The drama of Amtrak's Quiet Car  JAN 27 2013

Tim Kreider on the how Amtrak's Quiet Car isn't all that quiet sometimes.

Eventually I found myself on the wrong side of the fight. I was sitting in my seat, listening to music at a moderate volume on headphones and writing on my laptop, when the man across the aisle -- the kind you'd peg as an archivist or musicologist -- signaled to me.

"Pardon me, sir," he said. "Maybe you're not aware of it, but your typing is disturbing people around you. This is the Quiet Car, where we come to be free from people's electronic bleeps and blatts." He really said "bleeps and blatts."

"I am a devotee of the Quiet Car," I protested. And yes, I said "devotee." We really talk like this in the Quiet Car; we're readers. "I don't talk on my cellphone or have loud conversations -- "

"I'm not talking about cellphone conversations," he said, "I'm talking about your typing, which really is very loud and disruptive."

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