I am not a morning person. When this first became apparent during my elementary school days, my mom gave me a t-shirt with a picture of a kitten sleeping in a coffee mug with the words “I don’t do mornings” written above it. Ironically I have been known to hiss at people who try to wake me up. But I am technically an adult and therefore must do my adulting, which just happens to involved getting up around 6am for my new job.
I silently cursed the rising sun as my weary body forced itself to walk the two blocks to the bus stop. I wanted to be that kitten happily slumbering in the cup, not the human version of grumpy cat. And of course I woke up too late to make coffee. As I climbed aboard the bus I was aghast to find my only seating options were to sit sideways or share a seat. In my desire to shield any unsuspecting seatmate from the wrath of un-caffeinated Tanya I reluctantly sat in a sideways seat and awaited the nausea. At least that’s what I told myself. Really I was just Seattle frozen.
By the time I got on to my transfer bus for the remaining few stops, I was content to take one of the reserved seats in the front. I was just returning to the workforce after a severe hip flexor/left lower back sprain left me unable to walk or even stand for more than a few minutes at a time. This wasn’t just my first time commuting to a new job; it was the first time I had been able to walk those two blocks to get on a bus. And I was sore! So yes, I sat in the reserved seating. Next to me there was a man with a walker. Across from him was a woman with a cane. Next to her, a young woman with her baby fast asleep in a stroller. I was the only one that didn’t have an easily visible disability, which became a problem when a man in a wheelchair boarded the bus two stops before I got off. Of course I would have moved because it was the right thing to do. However, before I could manage the woman sitting in the first non-reserved seat started pointing at me and loudly proclaiming that I would need to get up. Keep in mind I still haven’t had my coffee. Before I could process what she was saying, she repeated herself, then pointed at the man rolling onto the bus ramp, then pointed that damn finger back at me again. I suddenly wished I was grumpy cat, and then I could bite her and get away with it. Apparently I wasn’t moving fast enough while I was fantasizing about assault with a toothy weapon, because there it was again, the scolding finger judging me. Then the rest of her fingers got involved and she progressed to full on gesturing. And I still hadn’t had any coffee. So I looked her straight in the eye and sternly said “just because I don’t look disabled doesn’t mean I’m not injured. I have a severe hip sprain and I need a seat.” She looked mortified. At this point the bus driver asked if I was okay and made finger lady get up so I could have her seat. That was the first time I truly smiled that day. You see, sometimes its better to stay frozen then be caught wishing you could melt into a puddle.