They should say “priority seats for those who can get to them the quickest.” Because that’s what they really are.
The wording isn’t quite right - any suggestions? I am genuinely considering getting some stickers made and putting them under the real ones, because then people might actually notice, even if only for a week.
The reason is that commuting for me is like I’m being punished for mistakes in past lives, even more than anyone else who uses the central line or London buses at rush hour, and they must have all been absolute despots before too. I don’t look disabled at a glance, but I do look disabled if you see me walk or try to hold something, so occasionally I do get offered a seat.
The problem is that on tubes i often can’t get near enough to a seat to be offered one. I can’t hold the bars, so the only alternative for me is to lean against the wall at one end of the carriage. I have a bump on the back of my head due to pressure against the carriage doors.
A couple of times someone has got up to offer me a seat and, by the time I’ve hobbled over, all grateful smiles, some other bastard has nipped in there. This happened yesterday and the woman who’d taken the seat was so immersed in her headphones that she couldn’t hear the bloke who’d got up for me, or another woman, asking her to move.
The worst is the bus. They wobble more than trains, so it’s really fucking hard to keep balance. And, unlike the tube, you can always see me lurching around.
To clarify: I have rheumatoid arthritis in all my joints below my neck. My feet, arms, hands, shoulders and hips are particularly swollen and immobile. Every step hurts and I can’t raise my arms above my shoulder height and all my limbs are tender and visibly huge and hard, like I have an infection. I have no grip in my right hand, and some in my left but there the wrist is worse, and I’m right-handed.
Being pressed against the glass of the tube carriage wall yesterday was particularly fun. Oh, yay, now every single part of my swollen body is being squished! Imagine that you have a sprained ankle and someone is pushing on it, but for the whole body.
I’m just venting, really, except for the sticker idea, which would be fun.
To a certain extent the tube passengers at rush hour can’t be blamed because I can’t get close enough to their seats for them to pretend not to see me. Bus passengers, however, don’t have that excuse.
I’m just so pissed off and tired and in pain from commuting that I’m not sure I can work at all any more. The last two times I got a bus, I fell off it because my legs couldn’t cope any more and the gap between bus and road was so deep. This is a bus that covers what would have previously been a 7-minute walk from the tube.
Note: please don’t suggest that I get a cane. I can’t hold one. Any kind of cane. Even the one your friend with osteoarthritis in the legs uses. Even this special sort of cane that you hold in a different way. Even this magic cane you read about on the Internet. My hands look like rubber gloves filled with water and I can’t hold a bloody cane.