Quiet Car

Gray_drinking fountains_2012-08-03

2012-12-05 – The Metra North Line has two quiet cars, one at each end of the train. It wasn’t always like this. The practice has been in effect for maybe a year.

You might think that Metra trains must be noisy places, but they are not. Once in a while there might be some loud talking, but it’s pretty rare. If you want to know if you are in a quiet car, you have to look for a sign. You can’t tell it by the sound level. The most significant noise on the train by far is the clack-clack-clack of its operation. And that’s not really annoying because it’s a kind of background “white noise.” And it drowns out all but the noisiest conversation. The clack-clack-clack is pretty much the same in quiet cars as it is in the rest of the cars. The most disturbing sounds you hear on the train are the conductor announcements, including the daily announcements about quiet car rules.

And self-righteous passengers shushing everyone else on the quiet cars.

Quiet cars are a solution without a problem. And they create a weird tension on the quiet cars. Because people do whisper on the train, though you can barely hear them above the clack-clack-clack. As a result the non-quiet cars are actually more tranquil and serene than the quiet cars.

I think I’m going to write Metra and suggest they rename the cars Self-Righteous Cars.

Tranquility base. Legal has landed.

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