Sitting in Front of Leo

I had a four hour train trip this weekend and had the misfortune to be sitting in front of Leo. Okay, I had a seat, which was a definite advantage over the first bit of the trip down, in which because of a "technical problem" there
was an equipment change meaning that there were 8 less cars than normal on the train. We stood packed in the aisles, unable to move up or down. They made us get off at the next station and wait for another train. Sigh.

Anyway, after I sat down a mother and her perhaps six-year-old son, Leo, sat down behind me. Leo began unpacking his toys and throwing them on the floor, although his mother admonished him to be patient and wait until she had all the bags stowed. Every sentence she spoke to him began with "Leo, ...". And as we soon learned, Leo did not listen to his mother, even if she constantly used his name. Or maybe because? Anyway Leo was extremely loud.

I don't know which was worse - the kicking against my seat, the repeated experiments with the foot rests, the whining for food, the extremely loud questions, or the mother trying to exercise some sort of restraint on Leo and at the same time trying to educate him. And constantly calling him by his name.

She read books to him that were far over his level of understanding. She had him do math exercises, but didn't know if the results were correct or not. She admonished him at one point: "Leo, that's not scientific!" My guess is that her husband - who was working on a Sunday and might-pick-us-up-Leo - is probably a scientist of some sort. She gave him lots of explanations for numerous words and things that were, in fact, quite off the mark. He will probably grow up to be one of those smartalecks in my classes who think they know everything, and don't actually know much at all.

Leo managed to wiggle out once and went to find the fire extinguishers. He loudly informed the folks in the entire car that we did, indeed have a fire extinguisher on board and that there was a sign on it. He was very excited
about this, and was trying to explain his discoveries to his mother - loudly. She shushed him: Don't talk so loudly, you will disturb the man in front of you.

Hmm. I am actually wearing a skirt today, on account of having led a church service this morning. I even curled my hair. Sure, I am using a computer. I suppose that this is a male marker. I grumbled under my breath: the *lady* in the seat in front of you is trying to work. The woman sitting next to me nodded, silently.

Leo was interested. He peeked round the side, then scrambled up for a better look. "That's a woman!", he announced to the car. Well, what a relief. Leo can at least determine that, although I would love to find the volume knob on his voice box.

Oh, and did I mention that Leah and Joanna played horsie in the aisles, and that the baby a few seats back had a screaming fit? A sweet toddler at least cooed at me on occasion over the front seat. As Leo's mother noted to Leo at one point, many parents are here with children, because they can't be kept quiet in the quiet zone. And the parents spend lots of time on the phone, too,
I have a sudden longing for the noisy quiet zone. Even if they speak loudly into their mobile phones there, at least they don't constantly kick the back of my seat.

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