In his weekly Takimag column, the critical doctor recounts an annoying train ride through his native England during which his fellow passengers did not manage to keep their mouths shut for more than a few minutes.
During the whole journey, there was not more than five minutes of silence. It was as if the passengers I have described were members of a relay team, who had to take up a baton passed on to them by the others. Above all, no silence, which has the distressing effect of forcing people to attend to their own thoughts! They might even have supposed, these passengers, that they were performing a public service by rendering concentration impossible; for if concentration comes, can distress be far behind?
The international oneupsmen exist in droves on overnight flights to Europe. About the time the airline decides to turn off the overhead interrogation lights, there’s an invariable pair of passengers who light up like a pandemonium of parrots.