Daily Archives: June 27, 2006

Phone Kid

I get on the train at Farragut West, as per usual. It’s not that crowded. I don’t get a seat, but I’m not pressing up against other flesh trying to hang on.

I hear some snippet of obnoxious rap music, and I think that if that’s coming out of some guy’s headphones he’s going to be deaf by the end of the train ride. But then I see a woman in front of me on the right lean forward and tell someone to the left, “Turn that down. Don’t nobody want to hear that.” I see to the left who it is she’s addressing, a kid, maybe eight, with a cell phone. Apparently the snippet of rap is his ring tone.

It goes off again. The woman again tells him to cool it. But he doesn’t.

A man maybe in his late twenties or early thirties leans down to the kid and really gives it to him, telling him to knock it off. “For real,” he emphasizes. But this kid is not backing down. Off goes the snippet, again and again.

By this time I’m way past being offended by the noise. I’m just impressed now, in awe and amazement at the balls that this kid’s got. He’s just this little thing, in simple jeans and a t-shirt, sitting there with his legs that don’t even reach the floor. But he’s not taking any shit from anybody. This is his world and we just live in it.

Later the woman and man both leave, getting off at Metro Center or L’Enfant Plaza, I don’t remember where. Dawn gets on and we get the seats right in front of this kid, who by this time has grown bored with the rap ringtone and is just cycling through the various rings available on the phone, at a really loud volume. Dawn turns around, ready to say something, but I tell her not to bother.

There’s an older kid sitting next to the phone kid, maybe twelve or thirteen years old, dressed similarly in jeans and t-shirt. I guess he’s the older brother. He makes no attempt to either discipline the phone kid or to shield him from others’ wrath. He mumbles comments to the kid every so often, encouragement or daring him to continue or threats, I don’t ever know.

But phone kid, he just does what he wants to do. He’s my hero. I wish I had his guts at my age, that he’s got at eight.