Private Phone calls in Public Places and Why we Hate them.
Private phone conversations..
Phone conversations in different spacesClick thumbnail to view full-size
Don't tempt me please!
Love it or hate it we all do it sometimes..but private details need to be kept PRIVATE right?
On a beautiful sunny day recently I decided to go out for lunch and headed for a local cafe overlooking the water. Deciding on a long lunch to take advantage of the warm weather and hoping that I could get some writing done I settled in to a cosy spot up the end of the verandah area out of the way of other patrons.
Tucked away in a corner I felt reasonably confident that it would be unlikely that I would be interrupted and pulled out my laptop and started tapping away at the keyboards immersing myself in a dramatic plot of a new story oblivious to my surrounds except for the view.
Imagine my surprise when an intrusive loud voice starts in on a phone conversation at the table beside me breaking the tranquility of the spot, oblivious to other patrons.
Impossible to ignore, the conversation continued on in graphic detail outlining the said middle aged male customers experiences and frustrations of baby sitting a friends cats.
Now don’t get me wrong I love cats.
And I don’t usually have a problem with other people talking beside me when I’m out for lunch or dinner. I mean after all that’s what’s so enjoyable about going out to eat with friends enjoying good food over conversation.
But this time listening, and believe me the guy was so loud I didn’t have a choice to do anything but listen, to a phone conversation about the cats waking him up in the middle of the night, jumping on the bed, scartching and claws into sensitive areas ( no imagination necessary) etc etc including coughing up fur balls, vomiting on the sheets, the color of the plegm?? and how sickly the cats seemed to be was not the most inviting conversation I’ve heard recently. Nor was it fit in my mind for a conversation to be had in a cafe. At lunch time. While other patrons me included were trying to enjoy their lunch. Describing the ins and outs of cat sickness is not my idea of good conversation at any time especially not in a public place.
And all of a sudden I wanted to grab the phone and shove it down the guy’s throat.
Blessed with a usual abundance of patience:) I was taken by surprise at my rather volatile reaction and found that I longed to grab the guys phone and shove it down his throat.
Needless to say my reaction got my attention and I started to think about why we get annoyed with people who do this and what we can do about it and brings me to the point of this article.
What do we do with those annoying intrusive private phone calls in public places?
I’m sure we have all been somewhere publicly and experienced and had to endure one if not many private conversations that should be kept exactly that. PRIVATE.
For example how many times have you been stuck somewhere.
Think: elevators trains, buses, planes; restaurant/cafes; in lines waiting for concerts, football/sporting events; etc, and had no choice but to listen to someone banging on about issues such as problems with a monster boss at work; an annoying colleague/ neighbor; love/sex life or lack there of or alternately their sexual prowess and or action between the sheets; the babysitter never turning up on time; childcare costs; boy friend/ girl friend problems; disgruntled friend issues; marital or financial issues; problems with the kids; annoying mother in law or ex’s.
I mean it’s usually the long problem based issues that are most offensive right. It’s not so likely that pleasant short conversations make your hair stand on end is it?
So what can we do?
In my situation no amount of throat clearing, loud sighing, fake coughing or moving things around on the table in a thumping kind of way seemed to make any impact on stopping the conversation.
A more subtle or..not so subtle plan of action might need to be implemented.
For example if you are caught in a similar situation where punching someones lights out is the only thought on your mind some of the following ideas might just work and stop the next babysitting cat worrier from uttering another word:
Stand up and pretend to trip over and fall against the offenders table. Be careful not to harm yourself or them (remember it’s too early yet) but do make sure that the cutlery hit’s the floor; or coffee/tea/latte/juice whatever sloshes in large puddles across the table or better still over the offenders clothing(results in deep satisfaction to offended one:)
Pretend to faint. This can work well if cleverly acted out in full eyecatching view of said loud voice as the offender will have to put the dam phone down and try to aid the fainting one. Who knows there may even be music to the offended’s ears with the words being said. “Sorry I have to go” and ending the phone call.
Scream “Fire” Or “I smell smoke” or I don’t know. I’ll leave this one to your imagination, I’m sure you can think of something er a little.. or a lot sinister to get the affect your after.
Lunge yourself at the offender pretending there is a human eating spider or some other equally nasty creature on their head. A bee, cock roach, wasp in their hair will suffice and proceed to swat at their head.
Perhaps a more rational approach is needed.
Failing all of the above and a little or a lot of self talk later when feeling exponentially more rational you might like to try another approach.
Gently ( note I said gently ) tap the offender on the shoulder and ask him/her to tone it down a bit. Of course this risks the offender becoming so offended and glare you down. Or becoming angry with a 'How dare you' kind of an attitude. (Neither of which after fifteen or so minutes of a cat sickness report you give a hoot about).
Or alternatively ask your waiter/waitress to intervene. Now this may or may not work depending on the waiters personality. Keep in mind that a timid approach usually doesn't work and it might be best to ask the more assertive type for their help to approach the offender and ask them to speak a little quieter so as not to bother other customers. It may be just the answer to the problem.
And lastly up and move yourself . To another table, carriage, seat, planet..far away from the offending cat worrier and try to enjoy the rest of your meal/ journey/commute.