Recent extracurricular activities have required me to ride a commuter train several days a week during the evening rush hour. At the end of a long work day, I find myself almost looking forward to time spent looking out a window and relaxing to the steady rhythm of the tracks. During peak times, the commuter trains all have a “Quiet Car” available to ensure that people like me who are looking to decompress don’t have to be bombarded with the sounds of Angry Birds on iPhones or Rhianna through headphones or any other kind of audible intrusions.
There are signs plastered all over the trains identifying the Quiet Car and its rules. These signs implore riders to “Respect the Quiet Car.” But the thing about asking for respect is that asking for it will rarely result in getting it. Respect has to be enforced.
There are far too many parents running around wondering why their punk-ass kids don’t respect them. The answer is because they never demonstrated to their children the consequences of disrespect. The same is true of our public spaces. Unless the expectations are enforced the expectations aren’t met. And then instead of enjoying a pleasant train ride I have to listen to some chick yammering at her boyfriend or some tool negotiating into his cell phone. And who are these people bringing toddlers into the Quiet Car? They should be shot.
If the conductors aren’t willing to speak up and admonish the violators, then the public transit system needs to hire bouncers: scary men in black suits to give menacing glare warnings followed by forcible removal of persistent offenders. And if that doesn’t work, then the Quiet Riders should rise up like United 93 Passengers and send the damnable scourge a message.
Silence is golden. And mandatory.