18 February 2019

STFU!

When I took the train from Sheffield to Saxilby in Lincolnshire, I figured I would have some good , peaceful reading time both there and back. The journey takes around seventy five minutes - plenty of time to devour a good few pages.

However...

On the way there there were two middle aged women in my carriage. Stupidly, they had got on the wrong train. They were rough, ill-educated women with loppy hair and bad manners. They kept swearing in an unladylike manner and wanted to blame somebody for their mistake. They circled their self-made problem from various angles, often repeating themselves. They spoke loudly and twice used their mobile phones to complain to family members about what had happened. Why the hell they didn't get off the train at the very next stop I have no idea.

Their presence on the train prevented me from reading.

In a fantasy scenario that I hatched secretly in my brain, I stood up, went over to these two unpleasant women, and yelled, "SHUT THE **** UP OR I WILL CHUCK YOU OFF THE TRAIN!"  They quaked with surprise and fear and were completely silent for the rest of the journey.

On the way back to Sheffield there was a thirty something woman on the train just behind me. She was accompanied by her two little girls aged five and seven. The girls were talking and behaving in an entirely normal girlish manner but the mother - oh, the mother! Quelle horreur! - as the French might say.

Her loud talk was all about discipline, disapproval and admonishment. Nothing those two poor girls could say or do attracted any kind of approval, laughter or delight. I felt so sorry for them and rather sorry for myself as again there was no chance of concentrating on my book.

In my fantasy response, I stood up and bent over the woman, saying quietly, "This is no way to speak to children my dear! Do you love them? If so, you must show them your love in the way that you talk to them. Stop criticising everything they say and do! I have been subjected to your horrible whining voice for the last hour so I just have one more thing to say to you -  SHUT THE **** UP!"

21 comments:

  1. Oh dear! You know you have come to the right place when you wish to vent or rant about train journeys - I do so many of them regularly that I could not just write a book about them, but an entire series (with spin-offs)!
    Yes, sometimes our fellow passengers truly put our patience to the test. It is not only mobile phones that can be really annoying; some folks manage that without any technical support.
    I find it helps reading in a different language than the one spoken; as I mostly read in English and pasengers speak English with each other only occasionally, it makes it easier to mentally block out their conversations.

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    1. I don't travel on trains very often. You are clearly more adept than I am at shutting out intrusive voices.

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  2. I am middle aged, sometimes swear, repeat myself, want to blame someone else for my mistakes and have frizzy hair (whatever is loppy hair?) I hope i never get on your train!

    Those poor wee girls will grow to believe they are hopeless/ stupid/ lazy or whatever charge is laid on themand it's a terrible shame but the mother was probably doing the only thing she knew.

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    1. You are too forgiving Kylie. "Loppy" = lank, greasy and ill-maintained. I think that when folk are travelling on public transport they should be sensitive to the presence of other travellers. Remember - all three of those women were totally unaware that I was even on the train but their presence could not be ignored. My fantasy responses were just in my head.

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    2. It breaks my heart when I see kids treated badly, the only reason I can come close to forgiving it is because I know I did some shocking things as a young mother and I regret them awfully

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  3. Some people delight in showing off their ignorance and lack of manners for all the world to see. They would have thoroughly enjoyed it if you HAD told then to STFU...it would have merely added fuel to the fire. I certainly understand the impulse, though. Last week two separate mothers of students at the middle school called and blasted me with a torrent of swearing and abuse because I happened to be the one who answers the phone. I would have loved to scream back "STFU!!" before hanging up on them, but of course I couldn't...still, it's no mystery why their kids act out and get in trouble regularly.

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    1. You are at the frontline at that school with the generals behind you. I guess it's only natural that from time to time you will have to take some flak. Best to just smile.

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  4. In his latest book, your fellow Yorkshire man recounts a tale of him and his partner being in the "quiet" carriage on the train from London to Yorkshire. He heard a lady a few rows in front pass comment in a derogatory tone about a fellow passenger talking.
    On leaving the train he looked her in the eye and said," My dear, yes this is a quiet carriage. NOT a trappist one!"

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  5. Sorry. I forgot to include his name. Alan Bennett, as if you couldn't guess!

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    1. To tell you the truth, I would have preferred a trappist carriage last Friday!

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  6. People can be rude beasts. Sometimes they are. This is part of being a human- we have to share our spaces with rude beasts.
    And then sometimes, humans can be angels and we are lucky to share space with them.
    But I do feel very, very sorry for those children.

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    1. It was easy to tell that their lives are going to be twisted by meanness. When we all got up coming into Sheffield station I looked at the two girls and they looked at me. My heart went out to them but of course I didn't say a word.

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  7. I knew there was another reason why I rarely use public transport. Mind you I'm much more sanguine about these things now that I used to be. I'd have been tempted to write the second lady a little note of positivity and pass it to her when the first of us got off the train.

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    1. You would have had to use very small words.

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  8. Some people are the author of their own fate and some people don't know when they're well off and then there are complainers!

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    1. ...and then there are retired Canadian schoolteachers!

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  9. I know how you felt! I feel like saying that every time I come face to face with you-know-who!

    (I responded to your response, by the way)! :)

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    1. You-know-who? I assume you mean The Bogeyman. I have been back to Kitchen Connection.

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  10. I know those situations are annoying and even depressing (as with the young girls), but I keep trying to remember that people are doing the best with what they know at that moment. Those women were undoubtedly raised by parents who did the same things. My question is how to stop the cycle. Educators are probably in the best position as they can try and model better behavior, but that only goes so far. As I'm sure you're aware, having been a teacher.

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  11. that should have read "people are doing the best they can, with what they know"

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    1. I must admit that I gave no thought to such matters. I simply wished to read my book in peace.

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