Sunday, July 5, 2015

Of Crowded Trains and Photographs

Regional train

 “...There are too many idiots in this world.” Frantz Fanon

 There's been a lot of stuff going on this week (in Las Vegas) that has, in all honesty, affected me much more than it should.  I cannot stand idiots—those people who have no concern for others, who think they are the center of the universe, and who are just plain irritating to everyone around them (and probably know it and don't care). I know better, yet I am too sensitive to things that should really not affect me (I hope that makes sense.).

As I mentioned, we went to the fest in Piacenza yesterday. I was walking around stewing over this incident and mentally saying some not-so-nice things to people who will  never hear them.  At some point, Mike asked me if I was all right.  Eye roll.

"You know I'm not all right," I snipped.  "This crap is bothering me.  And don't tell me it shouldn't. I know it shouldn't."

"You just have to let it go, Babe," he said to me.  HUGE eye roll.

"Humph."  Not long after that, we walked by a booth selling t-shirts, and I saw one that read, "DON'T LET IDIOTS RUIN YOUR DAY."

For days my husband has been telling me that exact thing (as have a number of different friends), but for some reason, that t-shirt slapped a little bit of sense into me.  I started thinking about how I really do think too much and let that stuff bother me when, in the light of day, little people have little problems that cause them to create big commotions that, in the grand scheme of life, mean absolutely nothing to anyone but them. I really hope that made sense, but if it didn't to you it did to me. The weight of the week fell away, and I enjoyed the rest of the day.

 Well, I enjoyed most of it.

We got to the train station and were able to catch an earlier train than we thought. Unfortunately, the train (Top photo) was a regional train, not a regional veloce train. The differences are that the regional stop everywhere in the world, are older, and usually have poor or little air conditioning.  That meant what should have been a 90-minute journey on the cool, regional veloce train suddenly expanded to 115 minutes on a poorly air-conditioned regional.  That would not have been so bad except that everyone and his brother between Piacenza and Bologna was heading to the coast for La Notte Rosse (The Pink Nights), a weekend of huge concerts and parties up and down the coast.  

By the time we hit Modena, there was no room for anyone, and the last two seats in our coach was the window seat next to me and the window seat across the aisle.  If you look at the top photo, we were sitting in the seats immediately to the left of the door. The big graffiti "S" blocked the view of the window.

Full train with people in the aisles and doors

"Is that free?" a dude with duckbill hair and wearing shorts, t-shirt, and sunglasses asked me.

"Yes.  Yes," I told him.  "Please sit."  I prayed he didn't smell.  He plopped down before someone else coming in the door could get to the seat, and his friend, likewise duckbilled and dressed, grabbed the one across the aisle.  They left older women and men (and others) standing in the aisles and in the area between coaches (Photo above).  The train was, in short, PACKED, but Dumb and Dumber had their seats.  

(Sidebar:  I have a real problem with younger people not getting up and letting older ones sit or with men sitting while women stand. I've even seen parents let their five- and six-year-old kids sit while an older man or woman stands.  My mother would have smacked the crap out of me.  Apparently, it bothers me more than it bothers anyone else around here because I will get up and let someone else sit while younger people keep their heads down to avoid having to stand on their fragile legs.)

At any rate, the friend, oblivious to the fact that the air conditioning was running in our car, immediately opened the window next to him sending waves of heat over everyone.  One of the gals standing next to me in the aisle chastised him, but he ignored her.  The blonde you can see in the photo above asked the same girl, "Isn't the air conditioning on? Shouldn't we shut the window?"  Dumber just sat there and took out his phone.

As did Dumb sitting next to me, and for the next 30 minutes, he talked constantly on that phone.

"Yes, I can't believe how crowded the train is," he exclaimed probably 30 times. "I can't wait to get to Rimini.  We are going to party.  The train is packed.  I think most of us are going to Rimini or Ancona. This is going to be great." And on and on and on and on.  I had no idea who was on the other end of the phone, but that person didn't have a chance to say one word with motormouth. 

 Why lie? He was bothering the crap out of me because I was trying to do some work, and between his big mouth and the heat, I was getting cranky.  I rolled my eyes at Mike who was probably asleep behind his sunglasses. I rolled my eyes to myself.  I tried to block his conversation. I tried to ignore the fact that he had his legs stretched out all over the place. I tried to ignore the fact that he was starting to smell a little rancid. I watched the time knowing that the more I wanted that train to arrive in Bologna, the longer it would take for it to get there.  I tried to relax. HA..

As we neared Bologna, I took out my cell phone and tried to take a photo of the graffiti from the inside of the window.  I had slipped the phone back when I heard motormouth say,  "Wait a minute." He turned to me and said, "Did you take my photo?"

"Why would I take your photo?" I asked him.

"You took my photo," he insisted.  "Delete it now."

"I did not take your photo," I said back to him."

"Then let me see your phone," he snapped.  "Let me see it right now. Give me your phone."

"I am not going to give you my phone. I'm getting off here."

He continued to insist, and MIke finally joined in.

"Are you calling her a liar?" he asked.  "Are you?"

"My friend said she took my photo." He pointed to the dude across the aisle to whom he had apparently been talking via phone the entire trip. "Delete it now."

I was raising my voice at this point, and Mike kept gesturing for me to calm down. This went on for some minutes before I said to him,  "Look, I was trying to take a photo of the graffiti." He snorted, and I took out the phone and showed him other photos of graffiti I had taken.  He scrolled through to the last photo and saw that,  I had not taken his photo.  He threw himself into the corner of his seat with a snarl while everyone laughed at him.

"Why would an American woman want your photo?" a gal standing in the aisle laughed.  Everyone joined in, and MIke and I got off.  I noted that the friend climbed over the woman next to him and grabbed my seat before anyone else could  it. 

Dumb and Dumber unaware....
 Let me tell you the truth:  I WAS taking a photo of the graffiti from the inside, but I WAS surreptitiously trying to get him in the photo so I could write about what a doofus he was.  Unfortunately, instead of hitting the button to take the photo, I hit the one next to it and didn't get the photo at all.  My bad.

The best part is that when everyone in Modena was waiting to board our coach, I snapped a photo out of the window, and Dumb and Dumber just happened to be in it.  The one who sat next to me is the one in front of the lady in turquoise, and his buddy is the one in the purple shirt standing to her left.



  1. Since you were on public transportation, how DARE he insist that you delete it? Even if you HAD taken a photo of him while on the train, he had no right to ask, let alone demand. Was he a native or just a tourist from another country?

    1. Exactly, Pat. He was in a public place and had no right to ask or demand anything. He was an Italian kid, and part of the conversation was in Italian. I usually italicize the Italian, but I have forgotten what was English and what was not, so I let it all go as in English.