You guys, I did something about my commuting rage this morning. It was a small, solo victory, but it made me feel gloriously powerful. I was reading the last 8 pages of “Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn. The ending made me think there could be a sequel and it was stressing me out that things were not really resolved. This probably added to my stress level at that moment, not to mention that I was on a 6:58 AM train for two important meetings this morning at work. Most of the passengers were shut-eyed, mouths slightly open, even a snore here and there around me. A peacefully quiet morning commute.
Then the moment we hit Harlem from Grand Central and our cell phones came back to life, the woman sitting directly behind me, starts up the longest conversation of all time with someone on her phone. She was speaking Spanish. Perhaps she forgot something at home, needed to tell someone her arrival time or had an urgent message to pass on. I gave her the benefit of the doubt and continued reading despite shrills of dialogue ringing in my ear. But when 15 minutes went by and she’s still YAPPING, getting LOUDER even, and from what I could translate – she was speaking to multiple people. One after the other. Her pitch got more animated with each new person she spoke to. I looked around the train, making eye contact with several passengers who were also as clearly annoyed as I was. She was waking people up from dead sleeps. She was getting multiple stink eyes from multiple people. I even did one of those “turn around and give her a look that’s meant to say, ‘SHUT THE HELL UP,’” but she did not notice.
The train was actually pin quiet in between glaring shrills of Spanish. I couldn’t take it anymore. Why wouldn’t anyone say something to her? Why couldn’t it be me? We were at that point going on 32 minutes of yapping. I was only about 4 stops away from my destination, but I had had enough. I turned around, peeped over my seat and looked directly at the woman – screaming in Spanish. She didn’t look at me right away and I had to wave my hand to get her attention. When she finally saw me, I gave her an instant hand gesture. Not the middle finger kind. It was more of my hand waving downwards to indicate that she should ”lower the volume.” I accompanied this with a shhhhshing index finger-to-mouth gesture. Immediately she lowered her voice. She was probably telling the person she was speaking to that some blonde bitch was telling her to be quiet, but I didn’t care. I felt a rush of adrenaline from actually DOING something about the source of my annoyance. It was WONDERFUL. The rest of the commuters wanted to burst into applause, I’m sure, as several of them smiled at me once her voice volume was reduced by 15 levels. She even got off the phone about 30 seconds after my scolding her VICTORY!!
Hopefully this woman will think twice before speaking so loudly on a cell phone in a train packed with sleepy commuters at 7 something AM. I have started my self appointed position as Train Monitorette. It’s a thankless job, but a necessary one.