First published on September 19 2008
The world is full of noise. Yes, yes, very deep insight, I’m such a philosopher, I know. But it is too. Car noise, train noise, pipe-creaking, baby-wailing, wall-drilling and late-night bad-samba-music when-I’m-trying-to-sleep noise.
One thing I have come to appreciate in my later years is the need for places where we can preserve silence. Places like libraries (although not Swedish libraries, where mobile phone use is practically encouraged) and even churches. Just a place to turn off the constant din, a place to bring the kids in the future and tell them “This is how things were before the world got filled up with rubbish.”
But some noises piss me off more than others. Two in particular. And both of them have to do with travelling.
First of all, I hate people who talk loudly on their mobiles while on public transport. You should fuck off, plain and simple. I have no interest in where you are going, or what marital problems you have, or what slop your partner plans to make you for dinner. SMS was invented for situations like this so, for the love of Carl, just use it. And shut the hell up.
And then, the real corker, the main course – those people who sit there with their idiotic headphones and play music loud enough to entertain the entire train carriage. I mean, seriously, play music by all means, please do. But does it have to be so loud that I can hear every single fucking beat? That it makes my knees knock together? That it makes your dandruff tumble in little white waterfalls down from your greasy head?
And its always the same kind of music that is played at these volumes – hard, fast and loud. And generally rubbish. I can’t really understand, being not at all a morning person, why anybody would need that kind of music at 7:22 on a weekday. And why so fucking loud? Is it because your hearing has been damaged from listening to too much crud? Or are you just making a statement, as in – “Oh, look at me, I have social status because I have tosser Apple hardwear and loud noises emerging from my head. Thus I am cool. Aren’t I cool?”
And this is not about right or wrong, it’s a matter of fucking courtesy. Nobody wants to hear another person’s “music” in such a deformed manner. Nobody at all. It’s plan and simply annoying, and that’s all there is to it. You are a selfish prick, period, and I piss on your “right” to “express yourself”.
And if your morning music is so fucking important to you, why don’t you chuck the tinny pieces of crap you got with your iPod and invest in proper headphones with minimal leakage? No, of course you won’t, because you want to be noticed and to annoy people in public, because that’s the kind of cool don’t-give-a-damn person that you are.
I can think of a few ways to deal with these people. One would be to move to another seat. Cowardly but effective.
Another way would be to sit beside one of them and spread my newspaper wide so that it covers both them and me. And if they don’t like it, well, why don’t they move? It’s a public place, and I can’t help it if they find my newspaper distracting.
I could make grotesque faces at them. And if they don’t like that, well, then they should stop looking and accept that they will see things that they don’t like on the subway.
Or perhaps I could fart uncontrollably. Farting is of course unavoidable, and they should be prepared for a few smells when on public transport, shouldn’t they?
Maybe the best solution would be to procure a portable EMP generator which I could use to knock out all electronics within a 5 metre radius – mobile phones, iPods, Cylon fighters, pacemakers, the train’s braking systems, the lot.
Or I could accept that the world will always be full of arseholes and just go buy a fucking car.