Travelling on public transport can be a pain, but it’s something you’ve just got to do from time to time or – if you are still working – five days a week to get to and from work.
It is usually time-consuming too, stealing valuable time from our lives we’d prefer to spend with our families.
In fact, not having to do the daily commute is one of the things people look forward to the most when it comes to the time to pull the plug on full-time work.
Each form of public transport comes with its own sort of protocol, too. You don’t sit down close to someone if there is option, for example. You don’t make noise in “quiet” carriages.
But there’s also another one: stand up for seniors, pregnant women and those less able than yourself.
And the other day, someone did it for me, not once but three times. The people who offered were all totally different: a man of about 50, a father with young children and a woman about 30.
It was the first time I had commuted on public transport for many years and I was nonplused when it first happened.
“Who, me?” I thought, looking around. “Why is he/she offering me a seat?”
Then it suddenly dawned on me. At almost 60, I qualified for “senior” status.
I felt happy but sad at the same time. The politeness of the other travellers reinforced my faith in human nature and showed that common courtesy was alive and well. But the fact that “young me” was old enough to justify it made me sad.
I cheered myself up by telling myself that it was probably because I was a woman they did it. I ignored the little voice inside my head that pointed out one of the people who had offered me a seat was a woman too.
And, when all is said and done, there’s one huge plus to the senior status: you can enjoy sitting down!
Let’s talk: What is your experience as a baby boomer on public transport? Do people offer you a seat? If so do you think it’s because of your age – or your sex?