Or a particularly nasty and vicious neurosis. Something.
Apparently, I am, at certain times, hypersensitive to sound. All sorts of sound. Especially the disbelievingly non-stop PA announcements or whatever they're called that they were killing me slowly with on the train.
They were telling us that we were going to be 35 minutes late. Now that's annoying but we can deal with it like adults, I'm sure.
Yeah, at first I could.
And then they started translating everything they were saying into 3 more languages. All the announcements we had, we got them in French, Dutch, German, and English. All of them starting with the annoying Thalys jingle. All of them. Some of them were told on the oh-so-obvious spot by the train guard, who oh-so-obviously didn't really speak either Dutch or English. You'd think that while we wait in the scorching heat in an unventilated train is not the best of times to increase our blood pressure like that, wouldn't you? The Thalys people, they don't seem to mind. They must like living on the edge.
Especially as the train is crowded, and of course, of course, there will be people trying their mobile ringtone, making sure that it is loud enough - not to mention silly enough - to be heard in such a loud environment as a train. Because the mute option is taking too much of a risk, isn't it. One might miss a crucial phone call, and one certainly doesn't want to have to wait a whole 90 minutes to talk loudly and self-importantly.
By the end of the sound-testing phase, I was ready to gouge some eyes out.
Which is the exact moment that one of the guys out for a teenage romp in Paris with his pals, a couple of seats up, chose to start shuffling his deck of cards (no, that is not, in fact, a metaphor) repeatedly, getting ready for some devilishly daring game of solitaire (still not a metaphor). I just had to shoot him a look. And not a come-hither look either. Which he didn't see anyway because he was sitting with his back to me. Yeah, I was murderously annoyed, but not particularly brave. But his mate saw me and said a couple words to him. The shuffling stopped and I tasted power. It is good.
A couple minutes later, the shuffling was back on the cards. Power is also fickle.