Friday, May 11, 2007

Strangers on a Train

The Japanese are dead silent on the metro and foreigners who make noise are scorned, said a friend who recently came back from living in Tokyo. But if you travel on any Metlink service in Melbourne, it can be a mixed bag.

Sure, silence is golden but how quiet is too quiet? Travelling into work the other day, the battery on my iPod died prematurely and so I was left sitting on the train with no music. The silence was deafening. I had completely forgotten how silent the train really was. It was a change from the usual group of rowdy schoolgirls who annoy the crap out of pretty much everyone else on the train.

But I think there is some unwritten rule whereby people are not meant to talk on the train or do anything on the train, at least loudly. Fellow passengers will look at you in disdain if so much as your mobile phone rings.

And if you phone does ring while on the train, be prepared for a whole host of eavesdroppers. Last week, one of my regulars (i.e. a passenger who catches the train from my station around the same time as me) was on the same train home. Her phone rang and heard her start ranting on about “seeing him”… clearly a boyfriend who was about to become an ex. So I just HAD to listen.

As she went on about how he is not worth it and she told him where to stick it, I became even more interested. I didn’t even know the woman but I was thriving off the entire situation. I loved the juicy gossip that the guy she caught the train with every morning was apparently a scumbag.

It’s times like this that you’d wish that people on the train made a bit more noise. I was sure that I wasn’t the only one listening to her conversation. But alas, our section of the train was completely silent.

Silence may be golden, but if you’re in a train speeding towards its next stop, you want to be sure that if your phone does ring, then it’s your stop that’s next.

It’s been weeks since I wrote the main part of this post, and since then, I have seen the woman drive into the station alone. But last week I saw who I assume is her boyfriend again. Made me wonder… what the hell was she talking about? I need to know! Arrgggh!

1 comment:

R*Y A N said...

never mind phone convos...

how about when those sardine carriages are packed to capacity and you're face-to-armpit with some stranger?!?!?!

never turns out to be a good-looking stranger, either.