This weekend, I had the privilege of riding in the “silent car” of a train.
It was a first time for me and folks, it surely will not be the last.
As a matter of fact, I may never ride any other way.
Why? Cause I never knew silence could be so damn good!
I know you’re wondering how a chatterer like me survived five minutes in such an environment without being
physically ejected politely being asked to leave by the other passengers.
But yes my friends, I was able to zip up and in doing so, discovered what has to be the Zen art of sitting and breathing in the sounds of my environment.
I should clarify that the Significant Other and I didn’t plan to sit in the silent car.
Instead, we chanced upon it.
Arriving late, as usual, we made our way through one congested train compartment after another, until there was only one left.
To our surprise, it was almost empty.
Only two other couples filled the car.
We could barely contain our whoops of delight and happily started to take off our coats.
That’s when I noticed there was a large sign that said “Silent Car” accompanied by a picture of a mouth with an index finger across it signaling “Shhh.”
OMG. Should we go back to the crammed compartments in the back, or would I be able to mimic library behavior for a full hour?
My competitive spirit was egged on as I heard the Significant Other whisper, “My money’s on the fact that we’re getting booted off this compartment five minutes into this train ride.”
One minute, two minutes, three minutes, four minutes, five minutes…aha, take that, you smug, I’ll- teach-you-what-I’m-capable-of, little know it all!
I win, you lose!
The silence continued.
Other than the occasional ruffle from the pages of a book, or the shuffling of feet, nada.
I couldn’t believe the beauty of not saying anything, of not doing anything; just sitting and using the senses of sight and sound.
As I took in the view, I noticed how snatches of the countryside quickly showed themselves, but then just as swiftly, disappeared.
In the meantime, the Significant Other sat next to me reading his newspaper, drinking his coffee, smiling at me from time to time.
No words were exchanged.
Suddenly it wasn’t necessary to fill the lulls of silence and chatter on incessantly about this and that.
I closed my eyes and thought how I had finally discovered the meaning of bliss.
That was until the train made a stop and two very noisy tourists boarded “our” silent car.
Tourist one: “Oh, it’s almost empty. How cool is that, dude!”
Tourist two: “But it’s freakin’ hot in here, dawg. Like, can we open some windows?”
Six sets of eyes, ours included, all glared at the unwelcome tourists.
I could feel the muscles of the Significant Other’s leg tightening beneath my grip and I thought, “here we go.”
However, it was one of the tiny ladies sitting in the opposite row, who in a very stately and dignified manner got up, placed her hand on tourist number one’s shoulder and whispered, “You are in a silent car. Please remain silent or go sit somewhere else.”
Tourist number one looked at tourist number two. Then they both shrugged shoulders, gathered their belongings and exited the compartment.
The rest of us looked at each other and smiled.
I had to grip my hands tightly to keep from applauding; her husband, on the other hand, patted her hand energetically.