Rear Window Ethics Rear Window Ethics: Transportation Conversation

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Transportation Conversation

With little exception, I'm someone who doesn't care for casual conversation while on a plane, bus or train. I cringe when I end up sitting next to someone who is looking to talk for the duration of a trip. When I see that they have no book to read or music to listen to, I quickly whip out whatever I've brought to entertain myself as a sort of preemptive display that I'm not open for business as far as long conversations go.

Today on the train, however, I found myself wanting to actually strike up some sort of dialogue, albeit short, with the man sitting behind me. He spent a great deal of the trip on his cell phone telling (in many cases quite loudly) how his interview at Tufts University's Fletcher School of International Relations went. Being a Tufts grad myself, I at first wanted to mention it to him and recommend that he chose Fletcher when he makes his decision.

It was a strange feeling. I mean, I hate when a guy next to me starts talking about sports that I don't care about for what seems like hours, or when a nosy woman across the aisle asks what I'm reading as a preamble to a lengthy monologue listing her children's academic accomplishments. I don't think I'm an asshole, I just enjoy "me" time while traveling. I always feel it's a nice moment of peace where you're forced to sit in one place without much distraction.

So I was slightly perplexed when I felt this urge to talk to this guy behind me. I didn't act on my impulse immediately, and subsequently never did. Once I heard him talking to one of his buddies on the phone and yelling "Dude, I know! I was like totally flipping... Dude...totally... Dude... haha...Yeah, dude..." any desire I had to plug my alma mater was lost, and I went back to my reading without further incident.

And then I wrote this. Whew.