White Teeth

I must confess I am fascinated by Zadie Smith.

I was reading Zadie Smith’s ‘White Teeth’ today on the tube. You know that moment when you are deeply immersed, engulfed in a book and completely oblivious of your surroundings? That was this morning.

I was sat on the priority seat of the train for older, disabled people, pregnant women, you know, women with young children etc.  Now please tell me how one is meant to be oblivious, yet aware of every single person who has walked into the train.

I notice the person next to me got up and another woman sat. She was pregnant. I look up. I look around, I got the ugly looks of “you are such a horrible person”. It’s as if this pregnant woman had stood for a second longer than she should and people were anticipating that my oblivion would end due to this and in an instance I would be more ‘human’ to notice, perhaps with the eyes on my forehead. But I didn’t. After pregnant lady is seated, this even attracts more attention and then more of the evil stares of murder, as I rapidly buried my face back into my book. I am not a bad person, honestly. I usually give up my seats for older citizens and even those who look ‘old’. I give up my seat for pregnant women and for those ladies who I am not particularly sure if they are pregnant or just have enormous bellies. I used to contemplate whether to get up when I wasn’t sure as it was quite offensive when I realized they were not actually always pregnant;  but now I just say ‘to hell with it’ if having a big belle is what it takes to get a seat on the tube, have it. sod it! You might as well.. ‘White Teeth’ …(no comments)

P.S I have always wondered what disabilities mean to people. If I were mentally disabled, are people supposed to somehow figure that one out, – and then give up their seats on the train for me? I guess not! Maybe these priority signs need to be more specific on disabilities. The last time I recall seeing a mentally disabled person (I.e the psychotic depressive maniac) on the train, people were not just giving up their seats, they ran out hysterically off the train!!!  Oh well…


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