Sometimes you hear of dramatic mood swings when doing a juice fast or detox or any kind of woo-woo-adjacent adjustment… Well I’m here to report on one.
When I commute to work from Pleasantville to New York City, I usually choose the quiet car. This is the carriage at the end of the train where the rule is, no electronic devices with sound, and conversations in hushed tones only. There are signs fixed to the carriage roof that confirm this. If you need to make a phone call, you are cordially asked to walk into the next carriage where people are talking as normal.
The day before yesterday was Santacon. This is a charity event where people dress in Santa Klaus costumes or allied festive, brightly colored garb, and raise lots of money for good causes. It may also include heroic feats of alcoholic consumption (I have no firm information on this last – just a guess).
So, there I was in the quiet car, preparing to read a peaceful book and transition calmly into the day’s labors.
All of a sudden and noisily, about 250 people, all of them right around the age where it is legal to drink in the USA, (some under some over), got into the quiet car (alright there were probably only 20 of them, but it seemed like a lot more).
They swarmed up and down the carriage uttering mottos of seasonal celebration. “Hey Britany – there are seats up HERE!!!” for example, or, “Matt, uncork me another one, wuddya?”
I caught the eye of a passing reveler, “Er excuse me,” I said in my best Downton Abbey accent, “this is the quiet car.”
“HEY YOU GUYS” bellowed the reveler, ” THIS IS THE QUIET CAR!!!”
A compote of deafening expletives erupted from the group. To their credit, they agreed to move to the next car (or carriage as we Brits call it). The motion was a noisy phalanx as each member of the group insisted that the others “KEEP IT DOWN, DUDE!” About half the group passed into the other car, before the collective changed its mind (the train being very full), the ensuing melee put one in mind of the outnumbered Spartans against the hordes of Persia.
Having regained the quiet car, the group then had a brief post-debacle analysis of the situation before moving on to other topics which were then discussed for the remainder of the journey at ever increasing volume.
One of the finer British magazine publications, which I commend to my readers, is The Oldie. The pages are filled with splenetic and amusing articles from grumpy retirees on the decline of standards generally. At one time I would have written a letter to the editor across the pond and signed it “Disgruntled of Pleasantville (ex-pat).”
But on this occasion… on this occasion, my inner curmudgeon had subsided. I simply sat there, mellow on my green juice, with a friendly smile “Ah, let the young people have their fun.” I mused.
And if that isn’t a mood swing, tell me what is.