I was standing on a very crowded bus yesterday when we came to a stop and a few people got on, including an old woman. It was obvious that she wanted to sit down, but there were no free seats and nobody got up to offer her one. Everyone had boarded the bus but it didn’t move.
“Is somebody going to give this woman a seat?” the bus driver finally asked, pointedly, over the speaker. At this point somebody did indeed get up and offer her his seat, which she accepted. Once she was sitting comfortably, the bus got going again. “It’s nice to be important,” announced the bus driver, “but it’s more important to be nice.”
This left me with two questions:
1. How can I possibly not have heard this platitude before? Its symmetry and simplicity place it on par with “When you assume you make an ass out of u and me,” a platitude I first heard (and found profound and revealing) at the age of nine. How can my ears not have lost their virginity to this one?
2. Why was I deeply moved? Have I gone over the edge? E.S. points out that I am particularly vulnerable to the pathos of old women in movies and on television; was this an extension of that vulnerability? Or have I jumped the shark?