Monday, May 25, 2009


It's been a jam-packed Memorial Day weekend, and we even managed to see a parade. Somehow we got the whole clan out our door by 7:15, and on the 8:11 to Maplewood (kids ride free). We got to see Coco's best friend march by with her Brownie troop, then missed the duck races in favor of hanging out in and around their house. I can kind of see the logic in Ian's argument for a back yard, but I'm not ready to give up apartment living and the wonderful things we're close to just yet. (And when I do, we'll still stay in Brooklyn, somehow.)
On the train back, which was a fairly empty double decker, the five of us were hoping we could get the seats in the two-facing-two configuration, but both of those seats were taken up by relatively young women with their big bags and their feet up on the other seats, chatting away on cell phones. They looked at the five of us blankly, then continued to talk to their (absent) friends. Ian sat next to Coco, and I sat next to Washington in front of them, and each of us gave the speech that apparently the other passengers never got from their parents. To wit: If you are traveling alone, leave the group seats for groups of people. Now, on the subway back into Brooklyn, several people got up to make room so that my tired four-year-old boy and I (who had the baby in a sling) could sit down. While I was expecting, and when I wear the baby now, I am offered a seat on the subway or bus at least 95% of the time, usually without my even looking at the people sitting. Often, Maria Louise is calmer if I stand, or we're only going one stop, and I have to insist to people that I don't need them to get up. Now, it's tempting to make this into a suburbs vs. city thing, but I've seen thoughtless behavior on the subway too, though not nearly as often.
As one of my favorite podcasters, the Modern Manners Guy, says, manners means not assuming that you are more important than other people. I want my kids to grow up with excellent manners, especially on public transit, and I hope they will.

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