There was a mad rush by the throng of commuters who had patiently been starring at the board minutes earlier, figuring out which platform the London Midland train was on. Once the info popped up on the screen, the young, the old, the unemployed , the hungry, the short and the immigrant all hurriedly made their way through the London-Euston train station to grab a seat on the on-peak train which could not promise everyone a comfortable seat.
I had been queuing and fighting for seats almost my whole life, combining that experience with my youthful energy, getting on board and grabbing a comfy seat was not much of a difficult hurdle for me. Windows seats are usually my favorite, they give me a good view of the city my leaders have failed to replicate back at home. Moving past infrastructure at such speed makes the 1 hour 30 minutes journey less tiring and a lot more memorable. A few minutes after the Wolverhampton-bound train had taken off, I felt a bit of uneasiness. There were a few passengers who had to stand for a while because they had not gotten seats , what baffled me the most was why I was suddenly disturbed by the sight of the older couple on their feet whiles I enjoyed the support of the soft seat sparked a conflict in my conscience. I knew I had paid to be on that seat, yet, I still couldn’t stop being bothered by fact that the immigrant couple who perhaps had come into the UK for a better life some years ago, were going to stand for sometime before we hit our first stop, which was at least 45 minutes away from our station of departure.
Well, you can’t really blame me, where I come from, age is revered, and it is definitely awkward in most situations to be seated whiles an older person is standing, even if you had paid the same amount for the seat. For a while I couldn’t detach myself from that upbringing, so after a while I yielded to my inner voice which said, “get up and give the seat to the woman”. When I did, she was overly appreciative of the gesture. “Thank you” came out of her and her husband who held on to her up till that moment, revealing their Indian background. Well, I didn’t think I deserved that much praise, it is something as a young African I am expected to do anyway. It is not written anywhere, you are just expected to make the older generation more comfortable. You are also expected to use your youthful energies to make life easier for the grey-haired if you can. So for me, it was a pleasure to do just that. For a while the beneficiary’s husband and I stood in the moving train for a while, in the man’s pose I could tell he was satisfied with his weaker wife being seated even if he didn’t get that opportunity. When the train wobbled, he wobbled along, and would hold unto some kind of support in the train, whiles I stared and played the whole scene over and over again in my head.
Some minutes later, a good number of the commuters got off at Rugby, the first train stop, giving the man and I some space around the woman from whose eyes appreciation would still not depart. I had to go through another round of a ‘Thank you ‘ ritual before I finally got to my destination. I got off at MK, walked through the cold, but I was the least bothered about that, what mattered to me the most was the appreciation I had received from a family I had never met, and perhaps would never meet again.
If you know me well, then you should know how much I am against Extreme Feminist groups and their blind calls for absolute equality and the proposals they put forth. Perhaps I should have admitted the woman was just as strong as the man and just offered to give my seat to the man, who obviously was more capable of standing with me half-journey. Or perhaps the woman should have just declined to take my seat to show she was not the weaker sex. Or maybe she should have just taken the seat and given it to her husband, who might have jumped on that opportunity whiles her wife stood with me in the wobbling vehicle. As much as I believe men and women today have equal rights, I still think there are some biological difference which may require one to access some special attention. If that is an admission of weakness, then that is unfortunate!