Quite regularly, I find myself observing train commuters and how they use their mobile devices so profoundly different way to each other when travelling on trains. Personally, when travelling alone I will have my headphones on as a form of relaxation. Coming home from a big day at work or having a little oncoming burst of anxiety traveling alone, I find my headphones will fix it all and I’ll either listen to some music or pop on a podcast. I’m sure there are many others sitting in the carriage just like me with their headphones in, yet there are multiple times where I have encountered commuters who very much enjoy the opposite.
By opposite I don’t mean those who enjoy sitting in quiet but instead those who enjoy ignorantly blasting their music, or TV show or Facebook video right out of their phone speakers, or sometimes EVEN BETTER, their Bluetooth speaker. Why and how can people behave so differently with their media devices in public areas? Why is it that some cling their phone or laptop closely so that no one can view what they are viewing on their device, yet others enjoy sharing with the entire train carriage that they are listening to “Old Town Road” and want you to know they are?
It is also interesting on the train to and from Wollongong, where we have carriages which are called “quiet carriages”. For those that aren’t aware what these are (I actually wasn’t aware these existed before starting uni), quiet carriages are “select carriages on intercity train services are designated for quiet travel. They provide you with a quiet environment when travelling longer distances.”
In these carriages it is asked that you (please):
-Put your mobile phone on silent.
-Move into an adjoining carriage to have a conversation with a fellow passenger or on the phone.
-Use headphones with mobile devices and keep the volume low so it can’t be heard by others.
-If you want to be able to make noise, move to another carriage.
However, these are only expectations, it is up to the public to “self-police” these carriages.
Personally, I’ve found on multiple occasions when travelling home from uni, quiet carriages are the only available seats for the hour long train ride, and my friends and I have no choice but to sit in these carriages if we want a seat at all. My “noise complaint” in this blog does not go out to the poor mothers who as well have to sit their children in these carriages as they are the only available seats on the train, but my focus is more towards observing the commuters who in ANY carriage, loudly blast their music or videos.
We all have the right to use our devices as we wish, but is this a case of lack of consideration for others? Or are we who prefer to privately us our devices without others knowing or hearing what we are doing just more aware of our surroundings when it comes to using our devices?
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