Not-A-Quiet-Carriage: conversations #412

Travelling with Scott, so I’m actually on a Not-A-Quiet-Carriage, given that we sometimes chat. But I love the licence people take once they jump on a carriage that doesn’t carry the sign. It never fails: there’s always one.

new sign 2 (2)Sydney commuters – you’re familiar with the rules: Quiet Carriages are where noisy people can legitimately be shushed.  If you’re travelling on a Not-A-Quiet-Carriage, it’s a different story. It is here, that, freed from any dumb rule about having (ugh! honestly, those people on their quiet carriages) to be quiet, they leave their consideration for their fellow-woman/man on the platform, jump on the carriage and act like complete and utter tools. Yes! I called them tools.

‘But it’s not a quiet carriage,’ they smirk with smug satisfaction and a lot of petulance, but if you point out to them (which I’m the verge of, but not yet game enough to do) that travelling on a Not-A-Quiet-Carriage doesn’t automatically give you a free rein to be a complete wanker – you don’t come off looking so good.

This morning I was very restrained. Not by Scott (he was asleep) – more from a sleep-deprived and therefore easy sense of self-discipline: I only looked at the woman on the phone one time. Technically, being on a Not-A-Quiet-Carriage, I had no leg to stand on, but seriously: a super-loud albeit fun-sounding (she was speaking Filipino, so I couldn’t tell, but she laughed a lot) conversation at 7.30am is not easy to cope with, especially if you’re trying to read Ulysses.

On first getting on the train, she walked along the aisle, all the while talking in her I’m-in-a-wind-tunnel-by-a-freeway-with-horns-blasting-I-can-barely-hear-you voice. (That should be a labelled decibel setting, it really should.) Unable to find a seat downstairs, she repaired to the top step, where she sat and, funnelled by the narrow stairway, continued her now-amplified conversation, projecting her fun chat down into the lower floor of the carriage. Would have been about 30 minutes of good material. I have got to learn another language.

And ok, I’m actually trying to read Ulysses at home, in the dead of night, when No-one can disturb my concentration. Not on the train.


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