The Subway Loudspeaker
Habitat: Inside the most crowded city subway cars
Description: People are often grateful that cell phone service is not provided in the New York City subway system. But there’s already some obnoxious voices on the subway: The Subway Loudspeaker. This is not the garbled voice of a conductor, or the generic electronic voice announcing each station. The Subway Loudspeaker is the passenger who has no understanding of what is an acceptable volume level for speaking on a subway train.
Ideally, the acceptable volume level is “0.” Most fellow passengers will let a “1” or a “2” slide, as long as that passenger is not crazy and speaking to herself. The Subway Loudspeaker is at a “10.” “10” is so loud that you cannot hear yourself think. “10” is so loud that you can hear her voice over your iPod. “10” could pierce your eardrum. “10” is so loud that sound engineers have deemed the Subway Loudspeaker’s voice so dangerous that it could result in permanent hearing loss – or at the very least, a ringing in your ears.
Despite the inability to escape the sound of her voice, the Subway Loudspeaker is probably gossiping about something personal: an argument, a sexual experience, perhaps even a crime committed. Occasionally, her volume level is a reflection of her ignorance: she’s probably from the suburbs and just never rides the subway, so she doesn’t know any better. But more often than not, the Subway Loudspeaker just loves to hear herself talk. And we would love to do nothing more than tape her mouth shut and let us enjoy a quiet commute.
Or, at the very least, tell her to “stuff it.” Quietly.
Rating on the Peevery Scale: