Tuesday, June 29, 2004
LIRR Commuter from Hell #1
Another installment in our continuing series: LIRR CFH. Today's version: The Cellphone Barker -- a whole new breed of rude.
After getting comfortable in my seat, I start reading my paper. A few stops later, I go to the Head in the next car.
Upon returning, I hear a voice -- somewhere between a bark and a bellow -- yammering into a cell phone -- Damn! -- in the seat right behind me!
I sit down, count to 10 (SERENITY NOW!), and the guy gets off the phone. OK, not so bad -- I can handle one phone call from an apparently impolite turd.
10 seconds later, the deep booming voice starts again. Oh, no, a serial caller! My mind flashes to an entire ride with this tawker yapping in that booming voice the whole trip. No good --Totally Unacceptable.
So I turn around, and in a voice somewhere between firm and polite -- but at a slightly lower volume than Cellphone Barker -- I say:
"Sir, I'm going to have to ask you to please speak lower, or take the call in the vestibule by the doors".
The guy doesn't acknowledge me a wit -- no nod, no "I'll be right off," doesn't lower his voice -- nothing. Just completely and totally ignores me.
So 10 seconds later, in my best Police Officer voice, I repeat myself: "Sir, I'm sorry, but I going to have to ask you to keep it down, please . . ."
Cellphone Barker ignores me again -- but this time says to the other party on the phone "
Some jerk is rudely interrupting me -- If he keeps it up, I'm gonna have to knock him out
." In a flash, I am up out of my seatyou never saw a fat bastard move this fast -- and staring down at him, yelling progressively louder. I am, in a word, unembarrassable (thats an entirely 'nother topic) -- but I see that the louder my voice gets, the more Cellphone Barker deflates:
"What? You're going to 'knock me out?' You are THREATENING me -- in FRONT OF a dozen WITNESSES? I have a cell phone too, and my next call is to 911 -- to have you tossed off this train . . . Where's the conductor?"
I storm off, calm down, find the conductor, explain the situation, drag him back to the car. As I approach Cellphone Barker, I say: "All I want is for you to keep it down." That's an opening for him to resolve the situation (if he wants).
Instead, he says: "This jerk rudely interrupted my call."
The conductor -- who has punched my ticket everyday for a year -- looks at me. I say "I asked him to tone it down -- he was bellowing into his phone."
Cellphone Barker makes the fatal play: "I was talking quietly."
Three other people on the train all pipe up -- "No you weren't" -- "This guy was yelling" -- "You were way too loud."
I suddenly become a diplomat: "You don't have to throw him off the train -- just move his seat."
The guy suddenly realizes that he's on the verge of getting tossed. "Prima-Donnas" he grumbles as the conductor moves him tot he back of the train.
Helluva way to start my day . . .
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