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Cell phones are a plague

First day of spring in our neighborhood? Too early to tell, but the day was sunny and warm, not warm enough to ditch the outer garments completely, but warm enough to wear only a light jacket. I was enjoying the portion of my evening commute where I have to wait for the train at Lewisham rather exceptionally… up until the point I got into the railcar.

As I positioned myself comparatively comfortably in the corner, a guy next to me was dialing his cell phone. After which he started shouting into it.

Oh, no, he was not angry at all. Nor was he in any way exuberantly happy, or even inebriated. It’s just that his manner of speech consisted of shouting. He said hello to his wife at a hundred decibels, informed her that he would arrive at the station with barely a change in intonation, then gave me a brief respite while he dialed his buddy’s number, after which he proceeded to having a small talk at the top of his lungs.

Is it ever possible to ignore a loud talker? Only if you have a habit of traveling with earplugs, which I don’t. I couldn’t read – or do anything, for that matter, except listen to the guy’s conversation. Everyone else around me was affected in the same way.

And did anybody say anything? Did I? Annoyed – and even obliterating – glances were thrown at the loud moron from all over the railcar, to which he was entirely oblivious. Several people – myself included – were visibly day-dreaming about taking a heavy hammer to his head. But not a word was uttered in rebuke, or even in an appeal to him to keep it down.

Remember my gassing up story? In it, I overtly posited that I do not like letting idiots be idiots without hearing from me that they are, well, idiots. Yet, on a commuter train, in the presence of an inconsiderate cell-phone jackass, I find myself time and again enduring the acoustic assault and not even attempting to confront the imbecile.

How come? I keep asking myself. I have this [un]healthy habit of replaying situations in my head afterwards in search of better outcomes, and politely asking Could you kindly keep your voice down, please? or obnoxiously inquiring Do I need to be a part of your conversation? should theoretically shame the offender into switching to a less intrusive timbre. The actuary in me, however, estimates the risk of having to ride in the same railcar with the same lout in the future, coupled with the risk of him becoming indignant at having been disturbed, continuing with his boorishness and then repeating it on future occasions just to spite me, and I calculate that it is not worth the hassle to try to teach the oaf some manners.

The rest of the people in the car with us must be simply better mannered themselves…

Do you have a way of dealing with inconsiderate mobile-phone talkers?


  1. jason

    Sadly, I deal with them the same way you do: by silently stewing and wishing you had the gumption to smack the damn phone out of their hands and stamp it to bits underfoot.

    I think the cell phone is one of the worst inventions in history in that it has destroyed so much public decorum. Cell-phone users (and I have one myself, so no elitism here) tend to have a sort of psychological bubble around themselves that insulates them from the knowledge of how damn annoying and intrusive they are to those around them.

  2. Ilya

    Yep, and in a sort of a vicious circle, the rest of us are either too meek to confront them or worse, engrossed in a bubble of our own…

  3. kisintin

    Have you ever tried to inclide yourself in the conversation? offer advice, ask to clear up a moment you missed in his conversation.

    This is what you gotta do. 🙂

  4. Ilya

    Oh, yeah, I do that all the time… In my mind, that is. Working up a nerve to do that in public is a whole different matter…

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