Saturday, May 21, 2011

Public Communication

For a long time it was only crazy people who talked to themselves in public. But now there are others who on first glance might appear to be crazy, but are simply talking on their not-so-obvious phones.

As I came back down to the lobby of 2141 K Street, a large complex of doctors’ offices, on Friday, a woman was sitting there and talking in full voice, replete with hand gestures. I immediately looked to see who she was talking to and saw a blank wall. She was obviously conversing with a friend and was totally oblivious to the world around her or the the fact that her friend couldn’t see her hand gestures.

Then I emerged from that building to find yet another phone conversation. This time it was a guy who was holding his phone and having a rather heated discussion with someone on the other end. He too was not at all concerned about passersby who might not want to overhear his call.

I guess these people missed the lecture we recently received on our Bolt bus in which the driver asked those using their phones on the ride back from NYC to use their “bus voices” and not disturb those around them.

While it is true that the right to free speech makes these exposed phone conversations completely legal, I still find them annoying. Just like I find the tell-tale ring of a cell phone in my yoga class or during Shabbat services equally disruptive.

With the advent of hands-free communication, the crazies and those on their phones are just one big continuum, perhaps with some overlap.


Blogger Pauline said...

I remember having to listen to a woman have a nasty argument with someone for the entire train trip from NYC to Amenia, when finally I could get off the train and away from her. She was completely oblivious to the beseeching and eventually dirty looks she was getting from her seat mate and those close enough to her to hear her every word. People seem to be losing their knowledge of social graces...

3:40 PM  
Blogger WW said...

Did you hear about the woman over on the West coast who was on an Amtrak train? She was in the Quiet Car, but spoke on her phone for 16 hours (!!), even when the other passengers complained and asked her to move....When the train pulled into the next stop, the passengers had somehow contacted the police, who came onto the train and arrested her.

3:42 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Pauline -- I'm convinced that some people have NO social graces!

WW -- 16 hours, really? That's a long time for anyone to talk on a phone, crazy or otherwise. I guess they mean business in those Quiet Cars.

8:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yep -- 16 hours, from Oakland to Oregon!

The latest trend I'm observing is employees who won't acknowledge their customers -- even to ring up a purchase -- because they're glued to their "smart" phones instead...

Nowadays when I hire a musician to play on a gig with me, I actually have to stipulate: "Absolutely no cell phone use of any kind during the performance; phones must be stowed and turned off, not just in "silent" mode." Yep, some people will take calls or read and send texts onstage during performance...!

Oh, don't get me started on cell phone abusers!! :-)


4:47 PM  

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