Dear Man on the Skytrain with the Little Bag:

We were on the same busy train yesterday and I feel that I wronged you. I’m sorry. I was being insensitive. The train was busy, and there wasn’t much room for you to house your little bag, and so, per the symptoms of your condition, you placed your wee friend on one of the few seats available. But I was selfish. I wanted to read my book, so I approached what I honestly thought was an unspoken-for chair so that I could indulge my pastime.

When I arrived and spotted that the seat already had an owner, I didn’t veer away as any decent person would have done out of respect for your disorder. Instead, I asked with my annoyingly nonchalant voice, “Can I sit here?”

You looked at me as though I’d shot your friend with bag-piercing bullets. How dared I? With the sulk of an innocent child told not to pull his sister’s hair, you rescued your pet from my invasion, and pulled him close to you. I should have known then that you were afflicted with a painful case of etiquette impairment and left you to suffer with your malady in peace. But no, with the compassion of a fruit fly, I sat myself down in your friend’s chair and read my book.

Please forgive me. And please ask Mr. Bag for my forgiveness, too. You both deserve better.

Guilty on Skytrain

9 thoughts on “MISSED CONNECTION”

  1. Sethblogs,

    I think we’re all guilty of this particular bout of insensitivity once in a while. Oftentimes I will catch myself doing the menacing bottom threat, wherein I slowly but grandly make the motion of sitting on someone’s bag, no doubt traumatizing them by leaving them little time to act before their beloved bag is crushed beyond recognition. Fortunately, there are those who take a stand against us rude seat interlopers, reminding us that we can’t just do whatever the hell we want. I once asked (probably too harshly) for someone to extract their bag from a seat I had my hungry eyes on. In response, they gave a firm “No,” which served as a sound reminder to me to stop bullying those with more-precious-than-human cargo. To this day, I respect her for standing up for her rights. It is actions like those of Rosa Parks and this noble young woman whose name I never did catch that give the importantly bagged among us hope of a civil rights movement.

    The Bottom Threatener

  2. Thanks Calum. I definitely felt like a fruit fly in the bag owner’s eyes.

    And thanks Natalie Bottom Threatener! I’m a little disconcerted that your reply to my post is a lot more entertaining (in a shorter space of time) than my post, itself, but I will rise above and reply anyway. Interestingly, after my victim had already moved his bag once, the person beside him left the train, so our hero gave Mr. Bag the new spot. Moments later, a bottom threatener just like you attacked his bag’s new place, but, thankfully – like Indiana Jones reaching for his hat under threat of a giant rolling ball – the bag owner rescued his wee friend before a tragic collision (but only just in time).

    As you say, I think we can all learn from these noble souls who stand up for the rights of their bags (and feet): they are persecuted for their alternate (to) etiquette lifestyle, and yet they never give up on themselves. It is inspiring to witness.

  3. Wow, do you kick puppies in your free time?

    I’m actually surprised that this particular practice isn’t enshrined in their series of transit pet peeves as voted by transit users. It’s depressingly common.

  4. I usually don’t bother asking for the seat, not wanting to endure the attitude, but spend the rest of the trip fantasizing about tripping them as they get off the bus.

  5. Thanks Tarrin. Perhaps the transit peeve surveyors assumed, when people described this behaviour, that it was surely an invention of passengers. Surely!

    Thanks Meggles. Hee, hee, yes, I usually would never pester someone for such a seat (as I don’t really want to sit next to someone who values their property’s comfort over mine: if they have that inclination, what else might they impose on me?), but I really wanted to read my book. Next time, I’ll skip the seat and enjoy some imagined retaliation – per your suggestion – as my entertainment.

  6. I’m too chicken to try the ‘bottom threatener’, but it sounds like fun… though what happens if they don’t get it out from under in time? My hats off to you brave individuals, keep calm and bottoms out!

  7. Hrm…I support your stance. Unless specifically saving it for a friend, that seat is fair game!

    Now would I rather sit next to you or a bag? Hrm….that’s a tough question.

  8. Thanks Tamsen. Bottom threatening is not for the faint of bum. If there is a collision, you should immediately pop up and say, “Oh my: someone forgot their bag on this chair! Did someone lose their bag?” Then the offender will have to sheepishly admit their infraction, or you’ll take their item to the Lost & Found.

    Thanks Trevor, RBB. Interesting thought re the possible saving of a seat, but I think transit seating is different from other forms of seating where everyone gets a seat, so it’s a matter of saving seats to sit next to your friends. On transit, where the room can fill up and not everyone gets a seat, I think – unless the friend is rushing to the train – saving of seats is not (and should not be) a regular part of passenger convention. (Otherwise, people will have to stand during the journey, while you a hold seat for a friend who might join us later in the trip.) Regardless, in this case, during my twenty minute ride with the bag owner, I did not get the pleasure of meeting any of his friends (other than Mr. Bag).

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