On Sunday we went to see World War Zed and took the subway both there and back. It was playing across the street but only in 3D and neither Joe or I particularly like that extra D. We caught the subway on an unusually quiet Sunday morning. I had been hoping to get one of the new subway trains because if you enter where they have the blue badge access sign, they have a spot where the seats are automatically up and I can easily pull in to get my chair, and myself, out of the way.
The old trains have what they call 'priority seating' but they are down and need to be pulled up, so ... they are never actually available, or they would take way too much effort to make usable. In the new trains it's like they took this into consideration, something I appreciate.
So I got on the train to go south and began to swing over to where I could put the chair. But a woman sat there, on a pulled down seat, on an empty train, staring hard at me daring me to ask her to move. I did dare. "This space is for wheelchair users." She huffed, got up, slammed the seat back into place. I parked there, not disturbed a bit by her outburst.
The train was nearly empty.
There was lots of space.
Signage could not have been clearer as to the purpose of that space.
We got off, went to see World War Zed, and loved it. We headed back home in terrific heat. It was 31 degrees and the sun burned down on us. We'd forgotten sun screen so we tried to pick the shady sides of streets as we made our way back to the subway. The stop we used isn't a busy one on weekends and we waited for the train. Again it arrived nearly empty, it would fill up quickly just one stop away, but for now it was empty.
Again one of the seats was pulled down and again I was given a glare-dare challenging my need of the space. I was up to the challenge and again stated, politely like I did the first time, that that space was for wheelchair users, another huff and another puff and another slam and I had my space. I didn't care that I'd upset those going north and those going south. Not one bit. The trains were empty, they had lots of choices, I had but one. By asking for that space I made space for many others on the train and I felt safely out of the way.
But what struck me was how those two, and other's like them, make their choices and what their choices mean. Are they making a statement? Are they intentionally using those seats to protest the provision of space on trains for passengers with wheelchairs? Are they waiting for, wanting and hoping for a challenge, spoiling for a fight? I don't know.
Can you all help me out ... I do not believe that these two did what they did by accident, if they had, they'd have immediately got up, maybe given a word of apology, and moved. So, if it wasn't by accident ... what were they doing, what's their motive ... can any of you help me understand this?