Tag Archives: annoying people

Don’t Forget Your Headphones

14 Nov

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.

English: Bose Around-Ear 2 (AE2) Headphones

English: Bose Around-Ear 2 (AE2) Headphones (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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.


The Lurkers

17 Sep

You ever have that one couple that always seems to pop out at the most inopportune time?

You’re at the park, packed up, ready go, practically walking on the sidewalk trying to make your way home because you have to make dinner, give the kids a bath, and put them to bed. It’s a race. A race for your sanity and you’re just trying to win because if you’re late everything gets screwed up and the bedtime battle lasts longer than your patience can withstand.You’ve got everything timed just so and then …  they come out with their kids waving hello, and striking up conversation about arsenic in apple juice. What? Yeah.

The Lurkers

You try the nodding thing for about three minutes but then the conversation continues and now they’re talking about effectiveness of balancing bikes as your kid is riding his bicycle with training wheels. You wish the encounter had some kind of Bat Cave exit.  But no … there’s no way of getting out of it immediately  without looking like a jackass. You so wish you had Larry David there for back up because you know he’d come through for you.

But you’re solo.

So you do your fifteen-to-twenty-minute polite talk because your kid likes to play with their kids. Their kids get your kid all riled up running up and down the grass, and you’ve just finished an hour-long baseball, soccer, golf, hide-and-seek, and tag marathon. You swear you don’t know where this energy is coming from. All you can think about is how to stop this, because your bedtime battle will definitely be extended.

However during the conversation you notice something about the couple’s dynamic. You hadn’t really noticed it immediately, but now you’re pretty sure of it. Whenever couples hang out, there always seems to be the cool, nice, easy-going one and then there’s the other one. The chink in the chain — the one with all the trivial pursuit game questions for conversation starters.

No one wants to hang out with that.

So then I realized that sometimes the chain needs a break, thus the constant flagging me down when I’m trying to rush home, probably because she’s tired of the trivial pursuit type of conversations. You feel bad because you realize that the lady is really nice, she just got the short end of the stick.

But even though you feel sympathy for your fellow chick, you can’t keep going with this charade. So you start with the signals — the hey-son-you-got-five-minutes-left warning, the hey I-think-my-kid-is-crying-because-she’s-hungry reason, and the yeah we better get going soon because it’s getting dark and the moon is out.  But the dude doesn’t get it. He keeps talking about the effectiveness in compost.

But she does. So she calls for her kids and says she needs to get dinner started. You sigh in relief and try to wave your kids in as quickly as possible and blurt out the words good-bye, before he starts another conversation.

You escape. Finally.

But three days later you show up at the park again at a completely different time, hoping not to run into anybody, but you know that there out there somewhere — the lurkers. They’re out there.