The ICE towards Hamburg. In car 11 sits someone who hears the same song over and over again: "The Power of Love", at such a volume that even people sitting a few rows of seats further back can easily hear it.
Unfortunately, it's not the rocking "The Power of Love" by Huey Lewis and the News, which really refined the film "Back to the Future" back then. Nor should it be the world ballad of the same name created by Frankie Goes to Hollywood.
No, instead, of course, it had to be "The Power of Love" by Jennifer Rush, this Madonna who used to record illegal parking, who briefly had something of a career in the eighties thanks to her "tube" and her "racy" appearance and is still on Bavarian radio programs today is played. Or just very loud in the ICE wagon.
My name is Mickey Beisenherz. In Castrop-Rauxel I am a world star. Elsewhere I have to pay for everything myself. I am a multimedia (single) general store. Author (Extra3, Jungle Camp), presenter (ZDF, NDR, ProSieben, ntv), podcast host ("Apocalypse and Filter Coffee"), occasional cartoonist. There are things that strike me. Sometimes even upset me. And since the impulse control is constantly jammed, they probably have to get out. My religious symbol is the crosshair. The razor blade is my dance floor. And just now it itches in the feet again.
After round number four, the whole thing slowly takes on the character of a Chinese torture method. I'm almost starting to miss those premium assholes who convert the train into a phone-intensive co-working space.
Now this song. I can't focus away from it anymore. A brief pause. Another. Then I see myself getting up and walking towards number 77.
On trains, I'm increasingly becoming a fellow passenger, crouching in my seat like a moray eel in its burrow, waiting to discipline noisy passengers. Since the headphones have noise cancelling, i.e. noise suppression, no one notices how loud their music is or with what fabulous theater baritone they present their business clowns.
Why is it so difficult to conceive of the train cabin as a restaurant or a library where you try your best not to bother others with your own noise?
Not so on the train. A company that gives you so much pain and annoyance during the "travel" time that, to compensate for the torture, you take the right to behave as if you were in the open-plan office or worse: at home.
I've had to marvel at quite a few bare feet on armrests. At least feet are mute. Not so Jennifer Rush. I follow their siren song. Seat number 77 corresponds to the age of DJ Rushpower. A nice gentleman, Henning Voscherau type, whose privileges were withdrawn after the end of his service. He holds an iPhone in an unfolded leather case to his ear and watches the singer's music video.
"Tell me, could that be a little quieter?" I surprise him, literally sneaking up on me from behind. The poor guy apologizes and tells me not to control the volume on his smartphone.
I show him the two buttons on the left side of the rim. Now I'm already sorry for having spoken to him at all and encourage him to continue listening to the song, maybe a little quieter. We part amicably.
Back at my place: the man is no longer listening to music. And I asshole wonder if the song really bothered me that much.
Three days later I jog along the Elbe. Noise canceling headphones in the ears. It works so well that I don't hear the rattle of the house keys falling through the hole in my sweatpants onto the pavement.
The silence. There she is.