Public Discussion of Personal Matters on the RT — Is it Too Much?

One of the most fascinating things about traveling on Sac RT buses and light rail on a regular basis is watching the development of relationships between operators and passengers who share the same trips on a daily basis. The topics of conversation range from the mundane to the very personal.

Recently, I was witness to a conversation between a female driver and a female passenger which moved from a general discussion of boyfriends/significant others to a very detailed comparison of their respective ‘baby daddys’ and also graphic discussion of the ins/outs of their respective pregnancies.

It was strange…and awkward, at times…to be an “ear witness” to such normally personal and private matters being discussed on a public transport at a volume where other individuals present cannot help but overhear what is being said.

While you would think that such intimate discussions would be the exception rather than the rule, the reality is that people will talk either among themselves or, thanks to modern technology, on their cell phones, about the most personal matters without a second thought even on public transportation and not give it a second thought.

So, the questions I have for you, gentle readers, are these: what is the most personal matter you have heard discussed on either a Sac RT bus or light rail route? Have you ever thought to yourself that you were learning TOO much about the people you were sharing public transport with?

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February 20, 2014 | 7:40 AM

My most memorable light rail commute home (or back to where I park the car) was a few months ago. There was a woman who appeared fairly attractive behind the seat I wanted to sit in. However, the seat in front of her was filled with trash, so I chose another seat. Later, some guy who looked like Manson Family member Steve “Clem” Grogan got on and sat in that seat and began talking to that “attractive” woman who began to talk about methadone and her love of alcohol. I actually looked over at her for a second and was quite impressed by her “picket fence” teeth and sexy coal-miner drawl.

I suppose you would call most of the passengers “poor” yet, virtually everyone who got on the train had a “smart” cell phone, far nicer than mine. Most of the riders were using them, and speaking at loud volume, dropping f-bombs all the way. My favorite person was a female passenger who sat in front of me and asked the person on the other end of her call if she would pick her up at the Church’s Chicken, because she was her “favorite bitC#”. She also began singing Pop and Gospel songs into her cellphone. When her scalp itched, she initially began to scratch, but switched to pounding her skull with her fist as the itching persisted.

I pay a monthly pass for this experience. It can be more fun than the movies, except when it is like a horror movie. This particular ride was a combination of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and “Dolemite.”

February 20, 2014 | 11:34 AM

I am constantly surprised by the number of people using phones in public bathrooms, accompanied by the background noise of grunting and splashing.

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