Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Do I Want Chivalry to Be Dead?

Not at the end of a long day working on the mountain, apparently.

Am I setting the Women's Lib movement back 50 years if I confess I wish men would give up their seat on a bus for me? Because I do. I want them to give me their seat so badly that I try to fix them with a steely glare that will move them bodily from their seats. If they offered, I wouldn't be proud and say no. Just in case they're worried about rejection.

So, I've talked about how I work at one of the local ski resorts. Because the resorts are on U.S. Forestry Service lands and the resorts lease the land, there isn't a lot of space devoted to parking at the resorts themselves (and besides, the land is worth a fortune and wouldn't it be better spent building a new Ritz Carlton versus a parking lot?). Where I work, you park in lots below the resort and ride a shuttle to the base of the ski area. It works fine. It's kind of a hassle to do it with and in all of your ski gear and especially if the kids (i.e., Finn) are with you, but that's just how it is. Plus, the parking is free at the bottom. On days I worked last year, I could take an employee shuttle that shaved some time off my "commute" from bottom to top and vice versa. It was nice after a long day to jump on the employee shuttle and go straight to the employee lot, instead of riding around with all of the skiiers from lot to lot to the last stop for employees.

Anyway, buses used to run every 10 minutes or so, zipping people from parking lot to skiing in just a few minutes. The buses are apparently paid for out of taxes or home owners' association dues from the people who live in the very exclusive community on the mountain.

Well, it seems that these very wealthy people aren't paying their taxes and/or HOA dues because there is no employee shuttle this year, so we're all cramming onto the skiier bus, and buses are running less frequently. So the cramming is at critical mass.

Today, Declan went to work with me and took a snowboarding lesson while I worked. At the end of the day, we went to the bus stop with about 3,022 other people and attempted to get on the bus. We got on the first bus that came, which was a lucky break, but there were no seats to be had. No, the seats were mostly frequented by 20-something male snowboarders who had enjoyed a day on the slopes. We wound our way back down the mountain, clinging to the straps and/or support poles,
hoping our weary knees would hold us up. And not that the skiiers/snowboarders didn't have weary knees. They probably did. I just wanted them to move so I could sit and doze off, like I usually do.

But no one offered anyone a seat and I'm conflicted as to how I feel about this. Is it rude? Is it a statement of manners today? Is it ridiculous to expect that men should give up their seats in this day and age? Do we have equality now. . .and wish we didn't in some arenas?

I have no idea.

And with that, I'm going to bed.


Joanne said...

I think it must just be in the USA. In England and France I always see men and children offering their seats to women and older people.


Kristie said...

I am always discouraged when we go to a restaurant for dinner and have a brief "wait" period for a table. The number of healthy young men (and women, too, for that matter) who sit in the few chairs or benches available, when I see pregnant women and older people standing. I love when my family has seats, and an older person comes in, and I will always speak loudly to my children, "Come here, you need to offer your seat to that person ...." and just HOPE someone else hears it and remembers its the polite thing to do. This "look out for number one" mentality drives me freaking nuts .... you are not alone.

Lauren said...

I am of two minds. Like Kristie I always watch out for the pregnant and the elderly (though like both of you, having shepherded my child through chemo, I wasn't in a rush to give up seats back then!). I am a giver up of seats in those situations. However, I can honestly say I would not want to be offered a seat, and I don't think men should offer their seats to otherwise healthy women. If a man of any age offered me his seat, I would decline. Perhaps because my criteria are pregnancy and advanced age and I don't want to be seen as either! I wouldn't be offended, and I guess if it was a young kid trying to be nice to old me, I might let him if the alternative was going to discourage him. So if you were on crutches, maybe, Natalie, but otherwise you'd be out of luck with me. You asked...:)