What I’m really thinking: the older man offered a seat on the bus

To accept the seat is to accept that new status – elderly, needy, requiring care – a status I am not yet ready to embrace

The teenager who offers me her seat is pretty, I notice. Am I still allowed to notice that? With the warmest of smiles, she rises and steps into the aisle with courtesy bordering on a curtsey. I am wrong-footed, then conflicted. “No,” I scream silently, stifling an internal laugh, “I come from a generation where I do that for you.” I realise immediately what a strange and bygone place that is.

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