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An Angry Silence

I travelled to the office today in the ‘Quiet zone’ of Southwest trains service to Portsmouth Harbour. An interesting concept really; a section of the train where relative peace and tranquillity abound and scornful passengers ‘tut’ or stare at anyone daring to use a form of electronic entertainment or communication. In fact today, one particular passenger had an interesting take on conditions for use of the ‘Quiet Zone’ carriage.

A husband and wife (at least that is my assumption) were sat opposite each other engaged in a conversation about their children, who were not present. Seemingly opposing views were being represented by either party and this appeared to gather the attention of a nearby passenger absorbed by the latest ‘Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ iteration. At first, it seemed, in a somewhat mildly amused fashion at the plight of the two divided parties. Soon, however, they must have proven to be too greater distraction from her gripping work of fiction because she decided to approach the couple whilst pointing at the ‘Quiet zone’ sign on the window next to them. (Which read: ‘Please show consideration by not using mobile phones and making sure your music does not disturb other passengers’). She suggested that the couple should take heed of this notice and immediately cease their conversation or move to a carriage that “allowed people to talk to each other”. Showing a great degree of restraint so as not to actually laugh too loudly as to attract the attentions of this ‘Tattooless Dragon’ I smiled inwardly and from behind my newspaper. Her interruption did seem to serve a purpose beyond my amusement however, in that a degree of unification descended on the unsuspecting couple, manifesting in a shared and instant dislike for their fellow passenger. A rather ironic ‘uncomfortable’ silence then ensued; no doubt to the complainers delight and the remainder of the journey was indeed a ‘Quiet zone’.

A modern phenomenon designed to create some peace in a noisy world, this style of carriage may well bring peace but not, perhaps, harmony. Now, if only I had been carrying one of our extra loud mobile phones I would surely have more closely breached the criteria for this carriages use and I could have saved that poor couple their undesired attention!