Quiet Zone

I had tickets in the quiet zone again for a trip to Hamburg. The trip to Hamburg was great - the car was almost empty, and I was able to work very productively in the quiet (and absence of Internet). On the way back the train was packed, and all of the seats that were marked "possibly reserved" were, indeed reserved, and we had to chase away all the squatters before we could take our seats.

I packed out my computer as the group of 60-somethings got settled across the aisle. They were disappointed not to have a table, and got out their tickets to check. They even read off "Ruhewagen", quiet zone, and then began to
discuss (at the top of their voices, I suppose they are hard of hearing) what that meant.

I tried to shut them out, but it was impossible. One of the women had a high-pitched, extremely loud voice in an intense Hamburg dialect. And she was gabbing on and on an on about all sorts of garbage. I shot her one dirty
look, raised my eyebrow, no reaction. I kept trying to write, wondered how I would survive the 90 minutes, as the train is packed and there are probably no other seats and this one has electricity....

I shot her another dirty look, this time it worked. "Do you have a problem?" she shot at me. "Yes," I said quietly, "this is the quiet zone." I didn't even say "Shut up, you fool!" Well, that ticked her off to start telling me off! She
had a ticket for this train and she had a seat and she could say anything she wanted it was a free world (all delivered in an angry screech). I turned back, and tried to continue working.

She continued berating me - she was on her way to work in Berlin, so she was allowed to talk, she worked with words, with talking, and not with stupid clickety-click on a computer. Yes, indeed, she could talk and talk she would, and no one could stop her and.... Luckily, one of the men (a husband? Poor guy) spoke a brief word with her, and she did, indeed, quiet down. She kept talking for the entire 90 minutes (the woman she was talking at at times speaking over her words), but she did do it in a lowered voice that was ignorable.

And I made clickety-click.

[I told this story to Duane Nickull this evening, he gave me a wonderful revenge story for a situation like this and the first reason I have heard to actually use Twitter!

He was in an airport and this idiot was loudly letting the good folks in the airport lounge listen into his end of a conversation. Duane began tweeting the side of the conversation he could hear, and his followers shot up. He took a picture of the guy and posted it to Flickr, which immediately was viewed by many. He wondered how many of the people with laptops looking around were trying to figure out who the twitterer was.]

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