I take a train home from work every workday, from HarbourFront to Kovan. Taking the train from HarbourFront, being the final stop on the NEL (North-East Line), I am almost guaranteed a seat. You’d think this was a good thing; I know I did. But lately I’ve been questioning the value that sitting gave me.
The problem lies in that I cannot bear to see oldish or pregnant-looking people stand while I sit. Most of the time I’d much prefer to give up my seat, but for some reason or another I don’t, leaving me feeling slightly ashamed and awkward throughout the journey.
You’d think that this would be easily solved if I just simply gave my seat up to these people. But it’s not so easy, for these reasons (not an exhaustive list, but representative):
- The person may not be really pregnant; just a little fat at the stomach.
- The person may not be really old; just looking old.
- There are sometimes two old people; who do I choose?
- I do not like the attention it brings.
I remember reading a saying by someone, whose name I unfortunately cannot recall, who said something along the lines of “discipline does not mean simply controlling yourself in the face of temptation, but rather, removing yourself from the face of temptation whenever possible, so that you will be less likely to succumb to it.”
I think that there is much truth to that bit of advice. If you know that you’re likely to do something negative under certain circumstances, and you are unable to change this behaviour, then change the circumstances. Thus, it is perhaps best for me to refuse a seat in the first place, and let others go through the pain of deciding whether or not to give up their seat.