Whenever I take the train, I make it a decided point to sit in the Quiet Car. There are many perks of this seating option, only a few of which include being nearly guaranteed a seat and the chance to rest my bionic hearing. While noise is probably one of the most commonly accepted offenses in society (hence the dedicated car) I feel that a Consideration Car should be instituted, for those of us who are bothered by even more. In my Consideration Car, I would ban things like pungent foods, unhygienic people, over perfumed people, rowdy kids, anyone on a cell phone, loud chewing, snorers, and people who can’t control their bodily functions. While I’m sure I could name a dozen more actions I’d like to constrict, I think you get the point. When I wrote this on the way home for Christmas, the traveler seated next to me was eating a fresh-from-the-microwave croissant with ham. Can you imagine how odorous that was? And she had a bag of three! Who needs that much food for a trip to Boston? And who wants to eat three of those things? She was practically sitting right on top of me in a train car with about as much ventilation as a plane at its highest altitude. Gross. Did she not think that such a meal would smell? How self-absorbed can one person be?
My agitated state was probably heightened by: her telling me that a friend of hers left my place of work because she hated it, the scowl on her face, the book about Chilean miners that she was carrying as a prop, the fact that she’s wearing Chloe perfume, and because she reminds me of the pretentious and judgmental third world studies kids I despised at school. So I digress. During the last train ride I took, a small child was running the entire car length yelling, “Have a nice ride! Have a nice ride!” which, to me, was in clear violation of the Quiet Car rules, and yet, no one said anything to the giggling adult chasing after him. When left to their own undeveloped devices, most children will make noise, how is this surprising? But nonetheless, they shouldn’t be seated in the Quiet Car. Ah, then there was the time before that when I was seated next to a girl who smelled and looked like she hadn’t showered in three weeks, and making me more uncomfortable was the way she used her cell phone through a Ziploc baggie.
Okay, so maybe it’s me. Maybe I’m the weird one, the troublemaker, who shouldn’t be allowed to leave the house. If all of these people seem to be disturbing me, then what if it’s not them? What if it’s me? Yeah, I actually really doubt that. Most people enter the public sphere with a complete lack of consideration and ability to see how their actions will impact other people. It seems to me that most people choose to sit in the quiet car not only for the lack of noise, but also for the lack of distractions and disturbances.. Let this be a call to action. From this point on, we will be a more thoughtful and conscious community, and will cease the sensory assault on others. Is that too much to ask?