I was sitting at a train station this morning (10:40ish) when all of a sudden I heard whistling coming from the parking lot. I don’t like whistlers any more than I like groups of women in bars who shriek and giggle after their second glass of wine, and so my first reaction was one of mild irritation. I looked around and didn’t see anyone. Then I heard it again. And then I saw him — an older guy in shorts, T-shirt, socks and tennis sneakers, slightly bent over as he shuffled along. It would be one thing if he was whistling “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down on Me” or “Beautiful Dreamer” or the Full Metal Jacket “Mickey Mouse Club” tune or even “Whistle While You Work,’ but no recognizable tune could be discerned.
What he was doing, in fact, was idiot-whistling — just hitting random notes and scales and feeling peppy for the hell of it. I scowled and seethed, not at the guy but at life and happenstance. There was nothing to be done or said. I for one have never whistled in mixed company. I might whistle if I was walking all alone at night in the middle of the Sonoran desert or along the beach in New Jersey or if I was in downtown Baghdad and looking to brush off a feeling of fear, but never at a suburban train station. I know I sound like a miserable misanthrope, but all he had to do was whistle a melody I could follow. And he refused.