What Happens in the Acela Quiet Car Stays in the Acela Quiet Car, Unless Twitter is Involved
Posted on June 7, 2012 Posted by John Scalzi 34 Comments
Yesterday I traveled from New York City to Philadelphia on the train, specifically Amtrak’s Acela high-speed train. The comparent I ended up sitting in was the “Quiet Car,” i.e., the one in which you don’t use your cell phone to make calls and otherwise keep things down to a murmur. Naturally, I went on Twitter to joke about it:
On the Acela to Philadelphia. In the "quiet car." My airhorn is soon to be a delightful surprise!— John Scalzi (@scalzi) June 6, 2012
But then something strange began to happen:
People are beginning to hum in the quiet car of the Acela. I think that may be against the rules.— John Scalzi (@scalzi) June 6, 2012
And then, my friends, it got nuts:
OH MY GOD THE QUIET CAR OF THE ACELA HAS ERUPTED INTO A FULL BLOWN PRODUCTION OF STEPHEN SONDHEIM'S "MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG"— John Scalzi (@scalzi) June 6, 2012
HOLY CRAP NOW THE QUIET CAR ON THE ACELA HAS THE MOST RIGHTEOUS GUITAR SOLO BATTLE SINCE RALPH MACCHIO AND STEVE VAI IN "CROSSROADS"— John Scalzi (@scalzi) June 6, 2012
GEEZ LOUISE NOW EACH OF US IN THE ACELA QUIET CAR HAS BEEN GIVEN A TEN FOOT JAPANESE DRUM AND TOLD TO BEAT IT FOR OUR VERY LIVES— John Scalzi (@scalzi) June 6, 2012
JUMPIN' JIMNEY THEY HAVE BROUGHT OUT THE VUVUZELAS AND DEMANDED A JAZZ FREE FORM VERSION OF "NOVEMBER RAIN"— John Scalzi (@scalzi) June 6, 2012
DEAR LORD IAN MCKELLEN AND PATRICK STEWART HAVE ARRIVED IN THE ACELA QUIET CAR AND ARE NOW PERFORMING A DECLAIM-OFF— John Scalzi (@scalzi) June 6, 2012
Now arriving in Philly. THIS HAS BEEN THE MOST UNSATISFACTORY QUIET CAR EVER AND I WILL COMPLAIN TO AMTRAK.— John Scalzi (@scalzi) June 6, 2012
I’m guessing that they put something in the Coke Zero on the quiet car. Or perhaps Scalzi deviated across to the mirror universe where he drinks Pepsi Max
I knew there was a reason I never got involved with Twitter (besides a complete lack of free time ). Seeing those posts would NOT have been condusive to dealing with clients yesterday afternoon.
I think this means your next novel must be written on the Acela Quiet Car, from which you, like poor Charlie on the MTA, may never return (until the manuscript is finished, at least.)
You couldn’t even get through a short “quiet car” ride without acting like a 12-year-old, could you?
it got nuts
Hmmm… I think I know who that something was…
Tor’s picking up the bar tab?
Having actually been on the quiet car, what really happens is someone on the car burps and everyone else gives them the Stare of Death. I’d’ve been tempted to liven the place up a bit too.
You, sir, are a huge goofball.
Keep it up. :P
And @Peter Cashwell — thx. Now I have that damn song stuck in my head. “He may ride forever ‘neath the streets of Boston, he’s the man who never returned…” Argh. It takes me days to get it out once it’s in….damn you! ;)
Speaking strictly as someone who rides Amtrak ONLY in the quiet car, and will shoot poison darts into anyone whose phone even vibrates, I must admit that if people spontaneously broke into song and pulled out instruments, I would probably enjoy it, and assist in barricading the door so the people in the noisy cars couldn’t come in and share it.
I lost it at “vuvuzelas” and coffee came out my nose. Excellent work, Sir! Best laugh of my day!
Personally, I think there are never enough performances of Merrily We Roll Along. (And a new cast album, based on the recent Encores! concert, is arriving in July. W00t!)
And with a straight face you’ve been tweeting us that.
I would pay good money to see a declaim-off between Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen, with or without a train car being involved at any point.
I saw Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen in Waiting for Godot. It was more of a goof-off than a declaim-off though.
I do so love a good vuvuzela joke.
Isn’t there some rule against using Allcaps in the Quiet Car?
Did you snicker and giggle while posting those tweets? And did you receive a satisfying number of Stares of Death?
lif strand: I had assumed that was sorta the point…
wow. I think we were on the same car. It was like Chrstmas morning in Whoville.
Kinda boring morning at work. Came home for lunch. Fired up the computer, as is my wont. Checked Whatever first, of course. ROFL. I’m laughing for lunch. Thank you!
I had a different song running through my head reading this. If you haven’t heard “Acela” by Fountains of Wayne, I suggest giving it a listen.
Indeed, Mr. Scalzi? [insert Raised Eyebrow of Dubiousness here] One rather suspects that you are playing a trifle fast and loose with the truth. Again. Have you ever considered a career as a writer of fantastic fiction?
Taiko drumming FTW — I would probably pay good money to see many of those things, Quiet Car notwithstanding. I have been the recipient of the Stare of Death for an ill-timed snicker; the Quiet Car is a cross between a research library and a funeral parlor.
You should have heard what was happening in the other cars.
Seriously, man, if no one launched into “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling” you’ve got nothing to bitch about.
Indeed, Mr. Scalzi? [insert Raised Eyebrow of Dubiousness here] One rather suspects that you are playing a trifle fast and loose with the truth.
I totally agree. There’s not enough TIME to perform all of Merrily We Roll Along between NY and Philly. Much less the other stuff. Sheesh.
Lucid Tatters: Try replacing it with Bobbie and Jackie and Jack.
I must say that I am irresistibly inclined to doubt the veracity of these assertions.
STEPHEN SONDHEIM AND GEORGE FURTH’S MUSICAL MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG
Fixed that for you. ;-)
Wait, what? You had Twitter but not YouTube? Which parallel universe were you in?
The event that caused me to switch to first class whenever possible was a trip from Doncaster to Peterborough where a group in the quiet car started up a game of bingo, handing out cards and everything. They seemed quite offended when I asked them to hold it down.
“a group in the quiet car started up a game of bingo,”
Hmm. What extras are needed for Silent Bingo…actually, it’s just a bunch of signs. Twenty of them, I think. This could work…
Wow, I’ve never heard of New Jersey (or even Amtrak) having that effect on people before. That quiet car must be something special.