Friday, May 1, 2009

City Annoyances

It's been a while since I've posted a good, old-fashioned rant, so I feel like today would be a good time to do so. I've been working in Center City Philly for about 11 months now and even though I am used to most of what I see down here, it still annoys the crap out of me.

Number 1 issue: annoying train passengers. There are some people out there that think that the train is a good time to start a nice, long phone conversation. To those people, I say this: you are wrong. I simply cannot stand when somebody waits until they get on the train to call somebody and talk for an hour. The worst part is, the people that do this always talk in their "outside" voice. I think it's more or less an issue of not knowing the difference between an outside and an inside voice. Yesterday, just as the train was pulling out of the tunnel, a guy gets on his cell phone and calls what seems to be his mechanic. He's talking about a problem that his car has while chumming it up with this guy. Everyone is staring. People with earphones in their ears are staring, until a guy in front of him turns around and says "you know we can all hear you, right"? On Monday, a girl behind gets on the train at Fort Washington and proceeds to call one of her girlfriends to talk (loudly) about her relationship problems. I was playing my DS with my earphones in and I could still make out just about every word. I take the R5 train. This is the train line that actually tested the now-permanent "Quiet Ride" program. The first car of each peak-hour train is the "Quiet Ride" car, where you aren't allowed any cell phones, loud talking, or music devices. Wonder why they chose the R5 to test it out. It's now a permanent program on all train lines for all peak-hour trains.

Now that I got that out of the way, what is up with R5 passengers? I have never seen a more rude collection of people than on the R5 trains. People butting in front of you trying to get on the train, honking their horns at people in the parking lots of the train stations and just being generally rude. A couple incidents to point out: one morning at the Ambler station, as the passengers are boarding, a woman starts loudly accusing another woman of being rude. "How long are we going to have to put up with your childish behavior?" To which the other woman responds, "what do you mean?" First woman: "Every day you just walk in front of everybody else on the platform. I'm getting sick it!" And the conversation fades as the two walk to the back of the train car. Another incident, different morning: a guy around my age is sitting across from me listening to his iPod, albeit loudly. Yes, I could hear the music from his headphones but it didn't bother me. At the next stop, a middle-aged man (in a nice suit) boards the train and opens his newspaper. After about 30 seconds of staring at the iPod guy, he gets up, smacks the top of the seat in front of the guy and tells him to turn down the volume. The guy responds by turning the volume up. Granted, his music was loud. But there were seats everywhere. The suit guy could have just gotten up and moved to another car.

And the last incident, which happened to me: I had to drive to the Lansdale station one morning because I missed my train at Colmar. I got off in the evening (wearing my earbuds) and was walking to my car. Apparently, I wandered into the middle of the aisle as I was crossing the parking lot to get to my car. A guy in a car behind me honked his horn, which of course got my attention. I glared back and him and he mimed taking earphones out of his ears in the most condescending fashion possible. He drove past me and I flipped him off, of course. This guy actually stopped his car to yell at me (again, a middle-aged man with no tolerance of these young hoodlums and their iPods). He starts lecturing me about wearing my iPod while walking in a parking lot while I make the universal sign for "stop yapping". He proceeds to tell me that I "have a problem" and I tell him to "fuck off". He speeds away. I'm sorry, I was under the impression that pedestrians have the right of way in the great state of Pennsylvania, let alone IN PARKING LOTS!! I'll tell you what though; flipping that guy off made my day.

That's only the beginning. Then I actually get into the city and have to deal with more crap, like walking past smelly homeless people begging for a dollar (a dollar? seriously? whatever happened to "spare change"?) and hearing cabbies lay on their horns. I've never wished that cars were made without horns until I started working in the city every day. DUDE, honking your horn will do absolutely nothing! Don't you think that everyone in front of you also wants to get to where they are going? Then there are those people that walk around on overcast days with umbrellas, even if it's not really raining. Swear to God, this morning it wasn't raining when I came out of the train station. The only drops coming down were from trees and buildings, etc. And yet, I counted about a dozen people in my two-block walk that had their umbrellas up.

Then I have to deal with the noisy people that work on my floor. It seems like they maybe work for 2-3 hours a day on a busy day. They are constantly arguing with each other about something. It was worse during the election, when the one very Democratic woman was teaming up with her other colleagues on the one staunch Republican in the group. I'm sorry, regardless of your political affliation, I feel that it's inappropriate workplace discussion to be having when you are arguing over whose fault it is for the current economic crisis. You can do that outside the office, at lunch or over drinks. But that's not all. One day I heard two of the guys talking about breast implants. True story. The one guy had a friend that got breast implants and that's what they were talking about, loud enough for me and others around me to hear. And the one woman is always getting into heated arguments on the phone with companies that always seem to be charging her too much for... whatever. These conversations sometimes drag on for up to an hour and are just aggravating. The best one was on Tuesday, when she decided it would be a good idea to talk to one of her friends on her cell phone while walking around near my cube. Look, I'm not one of those guys that thinks it's wrong to make a personal call during work every now and again, but keep it to yourself. I don't need to know what's going on in your personal life.

Then I have to actually work, which can be annoying here. Everyone seems to think that meetings are supposed to start 5 minutes after the scheduled start time and end 5 minutes after the scheduled end time. I call it the "5 minute rule". Five minutes early, five minutes late. Then I have to deal with people responding to emails without actually reading them, people giving estimates without actually looking into what is being required, and people arguing with each other during conference calls, which is really one of my biggest pet peeves. I've been in several meetings, both in person and over the phone, that have turned heated and it's not fun. It's embarassing, mostly for the people that are arguing. It's not professional and it's ridiculous that people act like that in the workplace.

And then my day is done and I go home. That's my typical day. I don't know how I've done it, but I've kept my cool and stayed sane for 11 months now. I guess I know what would happen if I did lose it, though. I'd probably lose my job. So that kind of hangs over my head whenever I think of flipping out. Thank goodness for books and Nintendo DS and naps on the train. They are, I think, what keeps me sane during the workday.

Ah, that felt good.

No comments:

Post a Comment