There is this small thing that drives me crazy when it comes to Florentine teenagers. I am sure that what I am about to recount happens in many other countries, but I am just not used to this type of behavior and I will never be ok with it.
The story goes back to the days when my belly was a giant basketball hitting everything in its path. During my pregnancy I had to use the bus a lot and at first I never wanted to sit down, but as time went by, my pregnant belly got bigger and I couldn’t stand up so much while riding the bus. And that’s when it all started. No matter how pale I looked or how much my eyes begged for a seat, no one would stand up for me to sit down. The only ones who would have offered me their seat in a heart beat were the old people, but they were standing up to. I remember this one time when I was only ten days away from my due day, I got on the tram and I started having pains. I looked around. Teenagers, or people my age, all looking away or in their phones trying to find a way to avoid giving me their spot. I couldn’t understand. My whole life I was raised to never try and ignore other people’s problems or needs and most of all I was always told that common sense is the first step to being a just and dependable human being; so I could never look away if an old person is standing next to me, a child or a pregnant woman.
Today I was sharing the small space of the bus with too many people. Teenagers everywhere, all looking into their phones or reading. Next to me a young woman was holding something and kept trying to balance it. I looked down and I saw a five year old, with a contorted face, begging his mother to find him an empty chair. He wasn’t crying, nor speaking, but his eyes were pleading desperately. In front of him, two teenagers sitting down, one looking into his phone, one glancing out the window occasionally looking at the kid with an expressionless face. I thought what would have happened in my country in this situation. At least ten people would have jumped the teenager and throw him out of the bus just for being disrespectful. So, I just acted. Out of nowhere I felt my blood boiling and remembered those pregnancy days. I kept thinking that this not just a hormonal, teenage problem, this is lack of common sense, lack of respect mostly towards their own selves than towards other people. I placed my hand on his shoulder and asked him to stand up for the kid to sit down. He looked at me shocked and intrigued, first looking at the kid as if he had never seen him before and then looking at me as if I was a horrible person. The next minute the eyes of at least ten teenagers were fixating me like I had committed a capital sin; I had interfered with their undisturbed silence.
I couldn’t get it. I still can’t. I know the feeling when you are so tired or don’t feel like giving your spot to someone else, but to get to this extreme point and start ignoring everything around you is a bit too much. And it’s not just this teenager, this situation happens a lot in Florence’s buses and it makes my blood boil. So what’s wrong with these kids? Is common sense a lost value in this generation? Is it a cultural thing or what? I just don’t get it.