The morality of selfishness

Is there a morality to selfishness?

I got on the Megabus this morning and immediately climbed to the upper deck, as the lower one seemed quite full already. The upper deck was pretty full too. All that was left were single seats next to other people. So I sat in an aisle seat right behind the seats in the front of the bus, next to the steps, and tried to settle in.

But the way the seats were configured, perpetually tilted back to allow for sleeping, I realized it would be impossible to pull my computer out and write. Which was the whole point in spending the money for the bus, so that I could use my time being productive. I looked at the row in front of me, which was the front of the bus and therefore had “leg room” — really more like “lap room” — and figured that would be the only spot on this bus where I could comfortably write.

But there was a young woman sleeping in the seat in front of me, with her stuff strewn all over the empty seat next to her and her legs stretched out onto the rail in front of the window, effectively taking up all the available space. The scene was repeated by a young man in the seat across the aisle: sleeping, legs stretched out, stuff strewn all over the empty seat. Everyone who got on the bus looked at the front seats, hesitated, then moved to the back of the bus. These two young people were hogging the good seats, but they looked too permanent and too settled in, and they were sleeping, besides, to disturb them. As if disturbing them was something no one had the right to do.

And I got mad.

At first I tried to make the best of my seat, but the more I thought about them the madder I got. I was wasting a lot of money because they were being selfish.

What gave them the right?

So I finally got mad enough to get bold enough to tap the girl on the shoulder, “waking her up” which I thought was probably an act, anyway, and asked if the seat next to her was taken.

I thought she might fight me, but she didn’t. As soon as I poked her, both her and the guy sprang into action, making a big production of grumbling and noisily moving their stuff, and the guy went and sat next to the girl, leaving me the two seats on the left.

So I sat down in the front seat, with my backpack duly between my feet, silently offering the seat next to me to whomever might get on the bus next.

But no one did.

So I ended up with two of the best seats to myself the whole way to Minneapolis, and it made me feel very uncomfortable.

Selfish, you might say.

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One response to “The morality of selfishness

  1. secretly the other passengers who didn’t do what you did HAD wished they had done what you did…good for you 🙂

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