CTA and RTA request that riders on public transportation give special seating consideration to senior citizens, people with disabilities and pregnant women. “Priority seats” on buses and trains are to be given up to seniors and people with disabilities, and passengers are asked in general to stand up for seniors, people with disabilities and expectant mothers.

I was surprised to read a complaint in one of the Chicago papers from a man who resented the request to give up seats to pregnant women. He felt that if women were liberated enough to work outside the home, they should also be able to stand up like anybody else. Hmmm. I wondered if this man had any children, and if so, what in the world did he demand of his mate during her pregnancy. And … to think that some woman birthed this inconsiderate clod.

Some female friends and I were discussing this man’s lack of compassion, and we lamented the fact that we had no magic wands or other means of making physiological changes in this man that would make him nine-months pregnant forever and compelled to stand on buses and trains as they swayed and jerked.

We came up with a wish list of symptoms that this man would experience forever, symptoms that many pregnant women experience. This pregnant man would have feet that swelled and had to be squeezed into shoes too tight for his new melon-like appendages; a back that constantly ached from the weight of the baby and worsened with the stress and strain of buses and trains turning, bumping and braking; constant fatigue and unquenchable thirst; a constant urge to urinate; and a baby kicking his ribs incessantly.

To top off the list, this very pregnant man would always have to stand in front of passengers who talked about pregnant people “staying at home where they belong.”

A pregnant pause.

Peggy Tarr

Peggy Tarr has been a columnist for the Evanston RoundTable since its founding in 1998. Born in Bruce Springsteen's hometown of Freehold, New Jersey, she graduated from Rutgers University with a degree...