Do I Need to Hear That?

Pet peeve rant coming up ….
We recently moved office locations. Well, we moved back to our previous location while there were renovations going on, and it’s a little less private now, lots of open spaces where you see everybody … and hear everybody … unfortunately.


It’s like those conversations that you hear on the train, the bus, the sidewalks, with all these people with phones attached to their ears and talking away as if they were in their living room, so that you can’t help but hear what they’re saying.  That’s not eavesdropping, right?  And it’s not just short conversations either, or a quick check-in of where you are, or if you’re running late, or lost.  It’s a full-blown story-line, a soap opera, a tele-novela.

There have been articles on this, and they say that the reason why these phone conversations annoy people – other than that they are loud – is because they’re one-sided conversations, and your brain is working hard to hear what the other side is saying, and there’s some sort of disconnect as the brain tries to put together a whole conversation.  Really?  For my part, I would rather not hear about how your date went, or about your life.  I think that’s kind of private, since we are strangers on a bus and I really don’t know you.  Never mind that your life is private, but, why does one have to talk so loud for everybody to hear?  Such as the following:

Woman on bus, on phone to her child:  “I’m on the bus, I’m on the way home.  Just stay inside; don’t answer the door.  I’ll call you again.”   Hangs up and dials again. 
On phone to her supervisor:  “I’m sorry, I’m still on the bus, and there’s lots of traffic, and I will be late … Yes, I will … I’m so sorry, but I will be there as soon as I can … Okay, thank you …”  Hangs up and dials again. 
On phone to her child:  “Okay, are you alright?  are you okay?  Just stay inside, okay? Don’t do anything.  Is __ there?  But you can go to him, tell him … okay, okay … I will be home soon, okay, okay …”  Hangs up and dials again. 
On phone to supervisor:  “I’m still on the bus, but I will come in … yes … I’m sorry, yes … ”  Hangs up and dials again …. 

This went on for another half-hour, until she got off her stop.  Everybody on the bus breathed a sigh of relief.  Kudos to her seat mate, who didn’t say anything.  We were stuck in traffic, on a rainy night, and there was a child involved.  Nobody could fault her for being on the phone for the entire ride, and nobody said anything about her being on the phone and talking (loud) the entire time.


And now, it seems that I’ll be hearing more snippets of conversations all day …. floating all around me …

Colleague1 on the phone:  “That’s it! That’s it!  … When I was a child, when I was a boy, marriage was … look at now … they don’t do marriage .. all they do is procreate .. procreation … certain animals and species mate for life … marriage today is nothing now, it’s a ___, an institution … I have a son, I can … I am so thankful I never married his mother … why do I want another child with her or anyone else … why would I want to put myself in that position? …”

Would it be too rude if I sat with big ear muffs on my head all day?

Okay, done with my rant and rave.  Maybe I’ll just collect all these conversations, and write a book about them.


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