Do All of Us Need an Oasis of Civilisation?

Do we all want a little oasis?
Do we all want a little oasis?

Today’s guest post from M Gray:

Do we all want a little oasis?

NSW Rail has recently introduced “Quiet carriages” on its city services. the idea is simple, one car of the train is no speaking, no phone calls, no MP3 players beyond your own earbuds, in short, you can have quiet.

While this seems like an idea of heaven after a rough day, peace to sit and read, or at least, not having to hear some loud distorted music or a obscenity filled conversation. It is not enforced other than by reminder announcements and stern looks, no transit police yet I think.

I was wondering how uncivilised the world has become that we need to start setting aside places which are civilised. It doesn’t surprise me, road rage on the rise, no talking on mobile phone signs in cafes, even shopping trolleys not put away, all point me to think that people have lost empathy for each other, and as such, civility is thinning.

People need civility, more and more in crowded places. Simple politeness and trying to make a bit of room for others can go along way. Places like Tokyo are so big that people are pushed onto trains by people with gloves, and packed in like sardines, if you can’t show a little simple politeness in places like that everyone’s life gets more difficult.

Some people do not handle the lack of civility well. I spent years working in school libraries where many students who couldn’t handle the chaos of even a well run playground escaped to the oasis of civilisation. Students who would start fights or be the victims of bullying, people who wanted to study or just have a quiet place to think would all come to the structured and relatively quiet environment. And what’s more they thrived there. Made friends, improved their class results or just managed to be relaxed enough after to handle another few lessons.

People like this need a bit of structure when they leave school as well, and let’s face it, when we have had a bad day at work, a touch of the flu or just no sleep, we can all be like this; Unable to handle the bustling crowd or the conversations of the person next to you. The Government needs to supply us with civilised places, whether its a park or few hours of sensible “reality TV” free programming in our own homes, spreading this to public transport is a great idea.

So for all of us, I applaud Cityrail for giving us all back a couple of train cars for politeness and consideration, and I hope that it is a model that can be copied soon by Coffee shops with far too loud Muzak or even noisy neighbours. Because if we get treated a little more civily, we will probably be more civil ourselves.

Do we all need a daily break from technology? An Oasis of Quiet? 

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Desert Island Quiet Carriage

  • Bek M

    Quiet areas are so important. The library was my refuge from bullies at school- if only they were open at recess too. I became friends with the librarian and used to be allowed to read the books before they got covered. :-)

    When I was working in child care we set up a quiet area- a little tent with a huge teddy inside that the child could sit on. We talked to kids about how they could use it to chill out when they were feeling overwhelmed or just wanted some quiet time.

    Everyone needs quiet spaces.

  • Claire Wallace

    Without wanting to turn this into a rant, I simply *hate* it when people are listening to music through headphones/earbuds on the train and everyone within a 10m radius can hear it. Surely if it is that loud you would be doing permanent ear damage?! I don’t get it! At least I get a laugh when it’s a tough looking guy listening to Katy Perry…

    I enjoyed this piece Mazi. I’d love to read a post from you elaborating on your bio: “I dream of visiting all the countries that people say don’t exist or a left over out posts of a more Empirical past” – sounds intriguing!

    • Tamsin Howse

      Oh Claire I am SO with you. When I get on the train each morning I sit in the same seat, it is a strategically chosen seat so it’s very easy to get off as I get off before everyone else.

      One of three people sit beside me every day: a short redhead guy who wears glasses, a brunette girl with an ENORMOUS engagement ring (she is recent), or a really tall cool-looking Asian guy who listens to his music at TOP VOLUME EVERY DAY so we all have to listen. Every day I hope for one of the other two.

      And yes, it’s usually Katy Perry.

  • Whippersnapper

    We have these in Queensland. Pity I don’t live near a train station. Usually my bus is very quiet anyway. I think they’re a great idea!

  • Mazi Gray

    I want to buy shares in a hearing aide company.

    and Claire, I am working on an article on my quasi-states.

    I shall pass it to our editorial staff by the end of the month.