On the 48 this morning, I sat behind a father who was taking his preschool-age son on the bus for the first time. The two of them seemed to be having a great time: the son, excited about the bell, the big seats, the beeping of bus passes as they slid through the reader; the father, happy to answer his son’s questions about what was what and why, chuckling at the boy’s occasional outbursts (That’s a big truck!/Did a bad guy mess up that building?/Three blue cars!). It was a beautiful father-son bonding experience–that is, until, about three stops from Montlake, when an average-sized, middle-aged man got on, and the little boy shouted, in the same excited tone he’d used to point out the truck, “Ooh! Look at that big fat guy!”
On my next ride, I experienced a parenting first of my own: 25 weeks into my pregnancy, on a standing-room only bus, someone actually offered me a seat. (I didn’t take it, since I felt able to stand.) Of course I was grateful but also, for some odd reason, embarrassed. It’s strange to be on the other end of that offer.