Chivalry is as dead as a doornail. And nowhere is it more apparent than on an OC Transpo bus writes On Track reader, Christopher Ivany.
In an e-mail, Ivany reports “… you would be hard pressed to find a single ‘young person’ who’s willing to give up their seat to an elderly individual or a pregnant woman or someone with special needs.”
Just to be clear: Designated seats must be relinquished to the passengers they have been designated to.
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This isn’t chivalry – this is mandatory and a bit of a no-brainer, in my opinion. Who can relax while someone’s grandmother is struggling to keep her balance holding on to the pole? Give her your seat and stop embarrassing your mother already.
No, the real scene of the crime is beyond the designated seating area, in the middle and the back of the bus where the rules get a little murkier and we have to rely on innate civility to survive. In public transit, this is where chivalry was bumped off.
In my completely unscientific investigation into the death of chivalry, I’ve expanded the culprits beyond just youth, however. I’ve narrowed the field to three: the youth, the harassed commuter, and the crank.
The youth claims to have no knowledge of chivalry’s demise, being hard-wired to a cell phone at the time. When pressed for answers, Youth declared, “I didn’t even know the dude.” Chivalry’s mourners can take comfort: He’s only going to get older.
Harassed commuter admitted to seeing the older woman weighted down with the shopping bags, but said he couldn’t give up his seat — world peace depended on it. He broke down later under questioning however, saying that he acted in self-defence since he’d had a brute of a day, and why do these retired seniors always pick rush hour to come home with their shopping anyway?
The crank openly admitted his part in chivalry’s demise. “Sure, I did it and I’m not sorry. Some of those so-called pregnant women are stronger than I am.” Tough to argue with that logic, that’s why he’s dubbed the crank.
Chivalry, by definition, means ‘courteous behaviour.’ Giving up one’s seat on the bus to someone who needs it more won’t necessarily bring chivalry back to life.
But for the space of those few minutes, at least it’ll have a pulse.