The worst part about travel writing, for my money, is not the lengthy time you have to spend on the road, the uncertainty of the publishing game, or the constant struggle to find new and interesting things to write about. Instead, it’s the brain-dead conversations you have to listen to while waiting for your plane, train, or automobile. I am writing this post on board an Amtrak headed south from Chicago, and so far today I’ve heard three people on cell phones, definitely NOT using their indoor voices. Here’s a transcript of my current favorite:
“Hello? Hello? I haven’t got a signal. I’ll call you when I get there. I love you. Hello? I’ll see you when I get there. I am wearing white socks. Hello?”
I know I must be imagining this, but it seems that on every trip I take lately, whether to Boston, Springfield Illinois, St. Louis or NYC, there is at least one person in the waiting area or on board who apparently has never used a cell phone before. Is ANYBODY still reacting with surprise that they have faulty reception and dropped calls? The sound of GENIUINE surprise in the person’s voice when they experience call interruption (while using their outdoor voice) causes me great internal injuries as I suppress my laughter.
Equally ridiculous is the fact that at least two people will have truly annoying musical ringers, playing at top volume. Apparently people think the “vibrate” function is somehow hazardous to their health, because they never use it.
One of these days I will make enough from my writing efforts to start hiring private charter jets (ha!) and then I’ll be free of ringtones, clueless cell phone shouters, and rudeness in general. And that will be the day that Satan drives a snow plow to the office. I think this screed is basically the result of having spent too much time on trains today combined with a lack of caffeine. I need a beverage.