Master of Ringlets
When it comes to hair extensions, one should not waste any time with the apprentices, but go straight to the Master.
I had a most enjoyable evening in Club na Múinteoirí. That's where Dublin Youth Theatre were staging their 2022 One Act Plays. Written, directed and, rather obviously, acted by the young ones. The second one (O Father Where Art Thou) was particularly great. I had several belly laughs (it helps to be well endowed in the belly department).
The atmosphere was not quite as jovial on my Dart trip back home. I ended up defusing what could have turned into a fist fight between two old ones.
Grumpy Old Man 1 (mid-70s) was absorbed in whatever loud shite he was watching on his smartphone.
Harassed Professor (late 60s) got on a Pearse Street, which a bunch of stapled papers that he intended to warily study on his train journey home.
Me? Me I was just rereading Rachel's Holiday (more than 20 years after the first time I had first read it). High brow, I know, but still as funny and relevant today. And it was the first book that made me question denial and addiction (not that I did much about it at the time...)
Anyways... I could see Grumpy Professor getting gradually but surely more pissed off. Until he exploded.
Raging Professor: HEAR PHONES! (short pause) HEAR PHONES!
Grumpy Old Man: (part questioning, part aggressive) what?!
RP: Do you not have any earphones?! WE SHOULDN'T ALL BE SUBJECTED TO WHAT YOU ARE LISTENING TO ON YOUR PHONE.
GOM: no, I don't have any! And if you don't like it, THERE ARE PLENTY OF EMPTY SEATS ON THE TRAIN. OFF WITH YOURSELF
(I'll stop capitalising everything from here on, just imagine it being screamed rather loud - the shite sports commentary on GOM's phone was after all still blasting).
RP: absolutely not. YOU (that one was screamed particularly loudly) move elsewhere on the train, and anyway you have NO RIGHT to subject anyone (looking in my direction for shared outrage) to whatever inept thing you are watching on your phone.
GOM: I was here FIRST, I watch whatever I want when I want and you will not tell me what to do, or not, if you don't like it, piss off, there are plenty of empty seats on the train.
I could sense that the next logical step was going to be squaring of shoulders and possibly physical violence.
Raheny_Eye (in a calm, yet authoritative voice): now lads, are you for real? Don't you think that there is enough aggression as it is in the world at the moment? (short pause to let them reflect). Are you going to resort to violence here and now, on a nearly deserted night train? Is this where we're headed?
RP: but he shouldn't subject us to this racket, he has no respect
GOM: I was here first, if he has a problem with what I am watching, there's plenty of space on the train
R_E: now gents, the sound of the phone is loud and I too would appreciate if you could turn it down, if you do not have earphones at least do us the courtesy to turn it down (at which point I gave GOM the Look). And there is no need to escalate this to a full blown argument (I gave RP a slightly watered down version of the Look). Let's behave like adults and move on. Shall we?
Barely audible things were grumpily grunted in reply and GOM finally turned his phone down and pretended to be absorbed in whatever shite commentary was going on.
RP tried to go back to his papers but it took him at least two stations before his breathing came back to a near normal level.
Me, I went back to ready Rachel's Holiday, with the bright pink cover and girly font.
As the train to my station I did however reiterate to GOM that his phone had been very loud and that it is disrespectful to other travellers around him, whether he was sitting there first or not.
You'll never guess what he told me.
(That if I didn't like it, there were plenty empty seats and I could piss off.)
You'll never guess what I told him.
(That yes indeed, he was an ignorant old bollix and that with such bad, selfish behaviour he would definitely get a slap or a box some day. But that I would not be there to stop it.)
And that shut him up.
As I got off the train I regretted not adding that on that occasion, and if I was not elated from having seen a funny performance, I would actually not mind administering said slap myself.
Ignorant, selfish old bollix...
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