Friday, 26 November 2010

Spreading the love on the tube...

This is my favourite time of year for cycling. Dry, crisp, cold and wonderful.

And I'm on the tube. Sigh.

The good news is that Eenie, the cause of my non-cycling commutes, is getting ever bigger. He (and he is a he we've discovered) is enjoying wriggling and kicking and has decided mummy's bladder is a glorious toy to be messed with whenever possible.

He's also getting heavier and, with my dodgy hips, the regular long stands on the tube are getting increasingly uncomfortable. After a week of ligament pain I gave in and decided to try out the TfL 'Baby on board!' badges.

Having approached three separate stations, two of whom had run out, I was handed two brand new shiny badges with not even a cursory glance to check I was, in fact, with child.

I decided to try the badge out on the way home. I forwent it from Herne Hill but, when I hit Farringdon at rush hour, I decided to go for it. I put it on, unzipped my coat to display the belly and stepped aboard the packed carriage. Nothing happened.

Crammed into a corner, no one had seen my badge. Sigh. I was resigned to another painful stand, refusing to ask for a seat in order to give the badge a proper go.

One stop in, a miracle occurred, a girl lunged for a seat but, as she started to sink down she looked up, saw the badge, and blushed. 'I'm so sorry! I've just seen your badge, would you like a seat?' Hurrah!

I thanked her profusely and sat down in relief, my hips were killing me. I thought the joy was over, but no.

Having witnessed this chivalry, the man next to me leapt to his feet and, turning to the lady who'd given her seat to me, exclaimed 'Please have my seat, I don't need it'. When she sat I thanked her again for giving up her seat and she said she was glad I was wearing the badge as she often worried that, especially with winter clothing, she might inadvertently offend someone by offering and the badge swept away that anxiety.

At the next stop a priority seat was left empty. Instead of the usual scrum to grab it, there was a lot of thoughtful looking around before an older lady stepped forward to sit down. I'd like to hope that the generosity showed by fellow commuters had reminded everyone that not everyone can stand.

I'll admit I felt bit awkward and naughty, a bit like I'd emotionally blackmailed the seat out from under another commuter. It was far outweighed by the physical relief of resting my aching pelvis though.

I won't wear the badge every day, but I'll certainly be whipping it out when I feel rough.

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