The Watcher Cat

The Watcher Cat

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Statler or Waldorf?

On a 3 hour train trip (I know!) tonight, we were fairly crowded--every seat taken.

In the 4 pack seat directly in front of me was an older lady, a psychologist by trade, with some hearing issues, and her daughter. Seated opposite them, when we left, was a lung man, a college student, and his friend. They engaged in a spirited conversation for the first hour of the trip, quite loudly for the benefit of the hearing-impaired psychiatrist. After a bracing description of his high school career--the more talkative of the two appears to have attended Kellenberg Memorial High School, and to have studies under an old friend of mine, so the conversation had, at least some interest. (They spoke highly of my old friend, I am glad to say.) But it quickly turned sour. They were plumbing his mother issues, at full length, and at full volume.

I restrained myself. As did my neighbor, a lady younger than I by a few years.

I tried to concentrate on the first of two novels I had brought with me, a rather twee effort by a well-reputed writer. I managed to finish it.

And then the two youths left at the halfway point. Only for two more to take their place. College students, that is. Again, one talker, one silent type. The talker was in ROTC at whatever institute of learning he attended, and wanted to be praised for his aggressiveness.

The older psychologist batted him around a bit, calling him "passive aggressive" and exploring his fixation with needing praise from strangers. Again, at full volume.

After about an hour of this, I leaned over to my neighbor, "Do you think she'll strangle him?" She giggled and rolled her eyes.

The misguided youth persisted, leading the older psychologist--with some helpful interjections from her younger colleague--to deplore the barbarism of humanity, of which he was a prime specimen.

"Ah," I murmured, "she's going for humiliation, not murder."

"Safer," my seat mate replied.

"And legal."

Of course the little barbarian loved being diagnosed as a little barbarian. Enough to make you despair.

We snarked all the way to journey's end.

So does this make me Statler or Waldorf?

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