Monday, November 16, 2009

Did I pay extra for that advice I got on the train?

It's prime commuter time on the train into Penn Station, so there is a certain set of rules, both spoken and unspoken.

I'd have to say, at the very top of that list would be the No-IPod-loud-enough-to-seep-out-of-your-headphones rule. But even higher on chart is the it-goes-without-saying-no-loud-cell-phone-talking rule.

One thing that I've noticed is that the cell phone rule violators usually fall into one of two categories. They are not having one of of your run of the mill casual conversations with a friend or coworker. They are either:
(1) having a heated/tearful/pleading conversation with a spouse/partner/significant other
or: (2) giving unsolicited/wise/arrogant advice.

The woman committing a category 2 prime-time commuting train transgression was about three seats ahead of me, but projecting very well at all angles. And she was giving funeral etiquette tips and advice. You gotta love that.

It went like this:
"People who go to the cemetery just assume they're going to the house after." (Hmm...I think to myself. Better write this down, lest I forget...)

Then she elaborates, of course:
"Not everybody goes to the cemetery. I'm just sayin'--it's tradition." (So what advice was she giving anyway? That the advice recipient should take a cell phone to the graveside service to give the caterer a last minute head count?)

Then she goes on to give the person tips of the Hallmark nature:
"The best thing is, I say as little as possible."

Now at this point, I'm practically falling out of my seat to get these magical words of condolence. What will they be?

Sadly, I never hear. We go into a tunnel and her phone service must have been cut off. I'm left with the realization that I'll never have the proper words of condolence filed away. And if I don't have those perfect words to utter to the bereaved, how will I show my face at the cemetery? Because I now know, if I don't go to the cemetery, I can't automatically assume that I will go back to the house after...


Jame said...

I've been thinking of a collection, maybe an anthology, Who Put the Fun in Funeral?

Penny said...

Isn't it the Hannigans who put the fun in funeral, Jame?

Word verification: mander. Discuss.

Tim Haywood said...

Just bring the casserole to the cemetery, in case there's no house option. And paper plates.

gael lynch said...

But the caterer, maybe no caserole afterall, Tim? And the fun is that free meal--with NO gift! You gotta love that!