When we were children my mother was extremely keen that we gave up our seats to the elderly on trains and buses; any show of reluctance, the slightest dragging of feet risked the threat of bedtime half an hour earlier than usual.
I have reached that age when I am now the recipient of offers of a seat, too often from depressingly pretty young women. They mean well but I try to avoid their kindness by hiding in the corners of the tube carriage my cap pulled well down over my eyes. There are, I know, worse things to remind of one of one’s age, a young woman recently offered to carry a distinguished journalist colleague of mine’s suitcase. It wasn’t even a big suitcase.
It can be difficult to refuse. Recently, in an underground carriage full of hard faced bankers and accountants on their way home from the City a woman in a full burka got up for me. Here indeed was a dilemma for the editor of the Salisbury Review. A virtual neon sign ‘Moral Lesson’ in Islamic Green began flashing above my head as I reluctantly took her seat. I felt like an experimental subject taking part in a bizarre exercise in tolerance. Refuse and you are a racist, accept and you might be mistaken for a Guardian reader.
There is one exception to the general benevolence of strangers – children. These days it is common to board a train and see several seats taken by five to ten year olds, many wearing the sullen stare of entitlement that comes from not being brought up by hand. They never get up, indeed in some cases adults get up for them. I watched a very old man get on the train the other night and shuffle almost the entire length of the carriage – followed by the stares of these little Macburger fed monsters – before an adult passenger got off leaving him a vacant seat.
I think this is what educationalists like the drivelling Head of Ofsted I heard on the radio the other day would call ‘special needs’. “We need more than you do, and we will need even more in the future”. I was reminded of the film ‘Soylent Green‘ where in a future world of over population and crop failure the elderly were euthanised and turned into biscuits….[pullquote]
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Re the responses to both the venom-spitting and phlegm-spitting comment, the responders make the presumption that those behind the burkhas were female.
Having spent some time in Saudi Arabia, things are rarely ever as they seem, believe me!
As for the ability to spit from behind a burkha, surely there’s a flap which can be lifted to enable the wearer to eat ….. and spit?
I am in my 60s. A few years ago while I was seated on an Underground train in the summer. The train was packed. At one station a family got on. The parents were obese and scantily clad in shorts and tee shirts. Their three children were similar. The oldest child, a girl, looking for a seat, came up to mine and, finding it occupied, glowered at me fiercely. Madam Entitlement indeed.
Fascinating re the full-burkha woman.
My two principal such personal experiences with full-burka folk have been:
-a hissing, unprompted by any utterance of mine, from one sitting next to me that:”We will out-breed you”.
-one, unkown to me, and with no signal from me, one or the other, seeing me walking along, and turning to spit in my path.
Isn’t it a bit difficult to spit if you are wearing a burka ?
Well, Mr Black? Do you have an answer? It looks very much as if our esteemed Editor has caught you making stuff up.
Mr Black may have taken poetic licence. But tell me this, PJR: do you know and can you define the difference between a burka, a niqab, a hijab, a shayla, a khimar, a chador, and an al-amira? If so, you have no place in England, aside from perhaps Bradford and the like.
I find it equally hard to believe that a Muslim Woman in a burka, steeped in the tradition of reticence and avoiding all contact with men, would engage in a conversation which a white non Muslim stranger that included the remark ‘we will outbreed you’ .
Yes, we must reverse the expectation.
Let us turn into biscuits these children of entitlement and false-quality -and, of course, their awful parents.
” ….. but I try to avoid their kindness by hiding in the corners of the tube carriage, my cap pulled well down over my eyes.”
You need to be careful or you will get the reputation or being a dirty old man and, in this day and age, accusations of molestation and worse hurled at you.
Life as a biscuit may well have its virtues in the nightmare to come!