We’re a tribe, we quiet ones, we readers and thinkers and letter writers, we daydreamers and gazers out of windows. We are a civil people, courteous to excess, who disdain displays of anger as childish and embarrassing. But the Quiet Car is our territory, the last reservation to which we’ve been driven. And we can be pushed too far.
A couple of years ago, I was on a Swiss train from Lausanne to Lucerne. I was travelling in a quiet car, as it was late and I needed some rest. The guy in front of me, however, decided that it would be totally acceptable to loudly play whatever was on his iPod, to the point where he was disrupting those around him. But, like so many people, nobody in the car really said anything because, in our minds, that would also be impolite. Looking back, that seems like an odd sentiment.