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?
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.