jeudi 19 février 2009

Shut up and let me go

I know that I'm going to sound like an old man with this post. But I kind of don't care. The thing is, I'm kind of sick of all the fecking noise everywhere I go.

These last couple of weeks I've spent a fair amount of time on trains and planes and every trip has been, well, noisy.

I took the train to Lyon, and the guy across from me was shouting - things that I imagine he wouldn't want his competitors to know about his business - into his mobile phone. Not at all sotto voce. Not at all subtile. Just loud. Until I asked him to stop, that is.

On the train back from Strasbourg, the men at the table across from mine were heading to Paris to take their TGV driver exams. They were excitable, to say the least. The volume increased and they got steadily louder. Until I asked them to be quiet, that is.

And on the métro into work this morning, the young girl sat next to me had her ipod so loud that I could hear the words of the songs - Sheryfa Luna, not my favourite...she sings a bit flat if you ask me. It was loud, tinny, someone-else's-headphones music...until I asked her to turn it down, that is.

Luckily, everytime I ask someone to turn it down they look incredibly embarassed and shocked that they were disturbing me. Every time, they have reduced their volume and got on with it. I appreciate that this could easily go the other way.

Equally, everytime I ask someone to turn it down, there are other passengers who look at me and smile, or who mouth 'merci' to me. Jeez folks, glad to be of service, but how about you ask next time?

As much as I'd like someone else to get involved once in a while, I'm quite happy to be the one doing the asking - it can work wonders sometimes. Back in the Lyon days, I once asked the guy sat next to me if he'd mind taking his phone call to the special area that SNCF have put on the trains (complete with sofa style seating) for such purposes.

When he came back, he apologised and we got talking. The conversation had been about a posting to the UK and we chatted a lot about how that might go - about the differences between English and French working styles and living conditions. By the end of the journey he had my number and we had a plan to meet the following night for a drink.

I'm not saying that a beautiful romance started when I asked him to shut up, but it certainly turned out to be, erm, interesting.

And I'm not saying that asking someone to be quiet on public transport will always get you laid - it's equally as likely to get you punched I guess.

But what I am saying is this...

"keep the noise down you bunch of freaks, there's people trying to sleep here!"

24 commentaires:

Daryl a dit…

Listen .. that's me applauding you. Here in the Crab Apple of NYC when people speak AT THE TOP OF THEIR LUNGS on the bus most others try to pretend they cant hear them. I once told a man who was truly obnoxious in language AND volume to 'please speak more quietly' to which I got a 'fuck you, bitch' response ... being insane I said 'fuck you' .. and of course he had to one up me ... eventually he got off and exiting gave me the finger .. we didnt meet afterward tho I was tempted to follow him so I could ... well, its my own sort of bus rider road rage..

travelling, but not in love a dit…

Daryl, that's the kind of insane situation I'd get myself into...far too easily, too. I'm glad you didn't follow him...

wontletlifedefineme a dit…

Exactly. People having really loud telephone conversations in public are just plain annoying. People who try to convince you to never again take the escalator at the metro for as long as you live because you're ruining the planet, and it's only 8am, are quite annoying too though.

travelling, but not in love a dit…

Marjolein, anyone before 8am is annoying, but especially those telling you how to live your life....I'm surprised they don't get punched!

Henry North London a dit…

Oh well I tend to not use my phone or ipod on public transport.

I sometimes think I should sing along to someone elses Ipod and see if I get a reaction

conortje a dit…

I promise to whisper all weekend long!

Louise a dit…

I don't care if you're an old man... ummm... SEEM like an old man. ;-r I'm glad you can do this and pull it off and people actually act embarrassed. (I would be one of the ones mouthing "thank you.") One of my pet peeves (and I have many) are people who are loud in public. I feel like they WANT other people to hear them. They want attention. It is so against my nature to seek attention that is makes me crazy. However, my experiences of asking for more polite behavior have not been met well. Maybe because I'm not nice enough or maybe because Americans tend to be less polite and feel more entitlements to whatever suits them than the people you deal with, but I have stopped asking for polite behavior in public. I just sit and get irritated, which just makes me mad and molds me more into a person not like those I disdain.

A Lewis a dit…

I've done the same thing myself...more than once. It's never pleasant...but a girl has to have her scruples....right? I believe in speaking up...not just for me, but for the rest of those around who are too afraid to do so.

Valleys Mam a dit…

hides ipod,mobile phone,stops singing , breathes quietly lol
nah I hate listening to pricks on phones,and loud ipods and other peoples noisey kids
I suppose the answer is to travel first class in the quiet zone, but who can afford that.
But then I am sure people who are hearing impaired would give a lot to have that problem

travelling, but not in love a dit…

Henry, I think singing along is a great idea...go for it!

Big C, you know that I'll never tell you to be quiet - apart from when you're singing, that is....

Louise, I feel angry with myself if I say nothing - I figure that I have no right to be mad at them, if I'm not willing to ask them to stop...

Lewis, a girl does indeed have to have her scruples. Je agree.

travelling, but not in love a dit…

VM, i usually do travel first class on the TGV - it's there that you'll find the worst offenders!

(first class in France isn't prohibitively expensive like it can be in the UK...honest)

conortje a dit…

oh you cheeky monkey, for that I punish you to a whole weekend of me singing my little lungs out :-) :-)

Lane a dit…

I'm applauding too - although the older I get the more likely I am to speak up:-)

Love the post title:-)

aims a dit…

Oh don't get me started!

I've told people to be quiet in many places - believe I wrote a post about that girl at the Celine concert.

It just drives me nuts! So inconsiderate!

Mind you - it has never gotten me laid (thank goodness)....

travelling, but not in love a dit…

Conortje, I'll tread on your toe - that'll make you sing!

Lane, gotta love the Ting Tings...

travelling, but not in love a dit…

Aims, I remember the post about the concert girl. Imagine if she'd passed you her phone number....he he. That would have been a post and a half!

Swearing Mother a dit…

We travelled from Paris to Nice a couple of years ago, booked into a "quiet carriage" on the TGV, mainly to stop husband messing with his mobile phone instead of talking to me. Our seats were opposite a charming Japanese family, Mum, Dad and two gorgeous kids.

Seven hours later we had witnessed Dad going through every single contact on his mobile phone, his iPod, and whatever other electronic gadget he had on him which needed programming (accompanied by a bleep for each action), Mum texting her entire bleeping address book, both kids playing every noisy game known to Nintendo and all four of them taking it in turns to take multiple photos of each other, from all angles, with lots of flashing and whirring. The only thing they didn't do was make or take any phone calls, so strictly speaking they weren't breaking any rules. But what a bloody racket.

Thank goodness for gin and tranquilisers, or I'd have made sushi of the lot of them.

12ontheinside a dit…

The only time I tried telling someone to be quite I got told to fuck right off and they turned their music up even more. How is it that so many of your meetings with people turn out to be so erm... interesting! You lucky duck.

travelling, but not in love a dit…

Sweary - that's like my dream combination....gin, tranks and sushi. Perfect-o!

12oti - a lucky duck indeed, but I've been told to FRO from time to time too...it's not just you, honest!

Mike a dit…

What if these people told you, "No!" Hmmm. I'm just sayin'... ;-)

Brett a dit…

Your very brave, do that he would most likly lead to a punch up.

travelling, but not in love a dit…

Mike, if they say no - and it happens - then so be it. I'm not responsible for people's ignorance or bad manners. I'll move. Least I tried.

Brett, obviously there's an element of 'picking your subjects' going on too....

Anthony a dit…

Count me as another who will challenge those displaying anti-social behaviour. The fact I look like a 6' skinhead usually makes them comply :-)

Victor a dit…

We have a police crime series here called City Homicide which I quite enjoy except for the several actors who equate shouting with acting. I often wish I could tell them to shut up.