*The events below took place on April 27, 2015.
It was 8am. The train was so quiet, you could hear the mechanical screws of the interior engine clattering as we puttered from stop to stop. I was listening to music on my iPod shuffle when I suddenly felt like hearing a song that wasn’t on my playlist.
It was a song by the 90’s alternative rock/pop band Toad the Wet Sprocket. I logged into Spotify on my phone and found it not even five minutes later. I immediately pressed play, but forgot that my headphones were still plugged into my Ipod and not my cell phone.
The song blasted out loud and my cheeks blushed with embarrassment. I had broken the unspoken rule of silence on public transportation where no one says a word or interacts with each other. That means everyone looks down or away from one another and is lost in their own world, listening to their own music, on their own headphones.
And no one plays their music out loud for everyone else to hear.
For a split second, it felt like I had been stripped naked. I hurriedly pulled out the head phones from my Ipod and plugged them into my cell phone to restore the silence. I felt shaky for the next few minutes but pretended like nothing had happened.
When I mustered up the courage to look at my fellow passengers, I was shocked. The faces around me were just as indifferent as they were before I blasted the Toad by accident. Relief flowed through me but then there was something else too. Disappointment?
The train kept puttering along and I thought about it some more. What was wrong with bringing a little sound to the deathly quiet train? Who knows? Maybe everyone would have started bopping their heads along if I kept playing the song.
Maybe the guy with the square glasses and crew cut standing in front of me without headphones would have smiled and been like, “Right on, that chick likes the Toad.” Or he could have hated it and told me to turn it down. But at least there would have been a hint of life buzzing in the atmosphere.
You just never know what you’ll get when you break the rules. It might surprise you.