With greasy hair and yesterday’s clothing we boarded the trolley at 7:00 AM on Friday morning. I balanced with a crate in my left hand, holding onto the bar with my right while I squeezed as far down the crowded aisle as I could. My boyfriend scouted for seats, finally snagging one for me after we had already pulled underground a solid ten minutes later. Fast forward to a minute after sitting down. A woman rises from her seat and pushes her way down the aisle towards the back exit, but before leaving she gives me some serious stink eye.
“You brought your cat on the trolley?!”
It sounds innocent enough when written down, but her harsh, judgmental tone cut through my already self-conscious thoughts.
I could have fought back with snark. We thought she’d like it! You know, Friday morning rush hour, just riding the rails with our cat. We’re doing this for her!
Or bitchier. I can’t believe you brought yourself on the trolley.
Or simpler. Fuck off.
“We have to go to the vet,” I responded. As curt as I could. Which, in all honesty, probably didn't sound curt at all. For those that don’t know me, it was probably not in any way evident that I was steaming underneath. I tend to grin and bear it, as they say, or to think of something way better to say after a solid five minutes (and then write it down). The woman of course, repeated herself after she got off the trolley to the man she was with, somehow loud enough that I could hear her through the still open doors.
My poor little feisty ball of fur. It’s not like Claudia, my kitten, was the first pet to ever travel on board Septa, nor will she be the last. For three days I watched as she refused to eat, vomited, and snuggled at my feet. I tried can after can of food. Perhaps she was just being as snobby as I when it comes to brands and had decided that her Friskies Tuna shreds were below her. Perhaps she craved the organic lobster and tuna in a crab meat sauce that I could purchase for quadruple the price. The selections were unending, but her lack of appetite continued.
Now I’ve been taking Septa almost every day for the last five years. I’ve traveled with huge suitcases, grocery bags piled at my feet, and even huge potted plants that would have been really comfortable in their own personal spot. I spent three months commuting with a gigantic boot on my leg and only on a handful of occasions was I offered a seat. Septa even came out with new signs on board the trolley this year that read:
DUDE, IT’S RUDE...
because a whole lot of people refuse to scooch over or put their backpack on their lap. Some days we've got a few people competing over who can play their music louder, or someone’s picking a fight because another person bumped into them, or there’s probably some kids and/or parents yelling. It seems too often people don't offer their seat to a pregnant woman, an elderly person, or someone carrying a young child or a stroller. Instead, (and I am guilty of it too) we sit with our headphones in and our phones out, ignoring the people around us until we see something we don’t like.
heavy heeled when walking; heavy handed when pouring a drink