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November 07, 1986 - Image 3

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1986-11-07

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

UP FRONT

1 11•11111111111111•1111111111•MINIINIMMINIIM MIIIIIIMINIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIMINI=11•111111111•11111111111NIMMIIIIIIIMMINNIIMMIIIMININII
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A Seat On The Bus

A great truth was revealed to me the
other day. On the bus, of all places.

RICHARD -NEWMAN

Special to the Jewish Times

R

evelations come to peo-
ple in strange places.
Newton was sitting
under an apple tree when he
discovered gravity. Some peo-
ple claim to do their best
thinking in bed — or the
bathroom. Why shouldn't a
revelation hit me on the bus?
A city bus is not a means
of transportation. It is a com-
petitive event requiring skill,
nerve and timing. The num-
ber of players varies with the
time of day and the route. The
goal is to get a seat. Like
every competition, there are
rules and strategies.
Maneuvering begins while
waiting. Competitors try to
position themselves in front
of the bus door to get on first.
Pushing and shoving are
frowned upon. In bus riding,
as in gymnastics or dog
shows, appearance as well as
performance counts.
Once seated on the bus, the
object is to stay there. Retain-
ing a seat by ignoring deserv-
ing people who are standing
is considered bad manners.
Consequently, the seated
must make believe they don't
see anyone standing who
needs a seat. Two popular
techniques are dozing, and
pretending to be thoroughly
engrossed in the newspaper.
Seats are primarily for the

Richard Newman is a writer
who lives in New York City.

Stiii.05%1011#

elderly, the infirm, the han-
dicapped. The only sure way
to guarantee yourself a seat
on the bus is to get on dis-
guised as a blind pregnant oc-
togenarian on crutches, carry-
ing a child. Well, pretty sure.
Happily, even on the bus,
there are people who are kind
and gracious. Most of the
time the deserving are seated.
Chivalry is not completely
dead, but there is some dif-
ference of opinion about the
qualifications for the classifi-
cations — "Elderly, deserving
a seat." The elderly may have
senior citizen cards, collect
Social Security, have grand-
children, wear fur coats, tint
their hair purple — or some
combination of the above. All
of these criteria are good, but
difficult to determine at a
quick glance.
We are not as old as we feel.
That old adage is not correct.
We are as old as others per-
ceive us.

I was riding on the bus at
the end of the work day. It
was crowded, the usual too
many people in too little
space, and I was standing.
The usual contest of musical
chairs was in progress. A
thirtyish-year old woman rose
from her seat to offer it to a
truly elderly, cane, fur coat,
wrinkles, no question entitled
to a seat, white-haired lady
who had just gotten on the
bus. A second woman in her
thirties, obviously tired, made
claim to the seat. She coveted

Continued on Page 27

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