This week I’m “liveblogging” my trip to Ukraine. Unlike traditional reports, these posts will be shorter and more frequent.
Another story from onboard the bus, and we haven’t even reached the border yet. This is getting comical. Whether in wartime or peace, we should all strive to act respectfully toward one another, which includes wearing headphones when listening to electronic devices.
In War And Peace, We Wear Headphones On A Bus Or Plane…Please
I’ve got to say, I’m regretting my decision to take the bus to Warsaw.
The man across the aisle from me has been listening to his phone for two hours now. It’s loud. It’s rude. He’s got his volume turned way up and everyone around him can hear it.
So why not confront him?
He’s not the only one.
The lady two rows ahead of me and the girl behind me are also listening out loud (though this guy has his volume turned up on full blast). In fact, I can close my eyes and hear an orchestra of electronic devices.
Have people no shame?
He doesn’t appear to speak English, I certainly don’t speak Ukrainian, and I’m not looking to cause a fight in the middle of the night in between cities in Ukraine. Trying to silence him would be like whack-a-mole since so many others have their volume turned up on their phones.
But I did have an unopened packet from Air Canada with headphones inside. I offered those to him, hoping he would get the message (even though I knew that the prong would not fit his phone). He stared at me blankly (but kept the headphones). The noise continues.
Good thing I have my AirPods. I’ve put them in and turned up the classical music.
The border is ahead.
Matthew, can you get off the bus when you cross the border and get to Rzeszow? If so, you can fly from RZE to WAW in under an hour.
Too late. But it was 4:00 am by the time I crossed the Polish border – the difficult part was the border itself. Next two segments will complete the bus journey.
+1 for the classical selections. Would be “ttt” (to the top) for the soundtrack to The Hunt for Red October.
I have a solution for this: put your AirPods on (hopefully they are the noise canceling version), do not connect them to your phone and then blast your phone to the highest volume on a YouTube video or music and see if they will like it. When on this situation, if you cannot win, at least join them. I have no words for this type of behavior but unfortunately that’s more common than not.
“He kept the headphones” – Now, that’s funny! You had to laugh. That’s all you could do!
Omg, “He kept the headphones.” This is my hashtag for the next year
Sadly, many Ukrainians lack basic manners in this regard but they are improving by leaps and bounds. As you saw, when two or more “whack a moles” kick in, other malefactors pick up by example. We see it in the states on the low-fare airlines where bad behavior gets copied, sadly.
I’ve found when dealing with problematic neighbors, that creative solutions are called for. I’d have tried this: Remember the children that warmed up to you? Get 10 bucks and ask a woman with a child to go up to all the passengers and ask them to turn their headphones down. Google translate “Please ask other passengers to turn their phone volume down. 10 dollars?” Ukrainian women may seem sweet, but as my wife shows, they can be banshees when properly… motivated.
True story: I had a problematic neighbor throwing loud parties regularly late into the night and was annoyed. Complaining only would get me temporary relief until their party demon kicked back in so I said nothing
but threw a mosquito bait for bug zappers under his patio. That ended that problem for the summer.
I don’t see it as anything to apologize for Ukrainians. It’s just a sad state globally now. It will change. People will figure it out. I hope?
@PolishKnight, the poor manners are certainly not unique to Ukraine.
I HATE this! Happens all the time on buses and trains in Chicago. It drives me nuts!
Matthew, I enjoy reading your blog. But this post- man, it was bad. Sure, not wearing headphones is pretty awful. But I’d expect living in a war-torn country and having your livelihood challenged is a bit more awful. For that, I’d give someone grace as your temporary struggle was only temporary- and in the scheme of things, not a struggle.
With respect, this is a worldwide problem of rudeness not confined to war zones, but I do not think being at war gives anyone the right to be rude on a long-distance bus full of passengers.
Remember when people used to bring boomboxes onto public transit and think it’s perfectly OK to annoy everyone around them?
Next time bring a speaker and beat them at their own game.