Saturday, December 19, 2009

203 - Unceasing grumpiness

Hello bloggers, happy holidays to you all, whether that means you're cozied up to a significant other on the couch watching Christmas specials, or visiting relatives finally after a few long months of school, or even if that means you're working even harder at your jobs, taking advantage of the holiday spirit and the accompanying increase in expenditure. Or crime rates, if you're a cop. Or frequency of car accidents, if you're a doctor.

I, myself, am staying with my aunt and uncle and their five kids in Gravesend. The entire journey took about four hours of lugging around a 30kg suitcase, a tremendous level of perpetual anxiety, and a good many four-letter words whispered under my breath. Blame it on the bad weather, snow shrouding the train tracks, ice adding an indomitable amount of friction to the rails. Blame it on bad luck, the first train I took didn't arrive in time at the station where I was supposed to change over to my second train. And I guess we should also blame it on my bad attentive skills for getting off at the wrong station once or twice.

Ah, well. I'm here now, safe and sound. A little chafed, but still around.

I'll tell you who was chafing - this grumpy old man sitting on the train near me. He was mumbling to himself as I took my time bringing my thirty kilogram baggage on board. I'm sorry I don't go to the gym more often. 

I couldn't get a good listen to what he was saying. He was probably exclaiming his disdain for people who bring large luggage on to the train. Or teenagers who wear eyeliner (...I'm trying something...). Or maybe Asians. Maybe he's an Asian hater. Shame on him.

Then I sat down, waiting for the train to begin moving. And as you naturally do on public transportation, I looked out the window to avoid awkward gazes.

Then I heard him suddenly exclaim, "Oh, just get this train bloody train moving already, will ya?!" so everyone could hear him. That did not work because the conductor was three carriages away. I wonder if the man knew that.

Of course, it took another twelve-ish minutes for the train to start up, and for the whole time he continually murmured to himself, grumbled about the weather, kvetched about the National Rail, and bellyached about the delay.

Just as the train started moving finally, someone a couple of seats behind us had taken out their PlayStation Portable, playing Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars, judging from the music and the foul-mouthed character sound effects. The volume was turned up high, but I didn't care, I don't mind rap music.

After several shakes of the head, glances up at the ceiling (God?) and a slight reddening of the face and a light quivering/vibrating (lol?), the grumpy old man turned his head around and shouted, "COULD YOU KEEP THAT BLOODY NOISE TO YOURSELF, PLEASE?"

The person with the PSP and his friends all had a chuckle, as did I to the cold scenery outside, then the guy with the PSP lowered the volume by the slightest, slightest, most minuscule degree possible that would achieve the change of being 'quieter than before'. Grumpy probably did not appreciate this move but it was very funny to me.

Grumpy kept mumbling to himself, "bloody disrespectful youth these days", "bloody delay", "bloody repetitive train information announcer", "bloody climate", "bloody many stations...", "bloody, bloody 'ell"...

And damn, I really wanted to tell him to keep the bloody noise down himself. He's freakin' annoying himself as well. Does he expect everybody in the world to keep quiet just for him? Does he expect me to give myself a fractured spine just for him? Does he expect the train service to risk busting the wheels just for him? Does he expect Mother Nature to make it snow elsewhere just for him?

It was kind of amusing, a little annoying, undoubtedly entertaining, and a tad bit sad. The guy's face was so scrunched up, the lips and cheeks that formed his frown so pronounced that it looked like he had never smiled in his life. He looked absolutely miserable, he looked like he had never laughed before, like he didn't know how to see the good side of anything. I hope I don't ever turn into someone like that. 

I probably won't, even though I could see where he was coming from, getting annoyed at just about anything and everything.

If you ask me, he should try blogging.


Plentymorefishoutofwater said...

Not sure me and you would get on la. Unceasing grumpiness is my speciality. Loving your work though.

Naomi said...

I have not had the displeasure of sitting next to someone angry for long periods of time very ofter, but I usually find myself next to people who laugh loudly to themselves, shout into their phones because of the "poor service in the area", or "share" their music with lousy headphones. (I actually don't mind the last of the three, except for when it is polka music *ugh. that was an unusually long two hours*)

J.J. in L.A. said... dad was in England??? ; )

Madame DeFarge said...

welcome to the holidays. Have a great time at Christmas and New Year

RawknRobynsGoneBlogWild said...

Wait JJ in LA, are you my long-lost half sister?..I'm from LA too..hmmm..? :)
Happy Holidays Michael.

J.J. in L.A. said...


Knowing my dad, I wouldn't be surprised! Haha!!!


Anonymous said...

Wow, she's got a chip on her shoulder for her dad as well!

gaf85 said...

Michael, "bah, humbug"!
People like that are sad and miserable, it's best to ignore them and yes, hope you are never like them.
Michael, I'm so glad you are able to spend your holidays with family while so far away from home. I imagine it is hard not to miss your kin.
Best wishes for a happy holiday. Looking forward to 2010 and what gems you will mine with your words. Sincerely, Celeste