I never realized how important they would be … but in the end it became the difference between a peaceful train ride and a I-can’t-believe-this-jackass-is-sitting-right-behind-me trip.
If you’re single and interested in meeting someone, headphones are a terrible thing to have when you’re on the bus, subway, plane, or train. Apparently it makes you unapproachable, perfect for someone who is married or flying solo.
This is exactly the type of vibe I was trying to send out. Headphones are perfect for someone just wanting to enjoy the ride and relax. I really didn’t need to meet anyone, unless it was Ryan Gossling or Charlie Hunnam and it was very unlikely that either one would be on the train. So it was unfortunate for me that I forgot my headphones. I brought my computer, my books, my work, but no headphones. I thought … well it seems peaceful enough. The car was practically empty. I’d be fine, or at least I thought.
It would’ve been a nice train ride along the coast.
He came in wearing jeans, a beige wool sweater, and a blue clip-on tie that had no business being on a sweater. The fact that he could have chosen any other seat, far away from me and didn’t, burned me out. The fact that he started having a conversation with himself made me realize the true importance of headphones.
That’s right. That’s right you’re going to miss me. You’re going to miss me but I’ll be back. I’ll be back! That’s right!
Silence ten seconds.
Yeah you’re gonna miss me! But I’ll be back.
I realized he was talking to the city. I don’t think he realized the city was ecstatic upon his departure.
The train began to move and he continued talking about the wonders of his phone and the discovery of free WiFi. He began rapping and tap-tap-tapping on the fold-out tray table, which is of course connected to my seat.
I tried to ignore it. I continued typing because before he got there I had experienced a writing breakthrough with my book. I typed away before the ideas evaporated. But I learned that I’m not a café writer, the kind that sits at Starbucks tuning out other people’s conversations and writing a masterpiece. I was in desperate need of the quiet soothing sounds background music could provide if I had only brought my headphones.
Whoo! Yeah. Mmm-hmm. It’s back! It’s back. Yeah I got the Internet. Yeah. Let’s go. That’s what I’m talking about. Because you know that’s how a playa’ lives! Yeah that’s right. That’s how a playa’ lives!
Then he opened up a bag of pork grinds and continued rapping.
Yeah … that’s how a player lives.
After fifteen minutes of that, I heard the flick-flick-flicking of the lighter and a distinctive smell that comes from a lot of college dorm rooms. I couldn’t take it. This little herbal cigarette could have made matters much worse. I felt the need to intervene in my own Guat way and even though he denied it the smell lingered. But only for a while, because apparently he put it out. However this did not stop his rapping or insistence on letting me and the rest of the passengers know he was a player.
The trip ended with me writing in a new character … one with a bad haircut, terrible beige sweater and blue clip on tie. He dies … on a train.