I phoned my best friend Harmony while standing on the train platform and boarded the train on the last carriage when it arrived. I figured the people who got on at the end of the train did so because it was always quieter in there, so I thoughtfully decided to walk to the next carriage so I wouldn’t disturb them with my phone call.
While wearing earphones (which tend to make me talk even louder than normal, if that is possible), I proceeded to tell Harmony about my whole day, the ins and outs of my office politics, my firm opinions on several matters, the way I see the world, wax lyrically about philosophy, etc, etc, etc.
Approximately 8 minutes and 7 seconds later, I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned around to a very unhappy looking middle-aged woman glaring at me. She said something, which I initially thought was, “Do you know your skirt is up?” So, I frantically started grabbing at my bum to pull my skirt down. But that wasn’t it…not today. She repeated herself… “Do you realise you are in the Quiet Carriage?…”
“Oh… No… SOOOOORYYYY!” I exclaim, in the most booming.voice.possible.
Then, instead of turning around and walking back into the carriage I’d come from, which was 3 steps away, I proceeded to walk the entire length of the carriage in the other direction and trundle along like a bungling bull in a china shop. Their hateful eyes glared at me as I stifled a laugh because a) I laugh when I’m nervous, and I’m utterly humiliated that dozens of people now know my whole life story and have been thinking, “What is WRONG with that woman!?” this whole time and b) Harmony is saying, “What is going ooonnnn!?” but I can’t answer her because #quietcarriage.
Then I walk into the next carriage and burst out laughing, so now THAT whole carriage is staring at me too. It felt really good.
When I got off the train a few minutes later, I had to walk back up the platform past the quiet section and come face-to-face with holier-than-thou eyes again… all quiet and smug in their stupid special carriage.