Last night, after a walk through the Hub with a good friend on one of the nicest spring days I can recall, we sat at South Station (a.k.a. "Fast Lane to Suburban Hell") and talked while he waited for his train. We discussed our respective writing projects.
A professionally dressed woman eyed us as we approached the bench she sat on, conveniently the one where we wanted to sit and talk. Tip-off #1 that something unpleasant might commence. We sat down next to her.
After taking our seats, amid the cacophony of commuters moaning about either their work day, their commute, or both, and the PA system blaring departure/arrival announcements, my friend and I tried to concentrate on what we were saying to each other.
2 minutes later, the woman made a deliberate "show" of packing up her belongings. Having caught our attention, she whined to us in a voice that barely rose above a whisper about "you hovering rats." "Don't you know it's impolite to nose into someone's business?" she asked, before continuing her "hovering rats" tirade directed right at me.
My friend and I had no idea what she was talking about, and as her anger rose while her voice never did, she said, "Of course that's the reaction when you're guilty of eavesdropping." Puzzled, amused, and annoyed, I replied to the effect of "What are you talking about?" (my mind added a few choicer, not-so-kind words). She took off in a huff while we sat there astounded by her antics. We heard her laugh to a commuter behind us that she caught two "hovering rats" listening to her.
There are many problems with this woman's story. 1) We paid no attention to her. 2) She was listening to her iPod and was not talking to anyone. 3) She had no materials in view that she was reading, examining, writing on, etc. 4) She pulled the exact same antic a few minutes later when she accosted a different commuter nearby.
It's bad that I sat each workday in the transit world's version of the Black Hole of Calcutta for 2 years on a 90-minute commute each way. To return to it on occasion and see a stunt like this makes me glad that I walk and bike to work now and don't have to deal with people seeing "hovering rats" on their trek home.