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Sunday September 21, 2014
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Death on the Rails

 

continued

Meanwhile, near the front of the car, a male college student was discussing his classes. He had the sort of voice that cuts through the air even when speaking softly: he loves astronomy, but hates Latin, and so on.

The woman, still speaking loudly into her cell phone, proceeded to complain about him - everything from his voice to the silly hat he was wearing. She said she'd kill him (in the casual way that people use that phrase) if he didn't shut up.

The rest of us were just trying to sit quietly and catch some shuteye while we waited for events to unfold and the buses to arrive. From my perspective, there were two jarring voices in the car, and hers was the worst.

Over the course of several hours, conductors passed back and forth through the train as they dealt with the situation as well as they could. At one point, a passenger asked politely for information about the buses. "That's a good question," he responded. "I'll check that out right now." The woman latched her sarcasm onto that: "Oh good, he's going to check. Duh? What's the problem? Doesn't he have a phone? Hey, do you want to borrow mine?" But she never addressed him to his face. She would comment loudly behind his back, then turn and look at the rest of us for approval.

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