Shut the door! Geez!!

I sat next to a group of cacophonous card players on the train this morning.  I have nothing against people socializing on a long commute, but they were shouting and laughing at FULL volume, as if there were no one else on that car working or sleeping.  I asked myself (as I plugged in my noise-cancelling headphones) were these people simply self-absorbed and clueless, or deliberately disrespectful?

I even tried the “polite eye contact” approach, but what I got in return was the look that said, “Go ahead and challenge me. I paid for this seat.”

It reminded me of way back in high school days, when I lived in a split-level house with my mom, step-dad and 3 brothers.  We watched TV in the lower level family room, but if the door was left open, the noise would echo up the winding staircase to where my step-dad was trying to work in his home office.

He would shout “Shut the door!” whenever a careless kid would wander up to the kitchen, leaving the door wide open and Three’s Company blaring at full volume.  After a few weeks of this, he got smart.  He rigged a burglar alarm contact switch to the top of the door, and ran a long wire to connect it to a power switch behind the TV.  If anyone opened the door, the TV went off.  If you closed the door quickly, it would come back on.

The genius of this MacGuyver-style invention was that it shifted the responsibility to the offender.  Instead of my step-dad having to shout downstairs, everyone else in the TV room shouted “Shut the door!” at the offender so the TV could be restored.  Brilliant.

So let’s go back to my card-playing neighbors on the train.  If they felt the consequences of every whoop and over-the-top laugh, they just might keep it down and become a self-policing group like we used to be in the TV room.

What if we had a technology that would send a painful electric shock or blow a horrible smell toward someone when their volume got too high on a cell phone call?  Would they get the message?

Sometimes I’m amazed at the lack of consideration in public places these days. Some people must have called in sick on manners training day. I also have a healthy fear of speaking up to chastise anyone, because I might just get a gun pointed at me.

All I can control are my own actions.  I choose to be considerate of those around me and I’m betting that you do too.  But next time you find yourself right next to a loud talker, maybe you could choose that moment to eat your anchovy garlic sandwich with baked beans and onions on the side. 

After all… you paid for that seat.

Explore posts in the same categories: Communication, Humor

8 Comments on “Shut the door! Geez!!”

  1. Rich Says:

    Great – now I’m hungry.

    • davidgoad Says:

      LOL Rich, that’s the greatest non-sequitur response I’ve ever received. Go get a sandwich 🙂

  2. Jeff Bagby Says:

    You’re not getting older, David. You’re getting OLD. Too many letters there, conserve when possible.

    Just kidding. On a serious note: Always carry a taser on the train. You never know when you will need it.


  3. Faith Legendre Says:

    Great post Dave! Thank you for the morning giggle. You should try taking a NY train some time. People change diapers, practice their dance steps, do exercises, play loud music, conduct meetings, shave, spit, urinate, snore, and much more. But on a positive note, I have seen some of the best musicians on the trains in NY and edified my day. 🙂

    • Irene Says:

      I just had a similar incident happen this past week-end. My husband and I went to a wedding in Sonora and spent the night at the Sonora Days Inn. Well we go to sleep fairly early 9:30 and about 10:30 we are awakened by this “guy” standing outside our door yelling upstairs to someone “Don’t shut the F***ing door” and continued his yelling confersation with that person with a lot of colorful words. I thought about just opening my door and staring at him but felt any contact with this guy would just esculate the problem. So I decided to just wait him out. It wasn’t that long before he stopped and I was able to get back to sleep.
      I agree David, have people lost their since of good manners or are that so uneducated that they don’t know any better?
      Sleepless in Tracy

  4. kellye Says:

    I really enjoyed the post David. It’s true…when we are all wrapped up in ourselves, we make for a very small package 😉

  5. Jeff G Says:

    Right on target Bro:
    One of my top “pet peaves”. The solution is having not just a single person respond to the “clueless noise bullies”, but several people. However, it does take someone to be the first to speak up, then hopefully the crowd will support your request of the “noisey’s” to be respectful! I am almost always the first to speak up, or the first to support someone else who does! I believe that everytime I do speak up, I’m showing others an example on how to speak up. I watch others on a bus or in a restaurant looking at a noisy self absorbed cell phone user, and I can see they are struggling with what to do, looking around for supportive eye contact! I have to believe there are so many others who just need a litle nudge to find their inner courage to speak out. As a society, it is up to us to step up, speak out, and set examples for good behaviors as well as quiet the noise pollution of the clueless! Otherwise, we are approving and perpetuating that which makes us bristle.
    Be strong commuters and restaurant patrons!!

  6. Merrill Says:

    Read a study once that suggested a high degree of correlation between etiquette (manners) and social class… Guess you’ve got it quite right ‘ol chap. Cheerio.

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