Thursday, November 02, 2006

Commuting is such fun

Take this morning, for example. It was cold but sunny when I left home, plodding along the country roads at a gentle pace towards the train station because for once in my life I wasn't running late. The train wasn't too crowded when it arrived (almost on time, too) and although there were no seats available there was plenty of standing room. I found a spot in the aisle, which is my favourite trick because that leaves me favourably placed in case someone who has a seat gets off at one of the outlying stations. On occasion I have been fortunate enough to not have to stand for the full 40-minute train journey.

So there I was, unhurried and stress-free, my MP3 player blaring sweetly in my ears, when movement from one of the seated passengers caught my eye. I really need to pay more attention to my surroundings, people. The two seats next to which I was standing were occupied by a guy and a girl, who I'd estimate to be in their very early twenties at the most. She was all in black, with her rather jelly-like boobs almost falling out of her top. Not something I wanted to spend too much time looking at. The movement, however, was coming from her companion, a little blonde-haired fella with blue eyes, also dressed in black, and flapping some sort of red scarf - sorry, bandana would probably be more accurate - around. To attract attention, obviously. He was looking at me, daring me to.. I don't know what. He seemed to be expecting some kind of confrontation. Instead, I gave him a wink, like a mother might give to a wilful child. He acknowledged this and turned back around. It was then that the smell of beer wafted up from his girlfriend's can to my nostrils. Pleasant odour, so early in the morning. I shifted position so I was facing away from them but I wasn't going to move away just because they were there, or just to avoid a situation. I may have mentioned this before: I don't like bullies. And I refuse to be intimidated. But at the same time, I'm not easily inclined to provoke an unpleasant situation.
{sigh} Unfortunately not everyone has the same attitude. About 10 minutes along the tracks our bandana-waving youngster must have decided he wasn't getting enough attention, or perhaps he is uncomfortable with the special kind of lazy silence that is typical of the morning commuter train, because all of a sudden I could no longer hear my MP3-player music because it was being drowned out by some ghetto / rap crap blasting out of said scumbag's ghetto-blaster. (I don't know if they still call them that but it certainly fits the situation.) Now, I while I realise there are some people who enjoy that sort of 'music' but quite frankly I find it offensive to hear a stream of bad language being bellowed out to a tuneless 'doof-doof-doof-yo' first thing in the morning. I'm sure most of my fellow passengers felt the same, judging by the look on their faces.
But... nobody said anything. They all just sat or stood there in agony and let this young asshole act out like a spoilt child.
See this is where I tend to get myself in trouble because I get REALLY pissed off when someone invades my space in any way.
So I took my one earphone out, leaned over and said (nicely, I might add, and without any filthy looks), "Would you turn that down a bit, please?"
I though the woman standing next to me was going to fall over and the rest of the passengers in the carriage looked at me with something approaching horror.
You know what happened next?
I put my earphone back in my ear and turned around again. And he turned down the volume.
And I wanted to shout at my fellow passengers: "Grow a pair, you spineless twits! He's one small spoilt brat - why do you let him treat you like this?!"
But I kept quiet and continued doing my best to ignore the young couple.
Which was going well right up until the bit where the man and his daughter sitting opposite them got up to leave the train two stops later.
What a dilemma! Here were two empty seats, and about twenty people standing in the carriage, who would normally just about step on each others' heads to get a seat. But because the seats were opposite the two young lushes, nobody made a move.
Nobody except me, that is. I figured, why should I stand for the next twenty minutes if I didn't have to?
So I went and sat down opposite these two, still listening to my MP3 player, and turned my head to watch the countryside speed by past the window. Not long afterwards an elderly woman and her husband moved down and she sat next to me, with he standing next to her with a protective hand on her shoulder.
By now the young oxygen-waster was bored again so he once more turned up the volume on his noise-maker, and once again everyone around just looked pained, but said nothing. I gave him one filthy look then turned my head again to ignore him, which I did successfully for the rest of the journey.
He turned it down after a while when he realised he wasn't getting a reaction.
And in the end, I almost felt I was as bad as the rest of the passengers, just letting this boy get away with anti-social behaviour. But there were a few things that stopped me doing or saying anything further:
One: my husband's voice in my head saying, "He's just trying to get a rise out of you. Don't give him the satisfaction."
Two: the fact that they had both been drinking and we all know that trying to reason with a drunk person is like trying to convince a woman with PMS that chocolate is a bad thing.
Three: fantasizing about smashing his head repeatedly against the window until he stopped. Just stopped.

And in the end, I did get some form of satisfaction: When he eventually realised that I wasn't going to react in any way, he picked an argument with his girlfriend instead, and by the time they left the train the people whose day had been spoiled the most was theirs.
Karma, people, karma. You get what you give.

15 comments:

beadinggalinMS said...

Never a dull moment on the morning commute.

Terri you are my kinda gal!! I am always saying not everyone wants to hear that rap crap. I tell that to my son and at the stop light when they pull up and that is all you hear, of course they don't hear you telling them that.

anne said...

All right, people. Time to right some wrongs here. I like rap - not every kind of rap, but I do enjoy some of it. But if someone blared some CĂ©line Dion or Mariah Carey on the tube at any time of the day, I'd want to mash their heads against the window too.
That being said, Terri, I will worship to you every morning and every evening if you do shout "Grow a pair, you spineless twits!". Even just the once. Seriously. You'll have plates of fresh fruit and all kinds of chocolate laid out for you on a silver tray on a special altar.

Jeff said...

I applaud your restraint, Terri. I might have been tempted to snatch the "boom box" out of his hands, remove the batteries, and toss them out the window. he he!

kyknoord said...

- or, in your case, Trainma.

Chitty said...

I too have to admit, there are a few rap songs that I like... he he.
Now had he played James Blunt... I may have been reduced to tears... tears of agony.

buddess said...

Gosh, you are sounding more and more like the Terri that I know!!!! Well done and good on you!! I would have loved to have seen the look you gave him when he turned the music up again!!!

Terri said...

Beads - You just call me, Sweetie; I'll sort out all your rap problems for you LOL!

Anne - Don't get me wrong, some is fine, but that heavy gangsta stuff where the only words are ones I wouldn't use in the company of, well, people, is just plain offensive. But... Chocolate on a silver platter? Really? Watch this space...

Jeff - Or you could set your 'nurse' on him!

Kyknoord - ahaha! U so funny ;)

Chitty - So I shouldn't tell you what I was trying to listen to in my headphones then...

Buddess - hehe, I'm sure you've probably seen me use that look before so go ahead and have a laugh :)

angel said...

good for you terri!
i have often wished for better public transport in good ol' sa- then when i read stories like this i love having my own car!

Reluctant Nomad said...

Good for you indeed!!

A post specially for you is coming up soon. Watch that space.

Dawn said...

Aaaah the morning train commute - I did it from Stanmore to Green Park to Ealing Common and back ... I did another one from Edgware to Hampstead and back ... nothing to do with any work experiences have ever been more depressing. The best experience I ever had was coming home really late from work one night - I was the only one left on the train as Stanmore was the last stop on the Jubilee (I think) line. This guy got on, clearly drunk as a skunk and of course, came and sit next to me. I was sitting on one of those sideway seats right next to the doors. After about ten minutes, in the most slurred of speech, he said to me, "I'd offer you a gin and tonic but I just had the last one." I did have a laugh at that. But the morning commute should be called the Grump Express - and yes, it is astonishing what people tolerate on the trains there. Good for you - if I had been on the train watching it all unfold, I would have wanted to give you a huge kiss. Have a good week.

Spookie the Warrior said...

Gosh Terri - you really are doing well with self control and standing up to snot nosed brats and all that. Well done! I must say that would also probably have asked the little twirp to turn it off or turn it down too. I think having kids in the house - be it step children or your own, you are less afraid of them.
Well written though - I had a good giggle at the jelly like boobs!! LOL!

LiVEwiRe said...

Through all of this the words that stand out the most are 'doof-doof-doof-yo'... lol!!! Oh man, you're the best.

Terri said...

Angel - Ja, at the moment public transport is still the better option. You haven't seen traffic jams until you've been to Dublin!

Nomad - I feel so special :)

Dawn - There are some very odd people in this world and it seems at one point or another they all use public transport, lol!

spookie - I'm making it my personal mission while I'm here to single-handedly sort out this country's youth ;)

LiVEwIre - Always a pleasure to amuse, dear.

DelBoy said...

I can just picture the scene Cuz. That is exactly you!

See you Saturday! Can't wait!

Lex said...

Stop complaining you could be on a Soweto train where if you talk back they throw you off the train while it is still going flat out.Had to add that.