Busted: Tales of pop-cultural mortification on public transportation

Journey_lSo you might recall that I’ve been listening to Journey recently. But I didn’t tell you that I’ve been using a CD Walkman. Or, that I dropped said Walkman on the bus the other morning, which was horrifying on multiple levels. (Level 1) I try to keep the fact that I still use a Walkman on the DL, and any kind of crashing sound makes that difficult. (Level 2) Upon impact, the CD propelled itself under the seat in front of me, and a nice gentleman offered to retrieve it for me. It landed face down, which meant I had a choice: do I take the joke away from him and preemptively announce that it’s a Journey CD (my first thought), or do I pray that he doesn’t flip it over as he’s handing it back to me? Remembering how the preemptive policy backfired that time that my dad walked into the living room right as My Own Private Idaho hit a sex scene and I chose to call his attention to how artfully it was shot, I opted for silence. And I was rewarded: he didn’t flip.

Do you have any tales of pop-cultural mortification on public transportation? Any genre welcome. Maybe you’ve hidden a book cover. Or maybe, like me, you typically take a portable DVD player on trains and planes and have felt the need to fast-forward through a love scene (or even just a kiss). Totally normal or slightly insane?

addCredit(“Journey: Paul Natkin/WireImage”)


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  • Catherine

    Once I was sitting in the metro, waiting for a friend, and I have a tendancy to lipsynch when I listen to music. Unknow to me, this really cute guy came up to me and ask me what I was listening to that made me so happy…And to my horror, it was a Disney mix that my friend had gave me…I couldn’t lie so I just blurp it out!!! And I’m not usually ashamed to listen to Disney, but…

  • Broadway Baby

    One great thing about being in your late 30s is that you could give a rat’s ass about the high school sophomores on the T in front of you whispering about the fact that they saw the Backstreet Boys displayed on your ipod.

  • Anne

    Why be mortified? I agree with Broadway. Who cares what someone you don’t know thinks about your Journey CD? My kids and I flat rock out (in the minivan, no less) to a neverending shuffle of cheese. This morning we belted out MMM Bop, The Cup of Life, Marky Mark (and the Funky Bunch), Who Let the Dogs Out and songs from the Enchanted Soundtrack. And chances are even if the kids were not in the car I would have burst into cheesy song.

  • Gretchen

    My favorite author is Jennifer Weiner and I was reading her first book, “Good in Bed” during slow times at work (I worked at the Customer Service desk of a grocery store). Well, it sounds like a torrid tale of romance and sex, but in reality its a sweet story of an overweight woman coming to terms w/ herself and her past. But yeah, no one (customers or co-workers) believed that when they saw the title and the cover of the book w/a woman in bed…ugh.

  • boredinbklyn

    This is general mortification but appropriate nonetheless. While riding on the subway last weekend I noticed an older gentleman reading Marie Claire. odd but whatever…then I noticed he seemed to be stuck on a page with a lingerie add for a long time…and then I noticed he was using his camera phone to take pictures of ad with the lingerie model – I’m sure somewhere he’s showing off a picture of his girlfriend!

  • Annette

    A few years back I downloaded a “trapped in the closet” ringtone as a joke with some friends and forgot that I had assigned it to unknown callers. A year or so later on the train my purse started belting out that tale of love and betrayal at 7:30am when a private number gave me a ring.

  • Karrah

    I requested a couple of days off work to go to a concert out of town. My supervisor asked what concert just out of curiosity, and I reluctantly told him it was the American Idol tour.

  • Arsenio Billingham

    Mandi, I’ve had my fair share of pop culture embarrassments, but there is no shame–NO SHAME–in listening to Journey. You’re just a small town girl, living in a lonely world.

  • Kerri

    Ahhhhh! Gretchen, I just had almost that same experience last Friday. The guy came to our house to install our water softener and I was reading “Good in Bed” to pass the time and still seem available if he had any questions to ask me. I tried really hard to hide the cover, but he saw it anyways and asked if it was any good (with a smirk). I know he assumed it was some dirty book.

  • Jake

    When I was about 14, my parents walked in during the “Young Lust” scene in The Wall. THAT was awkward.

  • Shelly

    I just have a “morification on the bus” story. When I was in junior high, I got a bloody nose on the bus. I didn’t have any tissues, but I had a full-size maxi pad. Picture a 13-year-old girl with a giant Stayfree covering up half my face. Not my best look.

  • Shelly

    Oops. “Mortification.”

  • Jessica

    I was on a bus on the way home from class my senior yr of college with my boyfriend of the moment…unbeknownst to me, my roomate had programmed the song “secret lover” to play everytime ANYONE called and my first call happened to be when he was there with me…it was her btw….

  • monica

    i was once bopping along to an N’Sync song in an empty train car one summer morning and i was absent mindedly singing the words out loud while reading a magazine (probably EW) and then i suddenly realized there were other people at the far end of the car. Forget the fact that it’s 2008, N’sync isn’t exactly openly accepted in the Bronx. lol

  • Luisa

    Totally normal. I start fidgeting a lot and making snarky comments during sex scenes, or even just kissing, if I’m watching a movie with my parents. Yeesh.
    And, hello, I still LOVE my walkman! Though it’s slightly inconvenient to run with, I still insist on it. I love my CDs and don’t plan on chucking it anytime soon. Though I did sorta cave with iTunes…
    Don’t be ashamed of your walkman! It’s totally retro hipster. I think.

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