vain joy

On a recent commute I was one of the last lucky passengers to squeeze into an already heaving public bus. As I squirmed my way down the aisle with as much grace as possible (elbows tucked in, backpack removed) I found a few inches of clear floor space. Just as I was resigning myself to a somewhat perilous perch, a lovely 20-something year old beach babe kindly offered me her seat. I immediately smiled in gratitude but politely declined.

As the bus accelerated with a sudden jerk, I noticed a sign behind her seat, reminding people to offer this space to those in greater need. I’m sure you’ve seen these signs on most modes of public transport. They depict an elderly person with stooped posture, an overly pregnant woman, and a stumbling person on crutches. I quickly performed a self-scan – to the best my ego soaked persona would allow – and found I couldn’t personally identify with any of the images. My belly wasn’t inflated, I was able bodied and my posture was quite erect considering the unpredictable movements of the bus. Did this lovely lass intend to give her seat to me as I was in ‘greater need’? Did this supple skinned beauty recognize me as someone elderly – even without the illustrated stoop?!

Before I could dwell any further into certain dark judgement and  self-recriminations, my humour got the best of me and I sought out her eye line and suggested that “in fact, I would love your seat!”

Just as I settled into my comfy and secure spot, the bus violently lurched around a corner and several travelers became a bit unstuck. Perhaps its true what they say . . . wisdom does come with age. And surely, JOY follows wisdom.

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