|a photo from the internet, the blue sky makes me realize how grey its been|
Coming from a sprawling city where I’ve been unable to take advantage of the limited local bus system, I love public transportation in Poznan, especially the trams. We live near a tram stop and this light rail system will get me within a short walk of almost everywhere that I want to go – the old square, shopping malls, the football stadium, all without the delays associated with traffic jams or worries about parking.
I was a little crunched for time last week. It was Thursday, so that means I had Bible study with a group of English speaking women. We had guests coming for dinner, and it was a friend’s birthday. Of course, I wanted to drop off a cake, so I spent the morning decorating a birthday cake that will be posted on my food blog next month before going to my class.
|We delivered Remi’s cake late that night to Cocktails of Dreams; he seemed to enjoy it.|
I decided I would save time by skipping my daily visit to the gym and just walk home from Stary Browar. It’s about three miles, so I walked home from Bible study at Starbucks rather than taking the tram. By combining my exercise and travel time, I think I added 30 minutes of free time to my busy afternoon – a model of efficiency, but as I walked along in the drizzling rain being passed by tram after tram, I began to doubt my wisdom. I had both a monthly tram pass and a gym membership card in my wallet. I’d paid good money for tram and gym privileges, and yet I was walking for exercise. Hmmm?
Now, onto another tram matter. Polish young people have been raised to offer their seat on the tram to seniors. A sign of respect that you don’t see everywhere. We were riding the U-bahn in Berlin when a very pregnant woman boarded the train, 9 months, no kidding. I was sitting 5 or 6 seats from the doorway where she and her husband were standing. After living in Poznan, I kept expecting to see someone hop up and offer her a seat. When it didn’t happen, I finally caught her eye and asked if she’d like mine. I don’t know if she spoke English, but she got the idea and gratefully accepted, walking past many seated young men to get to my seat.
My husband is in his early 60s, a former football player, fighter pilot, who thinks nothing of walking 18 holes of golf, a virile fellow with an the outlook on life of a much younger man. I’ll never forget the phone call, before I moved to Poland, when he said that a girl had offered him her seat on the tram. He was shocked, certainly she didn’t think he looked like he needed to sit down. It was kind of funny. This has happened more than once. It’s a dilemma. You don’t want to discourage someone from offering this kindness. Not to mention that you’d have the Polish version on AARP after you for ruining a good deal. It also happens when we’re on the trams together. Does he kindly accept their offer and leave his wife standing? I’m eight years younger, so people aren’t hopping up to give me their seat yet. It’s nice; I appreciate their politeness, but it’s can also be a little awkward. Generally, we just try to avoid the appearance of looking for a seat and stand if the tram is full. As Ed says, you see more out the window if you’re standing up.
I have noticed some mature Poles demanding this curtsey. They’ll lean in on the seated person, staring at them, sometimes even telling them something in Polish, which I assume is that they should be getting up. I can only assume that my American style of dress makes me look younger than I really am. You don’t see Polish women of 55 wearing blue jeans and hiking boots. I’ve had women my own age do this to me, without the spoken word – just the body language.
Who is to say who is more capable of standing. Sometimes the arthritis in my feet really bothers me which is why I wear hiking boots to walk on cobblestones rather than something cuter. Perhaps, doctors should issue some sign that there is a medical reason for someone to have priority seating much like a disabled parking sticker for cars. Maybe a younger person is recovering from an injury or just worked a 12 hour shift.