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Jumping a little off-point from my usual social media tirades, we find ourselves on an Amtrak headed from NYC to Philadelphia today. We find ourselves in the quiet car, because, well, when almost most people in the universe took tact lessons at the Mubarak School for the Ethically Gifted, the quiet car has the least of them.
But then, we find our subject in front of us, oblivious to the blue and white signs that scream “THE QUIET CAR THAT YOU’RE IN IS FOR EVERYONE, NOT EVERYONE EXCLUDING YOU. He’s talking to “Michelle.” I know this, because he’s mentioned her name four times in four minutes.
Several minutes of hard staring into the back of his skull later, and I find nothing to have worked. I have no choice.
I get out of my seat, and walk to his. I turn around, and stare at him, a mere foot from his annoying, bald little head. Fifteen seconds of doing that, and he mumbles “I should go” into his phone, and hangs up.
“Sir,” I say, “not only do I thank you, but that old woman over there thanks you. The gentlemen two seats down, with the hearing aid, he thanks you. The underpaid conductor who can’t call you a douche to your face thanks you. Most importantly, civility as a whole thanks you. Might I recommend shutting the phone off, as opposed to just hanging up? I’m guessing someone of your stature gets a fair number of phone calls, probably because the people you associate with haven’t grasped that texting is a far superior and more time-efficient way of communication. But regardless, I think we all as the ecosystem that is Amtrak 2258’s quiet car tonight, would enjoy much happier evenings if you didn’t talk – not only on your phone, but for the entire rest of this trip.”
I left my stunned car-mate and walked back to my seat. I received one high-five and one fist-bump as I did, which I responded to appropriately – quietly, I might add. Sitting back in my seat, I closed my eyes and let the dopamine hit that comes after any potential altercation (or skydive or public speech or marathon) flood over me like a warm embrace from a beautiful woman.
Next thing I knew, we approached Philadelphia. I got off the train – I’ll be damned if I didn’t have an overwhelming desire for a cigarette. Instead, I walked to my hotel.