Donald Clarke: ‘I am at one with pregnant women, injured war veterans and people who can remember the Cuban Missile Crisis’

Sound Off: It wasn’t supposed to happen – I have surely not reached the age when I can expect pleasant twerps to surrender their seats on public transport

It seems I’ve now passed from the worthy givers of seats to the deserving takers.

It seems I’ve now passed from the worthy givers of seats to the deserving takers.

 

I’d like to complain about a nice young man who was very polite to me. What a thoughtless little philanthropist. What a generous little jerk.

Here’s what happened. I was travelling on the London Underground during rush hour. Seeing no seats to spare, I shuffled down the aisle and prepared to hang the strap until Heathrow. Resigned discomfort was interrupted by a polite English voice emerging from beneath a woollen Afghan hat. “Sorry, sir. Would you like my seat?”

It would make a better story if I had bitten his face off and spat it onto the platform at Gloucester Road. But I was raised properly. I hope I managed a laugh that communicated both my appreciation and my astonishment that such an offer was felt appropriate.

This was not supposed to happen yet. I accept it is too late to play professional basketball (though I’m still wondering about snooker). I know that I’m too old to be cast as the next Spider-Man (though I haven’t ruled out Iron Man). But I have surely not reached the age when I can expect pleasant twerps to surrender their seats on public transport.

The conventions have changed over the years. I am just about old enough to remember when a middle-aged man could be expected to offer a young woman his place. Now, quite sensibly, one obliges anybody of any gender who might have difficulty standing. Nothing sets the day up better than being the first passenger to spot a pregnant woman getting on a crowded bus. Ha! I got to give her my seat. The rest of you now look like sociopaths. Enjoy your journey to hell.

It seems I’ve now passed from the worthy givers to the deserving takers. I am at one with pregnant women, injured war veterans and people who can remember the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Horrible little decent guy.

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