Today’s post gets a little salty, because it was Monday and that’s how it goes.
So. As previously mentioned on this blog, I spend an absurd amount of time on trains. I love the trains here, but I see a fair amount of questionable behavior. Or, behavior that passes as questionable on our normally quiet, commuter train, which would hardly warrant the bat of an eyelash in Berlin.
I’ve written before about the salmon-people, and have been occasionally known to mutter a quiet “jackass” when someone cuts right in front of me or won’t put down their phone while walking up or down stairs to the S-Bahn. This is a new one and I cannot WAIT until the day one of them trips on the way up or down. It’s coming, and yes, when you are walking down the stairs while watching porn on your phone, we can all see your screen.
Monday is a split day for me. Normally I have an early class, then head home to grab lunch and gather my things for my afternoon classes. I can either just make a train and be home in an hour, or just miss the train and then I need an extra 30 minutes. Today, I just missed the train, and instead of going and getting a coffee, I decided to sit in the sun and enjoy my book until the next train arrived.
Normally, I am a stander. Mostly because I don’t like the fact that 8-10 people will crowd onto/around the little 8-seater chair sets that are set up on either end of our train platform. I will happily stand rather than be smashed up next to a stranger. But today, it was hot af, I had my heavy backpack with my laptop, and since I had just missed the train there were hardly any people on the platform.
On the opposite end there were two or three people, but I never go to that end because that’s where the smoking area is. Instead, I went to my usual end and grabbed a chair. On the other side of the chair set was a mother with her young son, who was maybe four or so. When I sat down, the mom was on the phone. The kid was running around the chair sets, climbing on her, and occasionally trying to climb over the back of the chairs while staring at me. I pulled out my book and decided the best course of action was to ignore him.
He continued to run around and climb, with the mom intermittently yelling at him, and focusing on her phone call. The phone call was also on speaker, so I got to share the conversation, which I always find delightful. Eventually the kid got bored of climbing on the chairs, and decided to run between the tracks on either side of the platform. A great idea, as ICE trains come through regularly and those do not slow down. When he got bored of that, he decided that shaking the heavy metal garbage containers to see if they moved might be a good idea.
At this point, the mom finally took notice of him again, and handed the phone off to him so he could chat with Auntie or whoever the hell she was talking to. Instead, he took off running with the phone, and the mom chased after him. That call ended, or was cut off, and in my head I was thinking, “oh thank goodness that’s over,” but of course she immediately got back on the phone. To the same person or a new one, I couldn’t tell. This seems to be a theme on public transport though, and my thought is always, “hey, if the phone keeps cutting off, MAYBE WAIT UNTIL YOU’RE NOT OUTSIDE ON A TRAIN.” But no, she persevered.
Mom kept up the calls on speaker, until two older gentlemen came up and sat down in our chair set. Then she turned off the speaker, but continued her chat as the kid ran around and stared at the rest of us.
After 25 minutes, our train was finally pulling in. I got up and went to go stand next to the doors, and of course the kid comes running in front of me. The train is still moving (super safe), but mom is far behind, still on the phone. The kid runs up, and starts stabbing at the button to open the door. When the doors open, of course all the people disembarking have to go around this little kid, because he’s still standing in the way. As the last passengers get off, the mom comes around me (HUGE pet peeve, wait until everyone is off THEN get on train), and gets on with the kid.
I’m already shaking my head at this point, when the little shit turns around, points his finger at me and shouts “NEIN!”
Oh for fuck’s sake. I look at his mom, who is of course still on the phone and say “CONTROL YOUR KID.” Yes, in English.* Which I normally avoid uttering a word of on the train lest I am outed as a foreigner.
Yes, I am becoming that person. She gave me the nastiest look at I walked off to go sit down, but seriously… you’ve been on the phone for half an hour now while your kid runs around acting like a little shit, and I’m the bad person? No.
I know kids will be kids. But when kids are being kids, perhaps get off the f-in phone and teach them how to behave in public?
I sat in my usual spot in the back of the carriage, and from that point until they got off the train 20 minutes later, I could still hear them. The mom was still on the phone, and the kid was running from one end of the train to the other, occasionally screaming. She must have put the phone down at some point, because I could see her reflection in the ceiling as she chased him. After that he started crying and she put him in some sort of ‘time out’ situation which, judging by the reflection and the whining, was fairly short lived. But when they got off the train, she had him by one arm and the phone to her ear with the other.
Maybe it all stems from jealousy because I barely have service in the middle of the city and I don’t understand how all these people are able to chat for nearly an hour, uninterrupted as the train travels over canal and forest. It astounds me.
I also know that it’s incredibly easy for me as a childless person to be like, “hey, why don’t you teach your kid, you horrible parent, you,” but the amount of crap I witness like this on the train is amazing. It’s obnoxious enough when people can’t get off the phones while walking in high traffic areas at rush hour, but when they’re wandering about AND they’re teaching their kids that this kind of thing is okay? Nope. Nope. Can’t handle it.
End rant. Happy Monday, don’t teach your kids to be dicks.
*BV clarified for me this evening how to say it correctly in German, in both the formal and informal. I think informal is both easier and more appropriate to their behavior but that’s probably not correct. Oh well.
Editor’s Note: This is part of a 31-day challenge series for the month of May, in which I aim to spend at least 15 minutes writing about whatever strikes my fancy. Results may vary.