Silence in the Silent Section

I was on a train over the weekend. I do like trains. As long as they aren’t the shitty modern double-decker ones without a proper bistro. But that’s another rant.

I had a seat in the silent section. Many Swedish trains have a silent section. I applaud this, as I really don’t like listening to details from other people’s tedious private lives. I’m kind of weird that way.

So I sat myself in the silent section. A lady sat across from me and started to talk on her mobile. Loudly. We hadn’t yet left the station so I figured, okay, whatever. The train soon did leave the station though and she continued to talk. I gave her 10 minutes and before that time was up, she had put the phone away. Phew, I thought, as I turned to my laptop to do some writing.

The guy behind me farted. Okay, I thought, it’s not noise, relax. I continued to try to write as the smell of arse drifted around me. Then the lady made another call. A longer one. 15 minutes of drivel. I dug my fingers into my palms to control myself. And then, thankfully, she shut up. I settled down to write, whereupon I heard a very loud male voice from two seats behind.

“So I wanted to check about the tickets, and the-” he blared, as if to a very deaf relative. I gave him two minutes and then I stomped back to him. “You do know this is the silent section?” I said, all red faced and foreign looking. “Isn’t that over there?” he said timidly, pointing to a tiny compartment with 4 seats behind a glass partition.  “No it isn’t,” I growled. He mumbled in the phone and hung up and I headed triumphantly back to my seat.

The thing is. Here’s the thing, right. The thing is, it says “Silent Section” on the tickets. It also says “Silent Section” on the wall and door as you enter and leave the silent section. And someone actually makes an announcement before the train pulls out to say exactly where the silent section is. And this guy pretended not to know about it. Which makes him either supremely thick, or just a rude bastard.

He didn’t say anything else for the duration. However, mobile lady decided to listen to very loud music through her crappy ear buds for the rest of the trip. And, for the sake of not having a heart attack, I let her and grumbled into my beard (I don’t have a beard) instead.

Well, as I like to say, people are like slinkies. Not good for much, but they sure are funny when you push them down the stairs.


18 thoughts on “Silence in the Silent Section

  1. So the wagon who made two calls and had noisy ear phones gets away Scot free and the poor bloke who didnt realise he was in the silent section gets mauled. FOR SHAME I SAY FOR SHAME!!!!!!!!!!
    (Where does the saying ‘Scot Free’ come from?)

    • But of course. He was old and weak and could be weeded out. You know how it is.

      Scott Free: From the explorer Scott who never paid his bills, the bastard.

  2. Poor Paddy. I’m trying to figure out whether you are more swedish than you might realise, or what you are. You were swedish enough to shut up and grumble for most of the situation, but you didn’t call for staff to set the bastards right. I’m not sure what that makes you, but I’m working on it. :-)


  3. Silent section !! Remember the day old days in Ireland when you were considered lucky if you got standing space on the train from Dubin after spending an arm and 2 legs on the ticket.You are going soft, you need to experience the Irish transport system and QUICKLY !!

    • No no no, it’s all better now. Now you can book seats online and they have a little readout with your name on it. Best train system I’ve seen anywhere! I don’t know WHAT they were thinking….

  4. I am not timid. And I hate people talking in cinemas.

    Best moment ever: two guys in the row behind me, talking as opening credits begin to roll.

    I tell them: “Shut up, the movie has begun.”

    One of them replies: “Shut up yourself!”

    I slowly rise and slowly turn around and stare him in the eye. Then I say:

    “I now give you the chance to hit me once, wherever you want. Balled fist. Then you die.”

    The guy went absolutely chalk white and stiff as a rod. Didn’t say another word. That was glorious. Bloody moron got exactly what he deserved.

    Drive a hard,

  5. Paddy darling, that is exactly why I always HAVE TO HAVE any sort of MP3-player with me on public transportation. It probably have saved me at least four brain hemorrages. Seriously, people can be so fucking annoying.

  6. I detest “people noise”, the static noise people make mindlessly by chattering on phones as if they are alone, popping gum, clicking nails, popping knuckles, it all drives me insane. I really am a very social person, when I am in a social setting. However, if I am in a transport setting, I assure you, I am not there to get to know you, your poor personal hygiene, or the sordid details of who you caught your boyfriend banging last weekend. Essentially, public transportation is a major reason I hate people. Generally speaking.

    • The Swedes are by and large a calm lot, but once they get on their mobile phones, they just start to shout. I blame those bloody hands-frees.

  7. I feel your pain. Sitting on the train right now. Not the silent section but two people are discussing job applicants reading names education and more personal details – all for the amusement/annoyance of the rest of the carriage.

    • I was shocked when I studied in Sweden a few years back that the uni library wasn’t a silent zone. People talked on their fucking mobiles IN the library! And the “silent zone” was a room at the back.

  8. Seen more of the opposite problem. You are supposed not to talk in the non silent section! Not to your friends and for heaven´s sake not to strangers. No need for “Silent” on the walls, the word is painted in the faces of other passengers.

    Irish trains? Great system, when it works. Last three times it didn´t. Small readouts out of work. No readout, no seat, even if you have your seat booking printed on your ticket. And even if it works, many Irish people don´t understand the connection between the name on the readouts and the seats. But great system.

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