosnt work, pretend to trip and head the bag in thier direction.

The Shopping Sherpa said...

When I used to catch the bus to work I had the same thoughts going through my mind (although I am not prgnant).

Used to wonder if the school kids sitting directly under the "Children muct not remain sitting when an adult is standing" sign thought I was much younger than I was or ungrateful baggage.

One day a woman got on the bus and went up to one of the regular kid sitters, looked at them directly and said "stand up". And they did. There were rather a lot of us applauding her that day - as regulars I think we felt we could cause long term problems by making a stand (or seat, depending on how you look at it).

I also used to make a point of offering my seat to anyone pregnant/with kids/older than me...

So make a stand and I suspect the rest of the tram will applaud you too!

red swirl/ginevra said...

Yep, stand near the disabled / elderly seats, look someone in the eye & clearly say "excuse me"! I was a bit tentative at first, but my husband convinced me ... after all, the diagrams for disabled usually include pregnant women ;) And if the way buses handle corners here is anything like trams ...

rebecca said...

When I was expecting if no one offered I would always pick out the person I felt needed the seat least and say politely but firmly "excuse me would you mind if I sat down". Once or twice I had a grumpy one who would take forever to stand up and move but most of the time people happily obliged. London Underground apparently also issue a 'Baby on Board' badge that you can wear in the early stages!

I think it is always good to have the reasoning at the back of your mind too should you need to argue your case reminding people that it is not just a matter of courtesy but a concerns the of safety for your baby. You might find this report interesting http://www.tfl.gov.uk/tfl/press-centre/press-releases/press-releases-content.asp?prID=732

rebecca said...

http://www.tfl.gov.uk/tfl/press-centre
/press-releases/press-releases-content
.asp?prID=732

Sorry here is the link again - hope you can see it!

Anonymous said...

Why don't you say lodly as you get on - "pregnant lady coming through - who want's to do their good deed for the day and give me a seat?" It might appeal to the competitive nature of most male commuters (and will give the other passengers a laugh at any rate!).

Shael said...

Let me tell you I've been in your shoes but in Vancouver. I was over 8 months pregnant, with a ginormous tummy, holding on for dear life, getting my protruding belly knocked and bumped while taking the city bus to my Dr's appointments. I would stare down the teenage passengers sitting in front of me trying to guilt them into giving me their seat, to no avail. How rude! Next time I just might sit on their lap!

Linda said...

things don't seem to have changed much, I lived in Melbourne 20 years ago and my dearest friend was pregnant, she was only 20 and needed to work right up until the birth practically, we travelled to work together sometimes and no one would ever stand up for her, one morning she was about full term and about to pass out, I caught her and STILL had to ask someone to actually give her a seat! incredible.

Miranda said...

Yeah Australia's a really nice place for people offering seats! Seems to me to be a predominantly english speaking language thing. We've all got lazy and selfish!!

I don't think students should have to stand up just because they're students but people should just learn to be considerate of each other. When we were in France and Germany travelling with small children we would barely be on the bus/train before someone would offer a seat. It was more common for a guy to offer, but culturally most Europeans are less self obsessed that us of English origins. I can't help but think that it's that gradual influx of American culture. Apparently it wasn't like it in Australia in the 70's!

Di said...

So strange isn't it?

When I went to school (in Perth) it was standard practice that school kids gave up their seats for adults. Without fail. This happens only rarely these days. Honestly- modern standards ?!!

Anonymous said...

Hi sympathise totally. however i remember being on a train and being looked at with daggers because i hadn't responded. I felt it was unfair to be judged when I genuinely hadn't noticed she was pregnant. She was wearing a very dark dress and I simply hadn't looked down at her belly. I had had my nose stuck in a book. People on public transport are sometimes wrapped in their own world but are often more than happy to give up a seat. i definitely do. I know it's annoying to have to ask sometimes, but please give us the benefit of the doubt!
Liz

cristy said...

I completely sympathise with you. It is horrible feeling as though you are going to pass out on the bus/tram/train etc. I was recently in Manila though and never had to ask anyone for a seat - people stood up for me immediately.

Unfortunately, Australians are generally far more concerned about themselves than to even look around to see if everyone else is OK.

Personally I think that you should ask for people to give you a seat. However, I have yet to have the courage to put that advice into action...

Melbourne Vintage said...

Hi Soozs, I am so glad I found your blog and read the posts on pregnancy. We are considering starting a family at the moment and I've felt for months that I was somehow a freak by not being a complete earth muffin and having contradicting feelings about it - it has just been such a joy reading your posts, finally someone who says it like it is. And it's so good to see that it's so worth it too, looking at your gorgeous family. you are such a good writer - i'm glad i found you on the webs!