Friday, October 5, 2007

I was on the train into the city this morning — and the one thing that makes the rush hour trains barely tolerable is that, at least it's quiet. The weekends, you have families with screeching five-year-olds climbing over you to look out the window or teenage skater boys partying on their way into the city, but rush hour is just droll, sad grown-ups trying not to think about the work day. Which is why it's particularly irritating when there's two women, and I'm not being sexist because it's always women, clucking away really loud so you can hear their whole tiresome conversation.

So guess what happened on the train this morning! "Did you hear Shirley got herself a new job? She's at Macy's, working in the cosmetics... took Taylor to Little League but if he's not gonna show some enthusiasm... that was like that time we were in France and the waiter spilled coffee..." So the woman sitting next to me turns to the woman sitting next to her and mouths, obviously towards the talkers, "Shut up already!" and they've only been on the train for like fifteen seconds. She stuffed her iPod buds in her ears, ineffectually.

Here's the weird thing: this iPod lady was thinking pretty much the same thing I was thinking, and the lady next to the iPod lady was also sharing that thought. In the train car, turns out there were a lot of people staring at these two jabbering women with their conversation invading everyone's space. I fantasized about screaming, "Shut the fuck up!" at them, but, you know, I didn't. Neither did iPod lady, or anybody else — the ride to work was overcome by this crazy phenomenon where, seriously — we're the majority, we're following the tacit commute ritual, we're respectful of those around us, and we could've all easily ganged up and kicked their asses — but nobody did anything. Like we're all handicapped and our only tool left is the passive-aggressive glare.

We're all such fucking pussies.

What I've always dreamed of doing is giving that kind of behavior right back to them, like they're yammering on and I just walk in and join the conversation: "Shirley's working at Macy's? Wow, good for her, I hear you make great commissions there. Who's Shirley?" I'll never do that — thanks a lot, society, with your "rules" and "customs," but I'd love to know what would happen.

The other thing that somebody, somewhere needs to do is get the attention of one of those jackass blustering into his cell phone. Take out your own cell phone, make a call, and in a loud and clear voice: "HEY! WHAT'S UP?... I'M GOOD, TOTALLY, DUDE... YEAH, THE ONLY THING IS I'M RIGHT NEXT TO AN ASSHOLE TALKING WAY TOO LOUD ON HIS PHONE!" Click.