All I Want is a Little Peace
June 3, 2012
By: Rosie Hill
I am one of those few people who enjoys being on trains. In fact, I tend to enjoy public transport on the whole. Especially trains though. I like being able to sit there for an hour on the commute to London and read. It seems to be one of the only times of day I get the time to lose myself in a book without the hullabaloo of everyday life. I don’t annoy anyone, I just sit with a Starbucks and read. Now I don’t think it’s too much to expect the same level of courtesy from my fellow passengers. Apparently it is.
Headphones were invented for the purpose of allowing one person to listen to their music of choice without inflicting it on anyone else. Someone should pass this golden nugget of information onto certain passengers who insist on playing music through their phones, in a carriage full of people who are definitely contemplating whether murder could be seen as a blessing. I am not complaining about music, I am not a music hater. But when some obnoxious teenager insists on playing the whining tones of the latest X Factor drop out or worse, a track comprised solely of a bass line at full volume, at 7:30 in the morning, I do hate music. No, I take that back, that’s not even music. It’s a strand of noise masquerading as music.
In some cases however, headphones don’t make a blind bit of difference. Headphones should, in theory, prevent other commuters from having to hear your music. For some travellers however, wearing headphones either round your neck with tinny beat projecting through my peaceful train carriage, or having it so damn loud that I can’t hear myself think, defeats the point of them entirely. I am begging you dear readers, to invest in some headphones that actually fulfil their design purpose. And yes I know this may mean spending slightly more than a fiver on them, and you will have to sacrifice some of your street cred but I believe the fashion gods will forgive you for buying perhaps less flattering headphones that actually work. These amazing noise cancelling ones not only prevent me from hearing the contents of your iPod, but prevent you from hearing me moaning about it. This will not only provide me with peace of mind, but allow us both to continue to co-exist in this train carriage without me imagining what it would be like to strangle you with your poorly designed luminous pink headphones.
Unfortunately it is not just these people that interrupt my quiet time, I do wish my annoyance was restricted to such a small sub-section of commuters. There’s always that awkward moment where you have boarded the train at a quiet platform and have therefore seated yourself comfortably at a table with venti non-fat caramel macchiato with an extra shot of espresso and a cinnamon swirl in front of you, and your bag sitting on the adjacent seat to act as a deterrent to any passenger who has the urge to sit close. This normally works for two, maybe three stations before he gets on. The sweet, unassuming little old man, who asks very kindly if he can sit in the seat next to you in order to avoid the schoolchildren further up. You of course grant his request and move your bag; this is your first mistake. You are then subjected to an entire train journey hearing about everything from his medical problems, the names and professions of his four children, and how adorable/talented/beautiful his eleven grandchildren are. If on the rare occasion that he chooses not to entertain you with his life history, he may simply fall asleep. On your shoulder. You laugh, but this has happened to me on more than one occasion and you are left in an incredibly awkward situation which provides endless entertainment for the young couple sitting opposite you. Plus you now can’t reach your coffee which ends up cold and discarded upon arrival to London Victoria, which is never a good start to the day. The awkwardness is always increased when the little old man has regrettably forgotten to apply deodorant that morning and you are left trapped in your seat by a wall of BO. Cue laughter.
I honestly am a friendly, kind hearted person for the other 23 hours in a day, but all I ask for is one hour to call my own! One hour when I can sit alone, reading my book, without being interrupted by noisy children or smelly pensioners. God forbid that is too much to ask.