Monday, May 26, 2008

Continuation of Post and Life

When it comes to the commute of which I am certainly a part of now, I had a few really neat experiences recently, the first of which is when I gave up my seat today on the train to a 40ish, slightly overweight lady.
It felt amazing. The train scheduled had changed due to memorial day, and so the aisles quickly filled with 4 or 5 people who did not have any seats. I saw the one woman on my car, and suddenly realized that there was absolutely no way that I, an able-bodied, young college-aged male could justify sitting while this woman was standing a few feet away.
Ironically enough, I was wearing jeans and a black linkin park hoodie zipped up, which is extremely unusual on a train full of suites and polo shirts, and I feel like it added to the impact. I really enjoy breaking the stereotype that people that wear black somehow don’t care about others- more generally, I enjoy breaking any stereotype, and I find that this one is often times assumed.
So I simply offered her my seat, and she was quite grateful, thanking me as she sat down, but what really gave me a sense of satisfaction was the comment made by my ex-seatmate, a black woman in her thirties with her iPod earphones in. She took out one of her earphones and mentioned to the lady who sat down that there are still some real gentlemen out there. This really set in some sense of "Yeah, life is good," sort of feeling, but I am not sure if it is right

What if instead, I would have simply stood up and walked out of the car, to stand in the aisle of another, without saying anything? The lady that was standing up would have sat down, which was the objective, and not an ounce of credit would have given to the college kid. No thank yous, no being a gentleman, just standing anonymously in another car,
I was raised in a Christian household, and that mindset, which I agree with, is that God and you know that you did the right thing, and that is what matters, but really societal approval is what triggers the feeling of doing a good deed. I don’t know for sure, but I guess being given credit for your own work is correct, and if your own work is standing up, than credit given by others is not a bad thing, though the issue really is making me think.

Interestingly enough, on the way back home I got this great photo of a guy staring out the window. I felt sorta bad, taking the photo without permission, and over my uncles shoulder who was sitting in the row between, but I like the result. I also saw a great scene of a man in a full suite walking his daughter who was overflowing with happiness walking towards the train station: I am not quite as happy with how the photo I took turned out, but I just had to do something to capture how happy the two of them were together. The father (I assume) held her hand and just seemed to be smiling by the way he walked, and the little girl even had a little skip to her gait as she walked, her skirt just fluttering about. Of recent memory, those were the only people that seemed genuinely happy to me.

Isn't that a sad statement? Why don’t I other people seem happy? I mean, not necessarily euphoric 24/7/356, but at least happy. There is a reference here to an article which I read about suicide on the golden gate bridge, but I have no access to that article here. At some time I will post it though, I promise.

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