Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Moral guardian riding the rails in Melbourne

After a month of holidays spent playing music, reading, knitting, playing Scrabble, playing with the dog and hanging out with family in the country, the return to city life yesterday was interesting.

My first stop was the hairdresser. This was well-planned after swimming and sunshine; I needed to get my city hair back!

The first challenge of the day was unexpected - I had to put on proper shoes! I have essentially been barefoot for a month. I took off the first pair I chose because they felt too restrictive and settled for a more worn pair. I hope I get back into the swing of things soon because I have a large selection of shoes.

I was relieved to discover I still had money on my myki and was able to catch a train without dealing with the machine. When I spent a weekend in Sydney during my break I noticed how clean their trains are compared to ours in Melbourne. I don't understand why our trains are so filthy. Most seats look like someone had a terrible accident and the floors are sticky. I wonder how Sydney keeps their trains so clean?

Travelling home in the afternoon was interesting. I'd had coffee with a friend and travelled just before the peak at about 3:45pm. There were plenty of seats and people were spread out. A few people were standing, absorbed in their phones and the carriage was pretty quiet. I was sitting in a single seat reserved for people with special needs. I was carrying a lot of bags after collecting all my mail which had been on hold for a month and I had space to put them without taking up another seat. I was ready to move if someone needed the seat. 

As we approached Yarraville station, a thin woman with a face permanently set to cranky disappointment stood up and hissed at a woman sitting nearby in the middle of three seats: "You didn't pay for three seats you know!" Her eyes were seething with anger and she had the self-satisfied look of a Guardian of Modern Morality.

I spontaneously guffawed. It just came out of me. I was gobsmacked at her exercise of perceived power. 

She turned on me.

"And you're not disabled are you?" she snapped, referring to my choice of seat. 

She stood near the door waiting for the train to stop. The woman who hadn't paid for enough seats and was quietly playing with her phone was looking bewildered. I laughed and shrugged. The Guardian didn't turn around as I called to her to make sure she touched off and paid for her trip.

Her face was well set, cranky disappointment was not new for her. How sad for her.

There is something to be said for "live and let live".

How would you respond?

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