On the Metro rail ride to work each morning, I tend to sit in the seats that are closest to the doors. This is due to the fact that the trains always get very crowded when I ride in the mornings and I’m always paranoid that I’m not going to be able to get off at my stop because of the crowd of people that always forms at the doors.
Since I get to work around 7:30 each morning, I have to get up pretty effin’ early to make sure I get to work on time. Especially since I have to take a shuttle bus to the metro station and then get on a train to my job. So I relish in my morning train rides because I get to plug in my iPod, tune out the world and take a nice doze for most of my commute.
But yesterday that was ruined. You know why? Because I’m young. Yes, that’s right, I’m only 24 years old and I look like it!
I woke up for a minute to look at which station we were at so that I didn’t miss my stop. Then this older lady (probably in her early 60s) tapped me on the shoulder and said something to me. But since I had my earbuds in, I didn’t hear what she said (sidebar: I seriously hate it when people try to talk to me when I have my earbuds in–I mean, isn’t it obvious that I don’t want to talk?).
“Elderly seating,” she repeated. I looked a little confused at what she was talking about and then she pointed to the sign behind my head. The sign stated that the seat I was in was priority seating for the elderly and people with disabilities. I realized what she meant now and gave her my seat.
It didn’t dawn on me that there were 3 other people sitting in these seats near her and yet she choose to pick me. I looked at the other people in these seats, one woman probably in her 40s, and two men who looked like they were in their 40s as well.
This infuriated me. How did she know that I didn’t have a disability? Just because I’m young and I don’t have to use a cane when I walk or ride around in a wheelchair doesn’t mean I might be disability-free. I remember learning this as a kid because my grandfather had a handicapped parking tag, yet he didn’t walk with a cane or anything. I used to drive the handicapped around town in Blacksburg, and not everyone had a visible disability.
It just seems to me that this woman saw that I was young compared to the people sitting near me and that I wasn’t visibly disabled, thus I must give up my seat. It just felt like reverse age discrimination. And its not that I actually have a disability or anything, it just seems to me that she picked me out of the four around her because I was young.
Oh well, I guess it wasn’t really a big deal after all. I mean she didn’t ask me this until I was only one stop away from my destination. But it was certainly irritating.