I traveled by train from Connecticut to Washington, DC in early December. This story starts on that train, in New Rochelle, NY (yes, where Rob and Laura lived).
A woman got on the train, dressed for business and looking like she was ready to read someone the riot act. Our car was crowded, but the section I was in had several open seats, including the one next to me.
“Are you getting off in New York?”
Had she not been such a sharp-tongued little shrew, I would have explained that I was on my way to Washington. As it was, I simply said ‘no,’ without bothering to look up from my laptop.
She queried the surrounding passengers until discovering that the guy in front of me was getting off in New York. I suppose, she wanted to be able to move to a window seat. I really didn’t care.
I’ve taken Amtrak trains more times than I can remember, and they always make the same announcement before entering the tunnel that heads under the East River.
“Next stop, in a few minutes will be New York’s Penn Station.
The cafe car is closed. The cafe will reopen after we leave Penn Station.
A new train crew will be taking over in New York. All tickets will have to be rescanned. Please have your tickets ready as the train leaves Penn Station.
Penn Station – Next stop!”
After leaving Penn Station, the conductor started moving from the back of our car. I had my ticket out and ready to be scanned.
When he moved to the row in front of me, he couldn’t get the woman’s attention, she was listening to music. He made what I recognize as the conductor hand-motion to “please remove your earbuds so I can speak at you.” She responded sharply with “what is it?”
Up until this point, I was content not to like this woman. Now I actively disliked her. I don’t like people who are rude to cashiers, conductors, receptionists, waiters, waitresses and bartenders.
“I have to scan your ticket.”
“It was scanned when I boarded”
“Yes, but I have to rescan it now.”
“I’m part of a new crew. It’s standard procedure. There was an announcement before the train entered Penn Station.”
“I didn’t hear any announcement.”
I wanted to say, “stop wasting his time and show him your ticket!” But the conductor responded with a very good one-liner.
“Can I see your ticket Ma’am, or will you be getting off the train in Newark?”
Well played, Mr. Conductor. Not only ‘off the train’ but ‘off – the – train – in – Newark’ and he Ma’am’d her.
The woman grumbled, fussed, rocked back and forth in her seat and finally produced her ticket.
Meanwhile, the woman across from me was Face-Timing her young son.
“Mommy’s on a choo choo…”
“Yes, just like Thomas…”
“Yes, we go over bridges and we just went through a tunnel that goes under a river…”
“Yes, honey, when you’re older mommy will take you on a choo choo…”
“I love you too.”
I saved this post for today. I hope that in 2019, whenever we encounter grumpy people, we look around, and listen for the rays of sunshine among us.
This post is part of Linda G. Hill’s fun weekly series One-Liner Wednesday. If you have a one-liner, I’d encourage you to join in on the fun. You can follow this link to participate and to see the one-liners from the other participants. This is also part of Linda’s Just-Jot-January. You can find out more about that here. PS, if you’re a Maddie fan, there’s a 9-second video to show how chill she is on her cot.