… and I was one of them.
Yesterday on the metro, I heard a phone go off, but no one answered it. I tried to figure out whose it was, but couldn’t. Then it went off again, but with a different tone.
A few minutes later, I found the culprit. A middle-aged woman was seated nearby, and she decided to try out every single one of her ringtones at full volume. As you know, I don’t have much patience for things like that, so after about 30 seconds of listening, I called over to the woman. I said, probably in a booming voice for so early in the morning, “Excuse me, ma’am, could you please stop that”. No response, so I immediately followed up with “Lady, please stop that noise!”
The woman looks up at me and goes on a tirade. She calls me “mental” (which I don’t disagree with), suggests I should just move to another car, and a few other not-so-nice words. I then followed up with “Lady, put away the phone and shut up!”. For a brief moment, it appears she has stopped her noise.
About 10 seconds pass, and she starts up the ringtones again. I tried to hold it in, until a fellow passenger chuckles and says “I guess she won that one”. I look around quickly and notice everyone showing disapproving faces and gestures towards the woman. I decide to try one more time. I said “Lady, please, stop it!”. She pipes up with the “move to another train” and “get off at the next stop” business, but I immediately counter with “You’re not only bothering me, you’re annoying every other passenger here. And now I’m annoying everyone with my yelling at you!”.
She started to yell back again, but instantly the entire front half of the train yelled back “lady, YOU need to get off”, “you’re p***ing off everyone!”, and “you’re wrong lady!”. I didn’t expect such a unanimous response from my fellow passengers, but it was appreciated. I didn’t want to look smug, so I just buried my nose back in my paper and let the rest of the train take care of finishing her off.
At the next stop, an older woman, probably in her late 60’s/early 70’s, walks up to me and says “I’m a former school marm. That’s what we call bad manners (motioning to the woman). You were right in what you said. Back in my day, they let us smack kids like that. Now I’m a tour guide and have to deal with people like her every day.”
I replied that adults are worse than kids, and apologized for my own yelling. 7am was just too darn early for me to deal with an inconsiderate passenger, but I’m still scolding myself for being so loud (I thought I had to speak louder because of the tunnel noise, but it turns out my voice really carries across a subway car anyway).
So, if you were on that train yesterday morning, I apologize for yelling. I also have all of you who commented on my elevator post for helping me recognize when I’m rude. It didn’t stop me this time, but at least I saw what I did and apologized for it (although not to the phone bandit).