I had charged my iPod this morning (I left it on by accident the first day of Balticon), and was untangling the earbuds when he took his hand, and put my hands down in my lap. He shook his head and said, "No radios."
"Without headphones," I said, pointing to the sign. The guy was an older man, probably in his late 40s, early 50s, with a buzzcut and wearing city fatigues. The badge over his pocket said, "Richardson." Now, I see guys like this a lot. Some military guys wear their combat dress instead of military dress to work because... well, I don't know for sure. I used to see them a lot at the Pentagon. I think anyarm told me her dad did this from time to time because it matched the dress code requirements at work, and were more comfortable than a suit. Maybe there are other reasons. But I have seen it all my life growing up here and it's pretty normal.
The man replied, "I don't want to hear your rap music while I am going to work." He was already pissed off about something else, I could feel it. Now, most of you know what I look like. I am a fat Swedish looking dude with facial hair. Not exactly a stereotype for listening to rap, but I will admit, I have been enjoying a recently free download of Ganstagrass, which is another topic for another entry (summary: very intriguing). I don't hate rap, but think most of it is pretty boring, whiny, self-congratulatory, and the urban form of "emo" at least half the time with a martyr upswing. But some of it is very clever and poetic, and the beats aren't too annoying. Anyway, I consider this accusation to be kind of funny, even though he was touching me to put down my little iPod shuffle.
I pulled out my music player from under his gentle hands, and continued to untangle them. "Luckily, it's classical today." [NB: really, it was techno and the Linux Action Show podcast, so I kinda lied] He put his hands on mine and forced them down. He said something I didn't quite hear, because he lowered his voice like someone talking to an errant child at a fancy party, but it sounded like he was saying, "Let's learn to commute like mature people," or something before going back to his newspaper.
Okay, NOW I am pissed off. I don't care if he just got his orders or whatever he was angry about, and so I said, "I'm Grig, by the way. I work in Silver Spring. Where do YOU work, Mister Richardson?" He replied to me something that sounded like, "I don't engage in idle conversation," with the tone to shut the hell up. I just kept going with small talk. He then asked me, louder, to stop talking to hear myself speak. "Then let me use my iPod, or else I will assume you want to speak. Choose one or the other."
People were staring at us. Some with music players.
He sighed aggressively. "Don't make me call the Metro police," he said, which was so... random, it was like a non-sequiter. I agreed. "Okay, we'll talk to one of them if that makes you feel any better." Well, he didn't like that answer one bit, and he finally tried to stare me down. I just replied back with a friendly, doe-eyed stare. He just stared, pushing his anger into me, and I just channeled it through the floor. When we stopped at Dunn Loring, he looked around, and got off, I guess looking for a Metro cop or something. Then I saw he just got on another car.
"Man, what an asshole," I heard someone say, and some giggled replies.
Does anyone else get these jerks on the Metro, or am I a magnet?