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Rant: It's Like the Generational Divide or Whatever 


Ranter: Leather-hatted, fifty-ish fellow in a bomber jacket

Location: Pittsburg-Bay Point train, Montgomery station

Time: 8:15 p.m.

Topics Covered: The devolution of spoken English; things old people think are wrong with kids today; coastal differences in transportation etiquette

[Idly, with some long, sleepy pauses, two female Fashion Institute students crammed up against each other in the door of the train car discuss their school projects. As they speak, a leather-hatted man bristles in the first seat. Occasionally, he imitates them without actually speaking, or he glances about the car, searching for the eyes of anyone who might share his annoyance.

The students laugh, and the hatted man has had enough.]

Leather Hat Man: "Like, like, like." Is that all you can say?

[The students stare down at him.]

Leather Hat Man: It's just "like, like, like." "Like" has a definition, you know, but you don't use it for that. No, you just say it and say it, every other word, but you never say anything of substance at all!

[The students stare. Other passengers stare. Seconds pass by as big and slow as parade floats. Finally, the taller of the two students speaks.]

Tall Student: I feel sorry for you.

Leather Hat Man: I feel sorry for your whole generation!

[The students gasp and turn away. Leather Hat Man mutters to himself. Somebody coughs. At the next stop, Leather Hat Man gives up his seat to a woman older than him. He crowds next to the students, who angle themselves away from him. After a tense minute or two, a cheery young woman pipes up.]

Cheery Young Woman: This is so different! I'm from the East Coast, and there nobody talks on trains at all. This will take some getting used to.


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