Monday 1 November 2010

Quiet Zone

I saw "Quiet Zone" on the door, hesitated an instant, then quickly jumped on board. I could do with an hour and a half of calm.

As I found my seat, the woman in the seat behind mine was loudly talking on her phone while her travel companion, her daughter I presumed, sitting two seats back, shrieked instructions on what to say.

She ended the call and then a child, also travelling with her, began moaning about some trivial absent need. I took a deep breath and moved five rows up the train. Here were solo travellers quietly reading their newspapers.

As the train moved off, the announcements started.

"If you're travelling to Lower Clefton, Upper Pointon or Scraggy Bottom, move to the front five carriages. Also at Shepherds Surgaton, the platforms are short... blah blah blah. Blah blah blah. And more blah blah blah."

When the automatic announcement ended, the train conductor repeated the same helpful messages. And added that the first stop would be at 12.47.

Finally, the voices stopped. Only to be replaced by the scrunching of plastic packaging. And just as those eaters finished, the buffet trolley came through.

"Mum," shouted the harpe, "do you want anyfink to drink?"

She had moved up to my row.

Soon more plastic packaging was torn apart. The stench of reheated food and the crunch of crisps eaten with open mouth ensured that no tranquility was available on this train.

The conductor came through loudly checking tickets and repeating his instructions about where to sit for x, y and z stations.

Then that damned child started hooting in some perverse initation of a dying hyena enacting its last wish to sing before being executed by quartering.

I turned to my iPhone to bring me distraction from the distraction that I'd sought from my iPhone.

And relax.