I got on the metro. The women and children only section was full - no seats, but I wasn't going to hunt in the other section for accomodation. I had resigned myself to standing for the journey when a few seats opened up. I looked, but decided not to make a move. For one thing, I didn't think I had that far to go. Mapping here is very misleading. You think you are close and then you end up walking for half an hour to get to the fish market.
I also liked being able to see out the window and to people watch. There are faces from all over here. It's quite the human smorgasbord. The one thing the women seem to have in common is that almost everyone is in flat shoes. They know about the walking for half an hour part.
But the woman who was standing next to me sat, scooched over, and beckoned to me. "There is room," she said.
It seemed ungracious to decline.
But as soon as I sat, an older woman got on. I looked at her. Looked at the tired look on her face. Should I offer her my seat or not? She wasn't that much older than I, I don't think, but I hadn't been working hard all day. Yes, I had been working, but not very hard. And not all day. My meetings had finished early.
I didn't know what to do. It seemed weird to offer my seat to someone else right after someone had made room for me, so I did nothing.
A few minutes passed. Another older woman got on at the next stop. The young woman next to me immediately offered her seat. The older woman took it. Then there was another space next to her. The older woman's daughter sat next to her.
I looked at the standing older woman. She looked tired. I didn't know what to do. I knew I should offer my seat but now it was so long after she'd gotten on the train. I dithered. We went on for another few minutes.
The daughter looked at her sister, who was standing, and said (I gather this is what she said - I don't speak Arabic) that the sister should sit for a while.
The standing daughter shook her head. The standing older lady said, "You are younger than she is!"
The standing daughter laughed and agreed. She remained standing. I thought, "I should have offered my seat to the older standing lady. I know better than that. But now it seems way too late."
A few more stops. The sitting older lady and her daughters departed. Another standing woman indicated the available seats to the older standing lady.
"No!" the older standing lady laughed. "I am young!"