It was my first train ride home in four days, seeing as I’d taken Monday off and had a relaxing weekend out of town.
I just wanted a nice, relatively quiet ride.
We entered the rust-bucket [TIME OF TRAIN REDACTED SO I DON'T GET ANYONE IN TROUBLE...I'M CONSIDERATE LIKE THAT] and pushed off from Grand Central.
There was a baby on board, who reminded everyone in the car that there was a baby on board by howling. The dad, around 35, in a lame brown goatee, was pretty clueless–flailing about, waving various toys, shoveling spoonfuls of pureed something toward the baby’s maw, in an effort to shoosh the screaming whelp.
Hey, I’m sympathetic. I have two spawns. I’ve had them on the train when they are cranky. It’s a helpless feeling. I save the stink-eye for the offening grown-ups.
Such as the guy behind me–a cherubic, fair haired man of about 45 who was slowly driving his fellow riders mad.
The man had blonde-white hair and a red face. He weighed 250 pounds. He somehow squeezed into one of those seats with zero legroom that faces the wall on the old trains, the rider’s back to the rest of the seats in the car.
He held up a smartphone, which played videos of children screaming. I couldn’t actually see the videos, but I assume there were visuals. I did hear the audio–little girls howling, like it was Christmas, or cheerleader camp, or a Honey Boo Boo pageant.
The dude watched these videos over and over, the sound of little girls screaming filling the car.
So, to reiterate, baby screaming on one end of the car, man watching videos of little girls screaming at the other end. Me and two dozens others in the middle.
Several people whipped their heads around to find the source of the shrill noises, and deliver their finest stink-eye. But the man did not notice, as he was facing the opposite direction in his miserable little no legroom seat.
Then the conductor happened by. He’s a twitchy sort of fellow. He approached me, of all people, and mumbled something about “loud headphones.” He stared at my iPod Classic parked in the empty middle seat next to me, but no one could hear the Creedence Clearwater Revival (hey, one of those days) but me.
“It’s not me,” I said. “It’s THAT guy.”
My thumb shot back to the vidiot behind me.
Then it got weird. The conductor clearly was flustered. He checked my ticket, engaged in conversation with someone in front of me, then came back to check the tickets of my seatmate and I again, meaning we had to whip out our wallets, and our passes, a second time.
And did he then silence the doofus watching the dopey kids-screaming videos, right in front of the conductor, after suggesting I turn down my non offending iPod?
No. He did not. He ducked into his little conductor booth and stayed there.
So…why scold me, who had nothing to do with the annoying noise, but let the fat load who was making all the offending noise go without a word? Was there an urgent matter in the conductor booth? Or did he fear reprisal from the dude, but not me? Hey, I can be scary looking when I want to be. And that dude was soft.
The kids video knucklehead got off in White Plains, surely to go home and watch an endless loop of of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo on the DVR, and the baby stayed on.
The goateed dad apparently figured out the right combination of rattles and pureed carrots and spoons, or finally found the Mute button on the bambino, and we ambled the rest of the way to Hawthorne in relative quiet.