Helping You Get the Most Out of Your Misery






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Wednesday, December 14, 2011


On the Train

Picked the Kid up from preschool yesterday and he was not overly fussy, as he's been the last week or so--owing to a cold and a general lack of sleep. We sat quietly on the train, heading to my wife's work, where we planned to meet up with her and then head toward Harlem to pick up our Christmas tree.

It's not a terribly long ride from my son's school to my wife's job, so we weren't on the train all that long. But we were there long enough.

Down the aisle of the car from us, there was a teenage couple. Like so many awful, awful teen couples on a train, they seemed to see a trip on public transit as "alone time" and they took advantage of their alone time to make out.

The thought in my head was not, I should point out, "Get a room!" If they got a room and had enough privacy to actually have sex, they could very possibly end up pregnant and I thought it entirely ill-advised for the two of them to spawn a child at this point in their lives.

No, my thought was, "Get an understanding that the rest of us have less than no desire to watch your tongues slapping sloppily against each others' teeth." Seriously, teenagers, I don't have anything against public displays of affection, but public displays of advanced foreplay are an abomination.

The making out, though, was not the truly awful part of their behavior. No, the thing that really got the collective goat of the entire population of the train car was the fact that one of the two teens--and I could not, honestly, tell whether it was the boy or the girl--had their little brother with them. And the little brother had a recorder with him. And he was playing it. A lot. Badly.

If you've heard a kid with a recorder, you've heard it played badly. You know that it can sound like a guinea pig being strangled by a duck. Played perfectly, the goddamn thing doesn't sound great. But played by a kid who has paid no attention in music class, it is unbearable.

So the little brother is squeaking and squawking and sending little daggers into the ears of every single person in the car. Every single person in the car is glaring at him and at the teens. When I say every single person, I mean that literally. Some of them might have attempted to read their books or listen to their iPods or play their PSPs. But no activity could compete with that noise.

The teens seemed to have no real awareness that the entire subway car wanted to throw them all onto the tracks. They sat there, staring into each others' vacant eyes and occasionally applying a coat of saliva to each others' tonsils. The little brother kept us his awful song, like a jazz fusion clarinetist on a meth bender.

When we came to the station by my wife's office and I popped up out of my seat to exit the train, I gave the rest of the car a smile. It amused me, in some cruel way, that these folks would be forced to share the long trek toward Grand Central with Lil' Kenny G and his irresponsible guardians. I like to think that, somewhere under the East River, someone in the car finally had enough and threw their shoe at the teens to wake them from their pre=coital haze and alert them to the fact that they needed to take action to save the ears of their fellow passengers.

But they probably all just seethed.