Friday, June 23, 2006

Uproar on the R5

"OHMYGAWD! I GOT MY OWN SEAT. YESSSS. MY OWN SEAT ON THE TRAIN. HAH-HAH-HAH. YOU CAN'T BELIEVE IT. YES. I'M SITTING BY MYSELF. JUST MY BAG ON THE SEAT. YEAH!"

30th Street. 9:19PM last night. R5 heading west. Into the mouth of the storm.

"HE-HE-HE. YOUCANTFUCKINGBELIEVEIT. NOFUCKINGWAY. YEAH-YEAH-YEAH."

The picture here is the backside of the most outrageous "yell phone" caller I've ever seen. And I'm Public Transportation Boy, so I've seen my share. This woman, 23-going-on-3, was doing her routine in the most obnoxious voice possible, shouting obscenities, being an actor (invoke Jon Lovitz voice here). Ugh. Going against my usual reaction, which is to tell the offender to STFU, I asked the conductor if she could reel in Ms. Mouth. Didn't work.

"YOUCANTBELIEVEIT! BITCH. YEAH. I GOT MY OWN SEAT. IT'S SOOOOOOOOOOO COOL. LIKE, YEAH."

This went on for the first couple of stops. Then a beautiful thing happened. Passengers on the R5 decided they were mad as hell and weren't going to take it anymore. It started as a buzz. A 55-year-old guy sitting behind Ms. Mouth rolled up his newspaper and pretended to beat her over the head. The back half of the car fell about the place. Then, one by one, people started talking VERY loudly.

"OMIGOD. IT'S SO GODDAM LOUD IN HERE. YEAH. YEAH. CAN YOU BELIEVE IT. YEAH."

And then people asked Ms. Mouth to shut it. Some asked. Some demanded.

"I DON'T HAVE TO SHUT UP. YOU SHUT UP. I CAN TALK HOW I WANT."

More requests. More buzz. More grumbling.

"I SAID F**K HIM. YEAH. HE SAT DOWN."

Beauty. A young guy, 20-something businessman, got up, stood right in front of Ms. Mouth and asked her to stop.

"F**K YOU."

And then it came. The Hurricane Holler. That young guy shouted, "SHUT UP RIGHT NOW, YOU COW."

People whooped and hollered and applauded. Then the conductor came down the aisle and told Ms. Mouth if she didn't comply "right now" that Ms. Mouth would be off the train at the next stop. Plenty of space to talk on the platform. Blessed silence.

Finally, Ms. Mouth got off the train at her stop. And there was spontaneous applause. Wow. I said to the conductor, "I've heard a lot of yell phones in my day, but that one was a piece of work." She agreed.

I listened to NPR in the car on my way home. Turned way down.

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