Monday, 8 October 2007

SeatSavers (c)

There are two things I really really hate, and one of them is op-ed pieces by aggrieved journos bemoaning the cruelty and heartlessness of modern life. Every-so-often some Polly Filler or Lunchtime O'Booze gets on their high horse about people not being as civil as they would expect people to be, usually after they have had trouble flagging down a black cab, or walking into a door that someone failed to open for them. Their rage fills page after page of rag with screechings about the end of modern society. I just want to shake them into realising that people have a right to be assholes, and often people who think they act with utter ethical purity often accidentally cause the horrible things that annoy others, often without even realising it. It's just life.

Some are worse than others. Noted sanity-avoider Peter Hitchens recently delighted in the tale of a student fined something like a billion pounds for putting her feet on a train seat, saying that such actions were the only things we could do to ensure that our humanity can be saved. I wish I was joking, but I'm not. I would quote it, but I can't find it online, though I did find him saying on his blog that Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World was a bad movie, so I'm even more pissed now than I was before.

The other thing I really really hate is inconsiderate assholes not getting up for pregnant women on the Tube. Why aren't people as civil as they used to be? Is this the end of modern society? I know, I'm a monstrous hypocrite and should be banned from the Blogosphere immediately, but while shoved into the corner of a crowded Jubilee line train this morning, I watched a heavily pregnant woman forced to stand for at least five stops (I got on at Finchley Road, and she was already there) while several able-bodied people hogged seats and stared into the distance or bored holes of concentration in their books. I've heard of commuters demanding that other commuters get up and give up their seat for pregnant women before, but I don't have the bottle for that. So instead I stood and fumed impotently, as is my way.

It got me thinking, though. I've often been lucky enough to grab a seat on a Tube and have felt awfully protective of it, as if it is a wildebeest I have chased and killed. No suit-wearing lion is going to get my wildebeest seat, so back up! Of course, I don't have to commute very often, so it's only a slightly big deal, and I can look past it if necessary, and will get up if need be (cue round of applause for me). As for the selfish jerks on the Tube this morning, why weren't they able to see past their need for a seat? Were they all regular commuters so fried by the experience of having to stand on a train for an hour that they would now shut off their empathy circuits so that they could live with their seat-winning success while some distressed pregnant woman stands two feet away? [Yes. -- Canyon]

There's no way to change human behaviour short of going all MK Ultra on them, and that's not how I roll (plus, I can't afford the editing suite and big screen projection system required for full-on brainwashing). You can, however, charge people for being scumbags, so I came up with a new idea to make money for myself off the backs of suit-wearing pod people; SeatSavers! At the termini of the major tube lines, licensed SeatSaver employees take over every empty seat on a Tube, and for an outlay of £5-10, they will get up and give you that seat! Brilliant! Of course, they would get up for old people, the infirm, and especially pregnant women, free of charge. In the meantime, the dickhead in the pinstripe who is trying to bury his/her face and his/her guilt in a copy of The Kite Runner pays through the nose.

Unfair extortion, you say? Megalomania? Racketeering and profiting from a miserable service? Just another day on London Transport, I say.


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Admiral Neck said...

So, crescenet, you like my idea? Or not? I'm confused.