You’ve just settled into your seat, good book in one hand, hot coffee in the other; your phone is turned off, and you have every intention of enjoying the next few hours of train travel in a quiet, relaxed fashion.
Then, not even five pages into the first chapter, the man behind you starts talking. He’s not just talking a little too loudly for everyone’s comfort, he’s talking trash, crudely hijacking the train and all its passengers, regaling his three buddies with endless tales of his sexual exploits, his uninformed opinions and his grinding misogyny.
Oh, and he’s married, so his exploits take on an even darker cast — as does his evident glee in sharing them.
What’s worse: he just doesn’t quit yapping. Two hours into the trip and he shows no sign of letting up — or shame for that matter. With each passing mile and each repulsive anecdote, you’re getting more upset. So, what do you do? Ask him politely to keep it down? Speak to an attendant about intervening? Or do you do what one traveller did in the U.S. when faced with the identical situation — take a photo of big mouth and post it on your Facebook page with the intention of publicly shaming him.
According to a recent article in The Daily Mail, one woman got so sick of listening to her noisy fellow traveller and his friends brag about their infidelities while describing their wives as being “too stupid” to catch on. So with a snitch’s secret vengeful zeal in one hand and the power of social media and a camera phone in the other, she broadcast his image and details of his conversation throughout the cyber world where it has been reposted thousands of times.
The lesson for the man in question, if he is capable of absorbing meaning from consequence, that is, is clear: if you’re going to cheat on your wife, it’s wise to keep it to yourself.
I can’t say I’m too worked up about the violation of his privacy. Namely because he doesn’t appear to value it. It’s hard to invoke concerns about privacy when you’re broadcasting your depravity audibly among strangers.
But I wonder how the woman who posted his picture feels about her decision to share his photo online now. In the moment, it may have felt like a victory, a strike against every blowhard creep she’d ever encountered (and they are legion).
But I wonder if it wouldn’t have been wiser and more meaningful an act to turn around in her seat and confront him directly. To tell him to pipe down and that he ought to be ashamed of himself. I bet she would have gathered support from the other train riders. I think the “stupid” wives who are unfortunately wed to the creep and his wretched buddies would have silently thanked her for it.