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Dumb Ways To… Irritate Everyone Around You

, , , , | Friendly | April 3, 2023

I’m on my way to work this morning on public transport. A woman about my age — I’m in my fifties — boards with TikTok blasting from her phone. My fellow travelers and I tolerate this for a while, but it starts getting on my nerves as I’ve had a bit of a sleepless night and had hoped to get a few minutes of rest while commuting.

Finally, I turn around and ask nicely:

Me: “Would you please lower the volume on your phone?”

Madame TikTok huffs indignantly and appears to comply, but a few minutes later, she’s at it again. I turn around and catch her eye.

Me: “Seriously?”

This seems to offend her to the very core of her being, as in response she gets up, moves to the seat right behind me, and continues blasting TikTok.

Various scenarios play out in my head, including grabbing her phone at the next stop, yelling “Fire in the hole!”, and chucking the offending phone out the door as hard as I can. But I’m not in the mood to deal with the ensuing police involvement.

Finally, she starts some video in which a young-voiced character named Penny is asked to fetch toilet paper for what I guess is her mother. Madame TikTok quickly scrolls past in search of something more interesting… and I seize the moment.

Me: “Hey, I was listening to that!”

I turn around and look her dead in the eye.

Me: “I was invested in that story. I wanted to hear if Penny got the toilet paper. And now I’ll never know. Did Penny get the toilet paper or not? I need to know!”

Madame TikTok freezes like a deer in headlights and murmurs frantically:

Madame TikTok: “I don’t know…”

And the TikTok fell silent. She and I only had one stop to go, but the blessed silence of those three minutes was exquisite.

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