Today on the metro I watched as the sun left us behind and we ducked into the tunnel near Sörnäinen. The booths feel like sections in a diner, but no table. Like the Pub tram that winds through downtown, but less beer. And orange.
Today three strangers sat with me and I was the only one not talking into my cell phone. Three mobiles pressed to three ears and three mouths a-jabbering.
Immediately above us was a life-size poster of a person in a bus talking on their phone under the caption “Älä Kailota.” Don’t bellow. Don’t holler.
Is it narcissism? For some, surely. A man talks about cheap sex in Thailand. He thinks the dark ones are better. Another tells his wife that he won’t be home tonight because things just haven’t been the same since the baby was born. I’m going to get some, somewhere, he says. Another mentions that she is on the metro 15 times.
Moi (brief silence). Metrossa (brief silence). Kotiin (long winded explanation of day).
To chat is, of course, reasonable. To call children and tell them you’ll be late, mandatory. But don’t stare across the half meter that separates us and look into my eyes while you do it. Glazed like a jelly donut.
Leave. Me. Alone.
It sucks being a security guard. I was one for three years. Sort of. This isn’t about that, just to say that it sucks. You are not a policeman and you are not a janitor. Something in between. On the metro system they have some power. The power to restrain, for example.
The other day a guy got on the metro in Sörnäinen, heading out of the tunnel, out into the light. He was wasted, though not beyond comprehension. He smelled like he had been wearing those clothes since the millennium celebrations.
He bellowed, hollered, tried to chat up an 18-year-old blonde. Middle aged women throughout the car began to squirm. The kid got off. People looked at the ceiling, the floor, out the window. I feigned lingual ignorance. People got off their phones or talked a little louder.
Randomly, in Kulosaari, two security guards entered our car. One was black. This seemed to shock the occupants of the car. When they saw the uniform a few ladies raised their hands, like schoolchildren, but literally did a double take when he answered them. His colleague seemed amused by this, the young man himself, less so. He engaged the drunk and managed to persuade him off the metro in Herttoniemi which was one station short of where he said he was going.
People flipped open their phones and relayed the story. “Älkää kailotako.”
Leave. Us. Alone.