I’m probably the only person in the world who loves their hour-long commute to work. To other, possibly more sane people it would be two long hours at the start and end of the day to try to fill, perhaps with sleep or going over work emails. For me, it’s something so much more precious: uninterrupted reading time.
I’ve actually worked out that it takes slightly less time and costs about the same to drive to work, but I don’t do it – I prefer the train and the time to read. Attempting to read while piloting a motor vehicle as it flies down the freeway at 110km/h is neither safe nor advisable. So, the train it is!
However, there is one thing I cannot stand, and that is:
People talking on the train.
I know this makes me sound a bit odd. I am completely aware that people are totally allowed to speak in public places if they so wish. I have had conversations on trains myself, many times! I should clarify: I cannot stand people talking on trains when I am trying to read. Yes, I am aware this is not normal, nor is it reasonable. This is why I tend to listen to music when I read – for some reason the incessant thrum of hard rock and roll or punk cabaret is less intrusive into my reading time than some commuting pair’s inane conversation, and I am completely aware of the afore-mentioned folks’ right to have that conversation.
But what really gets me angried-up in the blood is when I can hear that conversation through my headphones, and the music. That’s when I am overcome with pure, seething, utter rage. For some reason, I find it to be extremely distracting, and I’m not sure why.
So, when the “Quiet Carriages” were introduced on my line, I bubbled over with joy. Finally, people would shut up! I would no longer have to fantasize about getting a t-shirt made with the slogan “Be Quiet, I’m Trying To Read”, because the people would already be quiet! Hurrah!
But now I am faced with an even more annoying scenario:
People who talk in the Quiet Carriages.
Usually it’s not too bad, most people respect the sanctity of the quiet carriage, but sometimes, they don’t know. So often, I’ll say: “Excuse me, good sir, but this is the Quiet Carriage, so if you feel like continuing this boisterous chatter, please relocate to the next carriage.” (Except I don’t really say it like that, I’m just feeling fancy today.)
However, sometimes it is not that they don’t know, it’s more that they don’t care. Then, they often let me know that they don’t care, and pepper this sentiment with a large number of expletives. Or they start taking more quietly, except now their conversation is about how rude I am. That is usually the point where I have to restrain myself from asking them if they know what Muay Thai is, and if they would like a demonstration.
So, if you are ever travelling in a less-than-silent Quiet Carriage and you see a small-statured girl reading a Kindle, and quivering with rage, you never know, it might be me!
And I just might be about to unleash a spinning back kick.