Thursday, March 08, 2007


green mountain rail
Originally uploaded by madabandon.

I had a good rehearsal yesterday. I took the train up to Poughkeepsie because it was snowing and slippery when I left, and in addition the city government seems to have decided to tear up the many of the streets of Brooklyn Heights, resulting in a precarious situation for anyone hoping to park on the street. The train was nice. It rides directly along the Hudson River the entire trip, and if you sit on the west side you have a wonderful view. The only problem was that I had a huge coffee and there were no cup holders and I was worried it would spill.

After a fine rehearsal and a meeting with some of the musicians, I got back on the train. I was relaxed and hoping to enjoy some quiet time. But a moment before we left the station a young girl and a guy--who turned out to be her brother--got on. The girl was quite pretty, maybe fifteen or so, but her trash mouth rendered her grotesque. They created constant noise, either yammering on their phones--both in a kind of profanity-laced ghetto-speak--or singing along with what I presume was an iPod. Their singing was that kind of tuneless loud singing you hear from reject contestants on American Idol. It was horrible. The boy, in particular, was awful, with a whining nasal falsetto that set my teeth on edge. What was really interesting was that everyone on the car seemed annoyed by their carrying on, but no one asked them to quiet down, including the train conductor. I would have loved to see them thrown off the train, preferably at one of the smaller stops where there is not even a train station. They were that obnoxious.

As a committed urbanite, I try to be cooperative with those around me, not creating more than an appropriate share of noise, nor taking up more than my share of space. It is interesting that there are so many who simply don't seem to consider their own behavior. Or I am being generous. Maybe they do consider it, and thus maybe their behavior is a general "fuck you" to the world around them.

But I read my book--A LONG TIME GONE--the story of Ishmael Beah, who was forced, at age 13, into the civilian army during the long, horrific civil war in Sierra Leone. It is a wrenching book. He is an extraordinary writer telling a chilling and unimaginably sad story. It is not for the faint of heart. I let my iPod drown out the sound of the rude kids.

By the way, this is my 1,666th post. For what it's worth.


she said...

congrats on successful rehearsal!

and thank you.. for my virtual e-train ride along the hudson. i didn't say anything to those obnoxious kids either; but gave them one of my meanest looks. and they didn't notice or care.

common experience in our bart (bay area rapid transit) trains here too. and you know how in airports they have those -what are they called?- moving sidewalks. and slow walkers (that is, stand n' wait-ers) are directed to one side, and fast walkers.. walking/moving forward at the same time, are directed to the other side:

as it should be.

and i think there oughta be "quiet" sections in trains and "noisey" ones. or reader/thinker/quiet-ear-phone- listening sections and talking/ad nauseaum sections.


i will add that book to my list and wait for the right time to read it


1,666 posts!!!

awesome and very inspiring. PLUS,

what a wonderful number to dangle over my friend leonard stegmann's head if he starts whining again or taking unnecessary vacation days ")

pleasure reading you! ~s.

about a boy said...

somedays i dont like kids.

and congrats on your 1666th post!

medusa said...

I love the train ride along the Hudson - I grew up around Poughkeepsie, lived in Albany, and have friends/family at various points between those cities and NYC. There's something very soothing about passing the river and familiar sights: the old crumbling castle on its tiny island, the bridge my grandfather helped build, the spot where we took a Hudson River Dayliner cruise on my seventh birthday...

She, there are quiet cars on some of the commuter trains, although the only time I took one, a man got on and sat behind me and started gabbing on his cell phone. Nobody said anything and finally I did (out of character for me to be that assertive, but I was so annoyed I was shaking) and he pleaded ignorance, apologized, and shut off his phone. I should have spoken up earlier!

Leonard Stegmann said...

Whining? Me?