As I stepped onto the train this morning, I was immediately bombarded with a girl loudly proclaiming that people needed to find Jesus as their savior. First off, having started this whole blogging nonsense, it made me realize that I need to carry my camera around wherever I go. 'Cause I'd love to have a photo of her up right now. Alas, I was sans camera, so you'll just have to make up what she looks like.
But back to the point. I didn't honestly listen to everything she was saying, as I was trying intently to listen to a thrilling episode of Radiolab. I must digress again for a second here. If you haven't had the pleasure of listening to this incredible radio program yet, you're really missing out. You can download the podcast for free from iTunes - just search for Radiolab or NPR in the podcast directory. I promise you won't regret it.
ANYWHO. So this woman on the train...she was speaking rather loudly, so despite my attempts to block her out and be an NPR dork, I couldn't help but overhearing some of what she was saying. Here's the one that really stuck out in my mind:
"If you see a pregnant woman on the train, don't let her stand. She might say it's okay, she can stand. But don't let her stand. Hold Jesus in your heart and get up for her."
I'm probably paraphrasing that a little, but that was basically the gist of it. Now, I'm all about standing up for pregnant women, elderly people, even just women in general when I'm on the train. I usually feel so bad about sitting down when there's a woman standing up that I'll pretend like I'm getting out at the next station and get up so that whatever woman is standing next to me can sit down. Because while I feel bad about sitting down, I also don't know whether a particular woman is going to find it offensive that I'm offering her my seat. Geez...you think I overthink things sometimes?! And sometimes it backfires on me when whatever douchebag guy standing there decides HE wants to sit down instead.
Okay, I'm rambling. My real point here is...do I really need Jesus to tell me that I should give my seat to a pregnant woman?! I'm sorry to anyone reading this who is Christian and is offended by this...I'm really not trying to offend. But I just think there is a set of rules that we're all supposed to live by, and while it's true that those values are somewhat based in Christianity, they have completely become their own entity. Basically, I've met Christian assholes and non-Christian assholes, and I don't think their faith or lack thereof has anything to do with whether or not they offer their seat to a pregnant woman.
What's really interesting about this whole incident is that, in this particular instance, and I really don't think I've ever seen this...someone actually talked back to her. This guy got fed up enough with her pronouncements that he began to shoot back.
"See, the problem is, no one can get away from what you're saying here. If you were on the street, I'd be fine with this, but people HAVE to listen to what you're saying, and that's not fair."
I was...well...impressed in a weird way. She was pissing me off too. In this city of every culture and religion you could ever want, she was forcing people to listen to her tell them to accept Jesus as their lord and savior. And he was calling her on it. Sometimes I wish I had more balls and could speak my mind like that. I suppose it didn't do anything or make any real difference in the world, but the guy felt it was wrong and decided to say something about it. And you know what...I know there were 100 other people in that same subway car that wanted to say the same thing and didn't. Just like me. And I guess I just appreciate that he felt strong enough in his convictions to be the one that spoke up.
Oh, and did I mention that I love New York?! Goddamn, I really do.
*P.S. As I was on the train heading home from work, about 2 hours after I had finished writing this, a pregnant woman got on the train and I gave her my seat. Seriously...how can you not just chuckle at life sometimes?