Big Issue with noise.
Last week I was on holiday. I went to Brighton, a place that I’d never been to before. It was okay.
When I was coming back and about to enter Brighton Train Station, I thought I’d buy a Big Issue as I tend to do. The seller stood up when I approached him with my purse and it was clear I intended to buy the Magazine.
Before handing it over and accepting my money the seller got very serious and said to me in a most conspiratorial manner:
‘Can I just tell you, BEFORE you buy this, that when I was younger my father routinely raped me?’
I stood for a few moments looking at him and said ‘Why are you telling ME this? He then repeated more or less what he had just said about the mental torture he’d endured at the hands of his father. I thought for a moment he was trying to get a reaction from me and looked at him trying to ascertain why he was telling me this. Was he reaching out to me? Was he pleading for help? Was he just playing a stupid game? Maybe he wasn’t ‘all there’. My question was partly answered when he next asked:
‘Would you believe me if I told you I had the name and address of every paedophile in this country?’
‘No not really.’ I said, getting slightly vexed.
He mentioned something else, which I really cannot recall now but was as meaningless as his previous utterings.
‘Actually, I just wanted a magazine…....’ I said and was about to say ’.....not a f*cking lecture’ when I stopped, rememberig that I was a female alone in a strange place standiing in front of a strange dude who was clearly insane and might go beserk if I said this. (Funny how I get older and can now control my tongue much more than in my younger years).
I got on the train and settled in for the three hour ride back to Leamington and decided to get on the ‘Quiet Coach’ as I wanted to read my book and listen to some music (on my headphones). Now this compartment has signs on it saying ‘no mobile phones’ and ‘Quiet please’. before we set off the driver of the train said over the loudspeaker that mobile phones were not to be used in the Quiet compartment.
So, five minutes into the journey the man behind starts talking to his girlfriend/boyfriend about what to have for dinner, the girl opposite starts chatting away with no regard for the signs or the other people on the train. To top it all off, four very loud people got on with a stereo. Yes, a STEREO. They were only going for one stop but were lauging, singing, talking very loudly and played their stereo. No members of staff told them to turn it off or be quiet.
I just kept my headphones on and listened to Philip Glass alone in my own world.
A quote that seemed apt at the time:
Hell is other people – Jean-Paul Sartre
A quote that I like that seems to sum up my attitude to myself and others:
The environment is everything that isn’t me – Albert Einstein