Between Two Stops
I was taking the bus the other day, every day now since my license was temporarily suspended because of unpaid parking tickets, and I noticed a sign advertising the fact that at night, if asked, the bus driver will stop between two stops in an attempt to make it safer for women taking public transportation at night. On one hand, I think it’s an interesting service, but on the other it kind of annoys me as well.
It annoys me that we live in a world where such measure are needed. It annoys me that it is a service designed for women. Oh, I’m sure they would also stop for men who would like to stop closer to where they live or to where they are going, but I wonder how many people actually make us of this service. I mean, the underlying assumption is that the person making the request is in need of extra protection and by definition weak. I think it’s hard for anyone to ask for that extra help, to show that they are vulnerable to exterior circumstances that may or may not come to be. I know I’ve always tried to play it cool, to pretend that it didn’t matter that I’m a woman and that I could go anywhere or do anything alone.
The reality is different, though, isn’t it? Feelings of discomfort and vulnerability aside, I’m glad that this “between two stops” service exists because in some cases it would probably change circumstances for the best. I’m lucky, because the bus stops directly in front of my apartment building. Ok, sometimes that makes me unlucky because of the noise that it makes, but I do have the ease of walking straight into my building. A privilege, unfortunately, that not everyone can claim. Walking home at night can be daunting for anyone and especially if you are a woman. Writing that down makes me want to barf, but it’s still the reality. An unescapable reality for the moment, I’m afraid.