Flakes on a Train

The yammer-jammer I described over the weekend incites a spirited discussion at the NY Times letters page today. Here are two interesting responses:

I’m usually trying to read when someone near me starts talking on the phone and I can’t concentrate. (Why is it that people on the phone are so much louder than anyone else talking on the bus? Something about loss of inhibitions, I guess.) Anyway, I just start reading my book out loud. Loud enough so that I can hear myself over the cellphone talker. My favorite part is when the confronted cellphone talker replies, “Well, this is public space!” Since when did it become O.K. to be more obnoxious in public than you’d ever be in private?

Others are more direct:

[Someone the middle of the train] in which I was riding . . . . was blabbing loudly and nonstop on her cellphone. As my fellow riders rolled their eyes and gritted their teeth, I turned my head slightly over my shoulder and yelled (I have a pretty strong yell), “Shaddup already!” It not only had the intended effect, but it also was perfectly legal, and I saved the 200 bucks of a jammer.

Another writer suggests that “train conductors be empowered to issue a summons to the blabber-mouths.” But I have a sense that the wireless lobby may well get the FCC to preempt such laws. Who knows, perhaps it won’t be satisfied till retaliatory book readings and spirited “shaddup”s are banned as interference with the rights of the yellular.

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