Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Adventures In Sitting, Baby

I got a seat on the subway yesterday.


I have been glaring at people for weeks now. I'll be standing, and a seat will open up, but not right in front of me, so in order to grab the open seat I either have to lunge like a selfish asshole, or let someone else take their rightful seat, since by New York law if the subway seat directly in front of you opens up it's yours, pregnant women and the elderly be damned.

That's why I get so pissed off when I'm standing in front of a seat and my person (yes, softly dozing octogenarian Asian man with the bag full of asparagus, you belong to me now) gets up and then the person next to them shifts over. I feel like, when that happens, I should be able to taser the person, or at least take them on Judge Joe Brown.

(Judge Joe Brown was on in the hospital waiting room when we got our ultrasound. A teenage boy was being taken to court by his grandparents for defaulting on an $1800 loan. And this boy must have been challenged, because everyone knows that daytime TV courts do not smile upon entitled, ungrateful children who swindle their elders. That's Gossip Girl you're thinking of, son, don't get it twisted!)

Anyway. I guess I could have told people on the subway that I was pregnant, but it kind of takes away from an act of kindness when you have to force it with pity. Plus, there are so many things aside from wiggly uterine growths you can't tell by looking at someone. What if I had said, "Excuse me, I'm pregnant," and the big, strapping-looking man in what I considered to be "my" seat had said, "I have testicular cancer"? What then? Would we play rock, paper, scissors? Or something without the word "rock" in it so he wouldn't get self-conscious about his ailing balls? I don't know.

That's why I needed to wait for someone to look up, notice my burgeoning belly, and give me their seat. Or, I should say, that's why I needed to push out my stomach comically and sigh until someone noticed.

(It takes a lot for a pregnant woman to get a seat these days, because people are so afraid of mistakenly offering their seat to a woman who is not, in fact, pregnant. And here is a public service announcement for those people: Just get the hell up. Don't say anything, just get up like you have somewhere else to be, like maybe over next to the charming man singing aloud to the violent rap song he's listening to on his iPod. Best case scenario, you let a pregnant woman sit down. Worst case, you let a woman who has just eaten a giant burrito sit down, and believe me, she needs it, too.)

I'll admit, I felt a little guilty, after the elation that someone had finally identified me as knocked up as opposed to just husky subsided. The man whose seat I took stood all the way to Penn Station, while I struggled to focus my attention on the cheery New York Times Magazine article I was reading about a fatal Air France plane crash. But then I caught the eye of a man across the aisle, who got on at my stop in Brooklyn and who hadn't given up his seat. And I glared at him. And then I felt better.

Motherhood is changing me so much already.


  1. I've stood waiting for a seat for 20 minutes (and this was after standing on a different train for 40) only for the guy nearest me to finally get off the train just as a pregnant woman got on and then walk straight up to me and glare.
    She was only on the train for three stops as well - the selfish git.

    pregnancy doesn't suit some women...

  2. Every once and a while I will be lucky enough to walk through our break area at work while Judge Joe Brown is on.

    The last time this happened there was someone suing because their ponytail weave did not match the rest of their hair. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to stand there long enough to see who won.

    This why Judge Joe Brown should be on Hulu.

  3. I remember that with both my kids. Being VERY HUGELY pregnant, and people will avoid your gaze at all costs, as if they will feel guilty once you see that they saw you. And then there's the elderly woman with a cane who got up for me that one time. Lady, I will never forget you. Douches everywhere need to learn from your kindness.

  4. I'm definitely planning my next trip to NYC after I get pregnant just so I can glare at people on public transportation.

  5. I have been on crutches and no one offer me their seat. And while on crutches, I was waiting to get in the elevator... you know the only way I COULD get upstairs... and some youngster... I'm old enough to use the phrase... beat me to the elevator and hit the weight limit.

  6. i was just asking my mom - "aren't people supposed to be nicer to pg women?? like open doors and stuff?"
    it's not happening for me either. i often rub the bottom of my ever growing belly as a reminder, but it hasn't worked.

  7. When my mum was very pregnant with me (back when the subways were legitimately bad and caked with graffiti) she was standing holding one of the poles when a man (also standing) pulled a knife on those seated so that they would get up and give her a seat. Where's THAT guy when you need him?

  8. I'm pretty certain BEZ wins for best comment EVER, and I'm also pretty certain chivalry states that men should stand and give their seat to ANY woman or elderly person.

    Maybe that's just a southern thang... You should just move here.

  9. Meanwhile I give my seat up all the time in Northern Virginia and people look at me like I'm trying to trick them...

  10. Two quick anecdotes:

    1) I once overheard a man ask a seated passenger if his wife could sit in his seat because she was pregnant and the seated passenger said, simply, no. WHAT! As far as I'm concerned, that man is on a one-way train to Hell (I would have offered my seat but I, too, was standing).

    2) On a different train I once overheard a very visibly pregnant woman ask another woman if she could sit in her seat and the seated woman said, and I quote, "I'm pregnant too, it's just not as obvious."

    I <3 NY.

  11. Recently I was given a seat almost immediately upon boarding the C train at Columbus Circle.
    Why? I don't know. The man smiled at me as I grabbed the pole, stood, and made the sweeping hand gesture, so I smiled, said thanks, and sat.
    You know, recently I was given the senior citizen discount at Kohl's which I didn't even notice until I checked my receipt....Oh. No.

  12. Shit! I'm totally loving your blog. I don't have time to read another blog. I'm ditching someone. Don't know who... but loving it. Come check out mine... I have 2 1/2 year old twins and a 1 year old miracle. But the twins.... we can talk. those kids crack me up. Tonight my daughter called me Big Mouth from the Smurfs.... really? Big Mouth? You can't get a little creative here girly? Anyway - I know this has nothing to do with anything you wrote - but I just had to tell you... totally digging your blog.

  13. It's horrible, but people are just as rude on the Chicago El.

  14. This would all resolve easily if New Yorkers create a job of "Subway seating monitor", who would order the young and fit off their asses and make them yield the seat to the pregnant and the elderly.
    There must be a legal way to do that.
    And it creates more jobs.

  15. I was (standing up) on a tram recently and when an elderly lady got on, the only person who stood up for her was the heavily pregnant woman!! WTF

  16. I've stood waiting for a seat for 20 minutes (and this was after standing on a different train for 40) only for the guy nearest me to finally get off the train just as a pregnant woman got on and then walk straight up to me and glare.

    a bad day huh?
    cosmetic surgeries

  17. I was pg at longhorn one day, waiting for a table, and standing there literally like te giant elephant in the room. No one would get up. Finally this woman and her 2 kids got up to go to the bathroom, leaving 2 seats open. This girl, about 19-20, quickly b-lined around me to swoop up one of the seats. I went to sit next to her when she says "umm... that seat is taken". I gave her a dirty look,and said "well, is the other person even here?" She said "well, he's coming in". Im a nice, non-confrontational person. I didn't say anything, just glared at her and her young, athletic looking bf while they watched youtube videos on their iphone (probably of cats playing the piano). As if that wasn't bad enough, an elderly couple that can't even stand up staight come in, and this couple looks at them, and chose not to move. I told the old people that they should ask them to move, since they were ballsy enough to ask me, but the old people didn't go for it. I would have gotten up for these people, even though I was pg. Some people just aren't raised to consider anyone but themselves.

  18. I twice gave up my seat while [heavily] pregnant to elderly people who simply looked like the needed it more than I did. This in a bus full of able-bodied young men. I did a lot of glaring after I got up...

  19. I found myself nodding the entire time throughout this post!!! I'm just a few weeks behind you and I'm dealing with all the same issues on the subway. On Friday, as I was carrying 2 shopping bags from the dreaded Bed, Bath, and Beyond, I stood in front of a man engrossed in his Palm. I noticed from the corner of my eye that he looked up at me, thought, "is she pregnant or just kind of fat in the belly?" and started to make a move to get up. When I didn't make eye contact immediately he must have changed his mind, deciding I was just 4 months bloated, and went back to his Palm. A couple stops later, the guilt combined with the death stares of the women around me who realized I was NOT just bloated, must have been too much for him to handle because he looked up and asked me if I wanted his seat. Sat there, still sitting on his ass, and asked. What is a girl supposed to say to that?? "Would you like for me to get you a birthday present this year??" NO, you don't ask, you just do it!!! So of course, I played the martyr and said, "Oh no, really, I'm fine, but thank you!" I think I got the last laugh because the rest of the way to Brooklyn that man was thought of as the selfish dick who wouldn't give up his seat by all women who got on the train after that. Jerk.

  20. My wife struggled with this all pregnancy. I deal with it now with a stroller. I just don't get it sometimes...people can be so inconsiderate. Bleh.


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