New York Times
13 July 2012
By RUKHL SCHAECHTER
As I sat in the subway at rush hour with nothing to do, I playfully scrolled through the various ringtones on my iPhone. I suddenly realized the train had reached my stop, Grand Central, and I hurried out to catch the Metro-North train home.
As usual, I walked down the Metro-North platform to get to the first car, known as the quiet car, so that I could read my Kindle in silence. I sat down opposite two men who proceeded to chat about mutual acquaintances.
After a minute or so I leaned over and said: "I'm sorry to bother you, but this is the quiet car. The first car on the train during rush hour is the quiet car."
They looked at each other, and one of them stretched his neck to confirm that there was indeed no other car before us. Seeing there wasn't, he took out some reading material, and his friend opened up his laptop.
As the three of us sat engrossed in our silent activities, a loud quacking sound seemed to come from one of their briefcases - apparently, his phone was ringing. He didn't answer it, in deference to the "no talking" rule, but the quacking was so loud and annoying, it seemed even worse than conversation.
Finally, the ringing stopped. But then five minutes later, once again - the same quacking. "Why doesn't he just switch the phone to silent, instead of subjecting us all to this ridiculous noise?" I thought irritably.
As the train reached my station, I gathered my belongings and stepped off the train onto the platform. And then, as the train pulled away, I was mortified to hear the quacking once again - coming straight out of my shoulder bag.