Two moments on public transit by Beth Winegarner

Morning. I'm sitting on the bus, in one of this disabled seats, because my balance is poor, my knees are in bad shape, and most of the other seats are full. 

A man, holding a cane and getting ready to exit the bus, turns to me and says, "You should be ashamed!"

"Why?" I ask. 

"Because I'm 67 and disabled and here you are, sitting in one of these seats!" He's in the doorway now. 

"I'm disabled too, thank you!" I yell as he exits. 

(Why did I say, "Thank you?")

Afternoon. I'm on the subway, sitting in a window seat with my bag in the aisle seat next to me. A man on a cell phone is standing in the aisle, hovering. I gesture to my stuff, ask if he wants to sit, and he nods. I clear the space and he sits. 

I put my headphones on, start playing Heart's Greatest Hits on my iPod, partly because some kids are playing loud music and dancing for spare change. A few minutes later, my seatmate taps me and asks, "Where are you getting off the train?"

I hate when men I don't know ask me that. 

"Why do you ask?" I say, wary. 

"Oh! Because I wanted to take a little nap, but I want to be able to let you out, and I'm wondering how much time I have," he says, chuckling. 

I laugh, relieved. "Berkeley. You've got a little time."

I let him sleep, listening to "Magic Man," "Crazy On You," "Dreamboat Annie" and "Barracuda," and wake him gently when the train reaches my stop.