I’d been working in the CBD – I love the city, the atmosphere, the fact that decent coffee is close at hand and I love the atmosphere on the street. Buskers playing their songs, people just going about their business. The homeless guy on the corner selling copies of The Big Issue.
It’s a 45 minute tram ride home and there are 10 different tram routes along Swanston St in Melbourne, so figuring out which tram is yours isn’t always a smooth process. But luckily I have an iPhone app that can at least narrow down the process. It shows a wheelchair symbol for low floor trams. And occasionally 2 out of the 10 routes might have a low floor tram so that means there’s a 1 in 2 chance of you getting the right tram.
So I hop on my tram. It’s quite crowded. I put my backpack at my feet and fold up my cane. I grab on to a nearby pole – standing without leaning or holding onto something can present challenges as the tram lurches forward and back.
Minding my own business, thinking about the day at work and what I might do for dinner – I hear a woman’s voice off in the distance. ‘I AM DISGUSTED!’ she exclaims. I feel a cringe coming over me as her voice gets louder. She is approaching where I am standing and repeating those same words over and over for all to hear. ‘I AM DISGUSTED!’. She gets to me and exclaims ‘NOONE HAS OFFERED YOU A SEAT!’. I am always confused by this. This assumption that you need to be sitting down because you have a vision impairment. I don’t have any issues with my legs. Or physical strength. Or balance. But she continues. ‘That girl there, on her iPad, she should offer you a seat! That man there on his phone, he could stand up!’. She goes on, pointing out unsuspecting fellow commuters for this seat crime that they had committed.
I had a bus driver once who exclaimed ‘SIT DOWN PLEASE’ when I got on a bus. Did he have some bad news to tell me that I needed to sit down for?