The quiet-coach →

November 23rd, 2012

This is a pretty unusual article, but it’s made me think lots of half-interesting thoughts. I quite like the celebration of pompousness. I also never knew there was such a cult in the quiet-coach of trains.

I avoid the quiet coach; I’d rather put my earphones in to drown out surrounding noise, than worry that I might be disturbing someone.

The comments are a weird mishmash of entitlement, and put-outness. I guess it’s a bit of a case-study of righteousness leading to hostility.

And I find myself being sympathetic to both ‘sides’ of the argument; maybe it just depends who is the underdog. When the quiet-car devotees are winning, I want them to be disrupted and to gain perspective. But I also want them to have their haven.

The following comment is particularly amusing/insightful. The quieter the quiet-coach is, the more jarring any individual noise becomes.

Thank you so much for writing this opinion piece! I ride Amtrak almost weekly, and I used to be a devotee too of the Quiet Car. I recently gave it up, though, as I found myself getting so angry at those who ignored the rules and disrupted the quiet. Every cell phone conversation or loud voicing perked up my ears and provoked my teeth gnashing. I had perfected my own chastising technique, “Excuse me, sir? Are you aware you are in the quiet car?” Yet over time, I found myself more disrupted and annoyed at others than enjoying peace and quiet. As a result, I found it more conducive to my peace of mind to go into the regular cars and just accept the noise. Knowing it was going to be noisy, I never found myself annoyed by the inconsideration of others. But I do miss the promise of the quiet car and the blissful peace it is supposed to offer.

— Melanie Bernstein

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