Sunday, 19 July 2009


Whoever first developed the idea of mobile phones doubling up as portable music players should be sentenced to a punishment of being forced to travel on public transport for several hours a day, each day, until they can no longer endure it without screaming in terror or getting beaten up for having the temerity to go up to someone and suggest that if they don't turn the music down then they run the risk of having their mobile shoved down their throat.

I'd got on the train yesterday evening and managed to find a quietish spot in one of the carriages: it was one of "those" train journeys which seemed to be populated by blokes who'd downed substantially more than a couple of sips of lager and who were shouting and chanting about anything and everything. I presume there'd been some trouble too, since there were plenty of police ready and waiting on the platform as we were pulling into the station at the end of the journey.

Still, in my section of the carriage, we were shielded from most of the noise and whatever else might have been going on.

How annoying, then, that one of the three lads sat at the adjacent table decided to listen to some music on his phone. It was shrill and extremely irritating and I found myself getting wound up rather quickly. After a couple of minutes I spoke up.

Me: Whichever one of you is playing the music, do you mind turning it down please?

Lad: Why?

Me: Because I've got a headache, I'm really not in the mood for it and it's irritating.

Lad (indignantly): Why don't you go and sit somewhere else then?

Me: Look - I've not even asked you to turn it off, I've politely asked you to turn it down. Please.

Woman opposite me: I second that.

Lad (to his mates): oh, we might as well just turn it off.

Which they did.

Kids today, they've got no respect I thankfully didn't mutter, or even think of - but I did feel annoyed at just how primed for verbal confrontation some people seem to be. I sometimes feel frustrated at the times when I don't speak up in such situations, because of the risk of escalation or confrontation. It just doesn't seem worth it.

Still, the three lads were getting off at the same station as me and I wondered if they were going to come out with some smart comments or similar. The one I'd spoken with, however, waited and said after you, gesturing in front of him without any hint of sarcasm.

I said, no, it's ok, carry on, and let him past, feeling like it had actually been worth speaking up on this occasion.


lakeviewer said...

How irritating! I'm glad they were still polite at the end.

nmj said...

ha, a lovely outcome, they could have stabbed you in a quiet tunnel beyond the station!

Fire Byrd said...

As you know living in this house is like permanently being on a train, with a yoof listening to loud music, and if anything is ever said......
Well as in today no Sunday lunch together, cause were both too pissed off with one another!!!

Zhoen said...

This is why I love having a shuffle and earphones for any public trip. I just stick 'em in and ignore. I don't know why the phones don't have earbuds, especially the ones that play music, since that's the technology they came from.

"Why?" indeed. Sheesh.

trousers said...

lakeviewer, yes they were alright - presumably just displaying a bit of front at first. Seemed that when I pointed out to them that I'd asked them nicely etc, that was when it sunk in.

nmj, yes, that would have been a less nice outcome - could have spoiled my weekend in fact :)
Mind you, the first thing I did was grab a pint in the station bar just to have a relaxing half hour after such a journey, so they would have had to have waited a while.

Oh dear FB, no Sunday lunch together isn't a good state of affairs. Perhaps I can draw on experiences like yesterday's in order to empathise/sympathise at such times. Hope things settle down soon. x

zhoen, yes that's a good solution but not for me I'm afraid - my tinnitus prevents me from using earphones on anything other than very rare occasion.

Still, the other side of it is that the tinnitus also means I always carry earplugs, which can certainly help in some situations. Yesterday felt like a case of needing to exercise principle over pragmatism though.

Reading the Signs said...

Well done, Trousers - hurrah! I very rarely see anyone confronting this kind of thing, and it needs to happen. What strikes me is that there no longer seems to be a boundary between private and public behaviour. You play your music, talk loudly on the phone, swear at the kids, generally make a lot of noise and it's your space to do with what you like.

Whatever happened to decorum?

(the WVLs are saying bumbluma - just whose side are they on anyway?)

trousers said...

Thanks signs - it does need to be confronted more often, for sure, though I do have my reservations about it as mentioned. I generally hate confrontation too.

Still, you're right about the lack of boundaries in terms of public/private behaviour. I can't believe some of the mobile phone conversations I hear: the volume of the person's voice is one thing, but you think - don't they realise/care that people can hear every word?

zola a social thing said...

Once in a train.
I wanted to have a pee.
Went to the toilet where only grunts and groans greeted me.

As they came out I complained.
I said that now, with an erection, I could not pee.

The man then said to me :-

" After me?"

DJ Kirkby said...

Chopper had a run in with an 10 year old (ish) the other week. He was blocking the middle of the road as Chopper was trying to cycle past while he was doing his job. Makes us feel a bit scared at the thought of growing old really...

trousers said...

zola, I'm so glad that this inspired your sensitive and poetic side.

deej, I must admit, despite the positive resolution the other day, it did make me feel very old.

Merkin said...

Brace man, Trousers.

Merkin said...

Brave man!

(No, I wasn't commenting on Zola)

trousers said...

Cheers Merk :)