First let me say; my granny (my mother’s mother) has been dead for very nearly 10 years. So no I don’t mean she’s literally calling, or even from the grave or even in a meta-physical sense. I mean that I often wonder what she would make of the world around me. I find myself asking on the cusp of a new year;
What would Granny
- do, (or perhaps more noteworthy not do),
- say (or again when would she hold her tongue), and even,
Those who know me offline (or, as we used to say online; in real life) will know then I speak very highly of my grandmother and the lessons she taught me and the wisdom she held so lightly. She was in my view the perfect mix of a modern (for the time of) yet woman who knew of the value of occasion, manners, common sense and practical service of others.
I don’t know whether this has a lot to do with her or not. However, I’ve been noticing a distinct slide in the above, particularly in public. Perhaps I’m getting old, or more old-fashioned but I find myself shaking my head, more often than I used to.
This example probably makes me sound very old and grumpy.
I recently met family for morning tea at a shopping centre on the other side of Sydney where I indulged in a fruity version of Earl Grey tea called Girlie Grey, I caught two trains back home to the Inner West. The journey to see my relatives was uneventful except that half a dozen schoolchildren, now on holiday to February were somewhat boisterous in the carriage down the stairs from me, with the parents ending up joining in on the mildly rough play. You could see other commuters trying to remain focused on the newspaper or book in front of them. I’m not sure how successful they were. But really that wasn’t too bad.
Less than two hours later I made the return journey. On the train heading into Central, two seemingly unrelated women in their early 20s bordered a couple of stops after me. One had a small suitcase, and one a trolley. Both moved quickly, but were largely concentrating on the goings-on on their mobile phones. Both sat quickly in the vestibule area where I am required to park (the other parts of the carriage going up or down via three stairs apiece. Also at this train station bordered two older women who proceeded down the three stairs to the carriage proper. One of the younger women smiled at me and proceeded to continue eating a banana and consulting her mobile. I smiled back.
A few stops later, but still a stop or two before her destination the frailer of the two older women climbed carefully and nervously up the stairs to enquire whether we were at a particular station. The somewhat fitter older woman, also seemingly unrelated to the other was the first to pipe up that she still had two stops until her declared destination.
It really was a smooth enough ride on the train. It was still bumpy though and the frailer of the two looked increasingly unsteady on her feet and more anxious than anything about staying on her feet.
I found myself, while parked well out of the way wanting to leap up by way of a temporary miracle if nothing else and offer this woman my seat even though that wasn’t possible because I was using my seat (my wheelchair). Between the two older women now both standing I caught the eye of the younger one who had smiled at me earlier and gestured to the older women standing around us. She smiled at me blankly and stayed firmly in her seat.
I posted the following as my status update on Facebook as we rattled through the city;
This will sound odd I guess but I wish I could stand up for people on mass transit. There is a little old lady standing on my train while two 20 somethings sit and smile. I know I can’t assume that they can stand but. Grrr I want a cattle prod some days
I can’t help wondering what would Granny do? I suspect that even in her 80s, she would have wanted to stand and give her seat to the “old dear”.
I know this isn’t normally a manners blog, and perhaps it was my schooling as much as my grandparent that raised me to think that that behaviour is odd. But either way that’s my two cents. Here’s two more:
I don’t see any harm in offering your seat to someone who needs it more than you do regardless of age
Though unlike that author I think that it is not just one age group that must be reminded.
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