Author Topic: Dear Abby - 3/12/12, first letter  (Read 6054 times)

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siamesecat2965

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Dear Abby - 3/12/12, first letter
« on: March 12, 2012, 11:40:01 AM »
http://www.uexpress.com/dearabby/

Basically, the letter writer said they frequently talk on their cell phone in public, but are irked by comments made to them about putting the phone away. LW goes on to say they have an hour ride on the train to work, and LW enjoys catching up with friends on the phone, while on the train, and are they wrong for constatnly talking in their phone in public?

I like Dear Abby's response, which is its not what they're doing, it's how its being done, and if people "often" ask LW to put the phone away during the commute, then LW is being too loud.  Plus those around LW might not want to hear all the details of their social life!  I have to agree; I don't mind a short, quiet conversation, but I've been on the train, bus, etc. where someone is yelling into their phone, for the entire ride.  its like a jackhammer to the head.

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Re: Dear Abby - 3/12/12, first letter
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2012, 01:07:51 PM »
ITA. If people are often telling her to stop it, then she should take the hint that she is being too loud and annoying. I understand that she has two hours to kill on the train every day, but that doesn't mean the other commuters want to hear her conversations constantly. She needs to turn down the volume or maybe learn to text instead of bothering other people.

I had an MD appt the other day and a woman did this very thing. In the waiting room, in a loud, grating voice, I heard all about how much she hates seeing people wear ripped jeans, that she wore flip flops to church the other day, someone stole her coffee creamer, etc. I didn't need to hear all that nonsense. I was so happy when the battery on her phone died.

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courtsmad25

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Re: Dear Abby - 3/12/12, first letter
« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2012, 01:21:13 PM »
 I agreed with Abbys response whole hardidly! I know the OP doesn't see anything wrong, but its true, unless it is a life and death emergency, or if it is dealing with your children it's not that important, and it can wait til you get home. Texting is also a great idea as long as the sound is off.

  One of my biggest pet peeves is when people are at the nail salon getting a fill. The phone rings and its ALWAYS "hey, whats up, nothing, no i can talk"... no, no you can't, there are people in line waiting to get their nails done too and it takes 2x as long because YOU want to talk about nothing and it's slowing down the nail tech.

JennJenn68

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Re: Dear Abby - 3/12/12, first letter
« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2012, 01:22:00 PM »
I'm not sure how many people realize that hearing one half of a phone conversation, no matter what vocal volume, is incredibly distracting and annoying.  It is impossible to tune it out, because one is hearing disjointed, unconnected things, and the ears just automatically switch over to this stimulus every time it presents itself.  At home, one can choose to exit the room.  If you're stuck on a train, you don't have that option.  "Catching up" with your friends, which is apparently what the letter-writer does for long periods of time while travelling by train, is an unwelcome distraction to the people who are basically a captive audience for your personal life.

(It's nowhere near as irksome when you can hear both sides of the conversation, although that too can be annoying when people discuss their Scrabble habits in explicit detail without bothering to lower their voices... but, strangely enough, such things are much easier to ignore than if one is only hearing one side of the conversation.)

Clair Seulement

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Re: Dear Abby - 3/12/12, first letter
« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2012, 01:41:10 PM »
I'm not sure how many people realize that hearing one half of a phone conversation, no matter what vocal volume, is incredibly distracting and annoying.  It is impossible to tune it out, because one is hearing disjointed, unconnected things, and the ears just automatically switch over to this stimulus every time it presents itself.  At home, one can choose to exit the room.  If you're stuck on a train, you don't have that option.  "Catching up" with your friends, which is apparently what the letter-writer does for long periods of time while travelling by train, is an unwelcome distraction to the people who are basically a captive audience for your personal life.

(It's nowhere near as irksome when you can hear both sides of the conversation, although that too can be annoying when people discuss their Scrabble habits in explicit detail without bothering to lower their voices... but, strangely enough, such things are much easier to ignore than if one is only hearing one side of the conversation.)

This is true, folks. Being unable to predict the course of a conversation--i.e., hearing only one side of it--is more distracting to others than a two-sided audible conversation (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20817912)

This is my biggest pet peeve in the world, currently. You may have time to "kill," but you are also KILLING MY AND OTHERS' TIME. Ten hours of my week (I also commute an hour by train), which means that by the end of the month you have wasted a complete workweek's worth of hours (40) of my life.  I want to read or listen to a podcast, neither of which I can do if you are distracting me with a private conversation. A private conversation. A conversation between two people who are in the same place is not private, the volume can be suited to the situation at hand, and you can still pay attention to your surroundings--for example, the conductor's announcement that the last car on the train has been designated the QUIET CAR.

Cell phone use has gotten out of control, as evinced by that person at the NY Philharmonic in January who not only ignored the "Please turn of cell phones" announcement, but also ignored his/her ringing cell phone for 5 whole minutes in the middle of the performance. Likewise our train not only has the above-mentioned quiet car as well as light-up signs that say "Please be considerate and speak softly," but both of these are routinely ignored. If nobody says or does anything it's only going to to get worse...

Fleur-de-Lis

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Re: Dear Abby - 3/12/12, first letter
« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2012, 01:55:29 PM »
A close parallel to this is the guy who listened to his podcast on the train without benefit of headphones.  I resorted to earplugs, and then headphones with my own sound selection, to minimal avail - I could still hear his unit through the music in my headphones.

A woman from several rows away finally came up to him and asked him to turn off the sound, but apparently did not say "Please", so the end result was that he yelled at her for not saying please and - I think - turned the volume *up* on his unit. 

And that would be why *I* said nothing to him - I am too accustomed to that form of belligerent reaction.  Likewise, the belligerence of the person who wrote to Dear Abby. 

If earplugs and headphones do not work, I just roll my eyes and leave the situation if I can, dismissing the lout as the thoughtless trash his behavior demonstrated him to be. 

Fortunately for my own peace of mind (especially after his snit about the request not including a please), the knave disembarked at the next stop.   
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Clair Seulement

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Re: Dear Abby - 3/12/12, first letter
« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2012, 02:01:44 PM »
A close parallel to this is the guy who listened to his podcast on the train without benefit of headphones.  I resorted to earplugs, and then headphones with my own sound selection, to minimal avail - I could still hear his unit through the music in my headphones.

A woman from several rows away finally came up to him and asked him to turn off the sound, but apparently did not say "Please", so the end result was that he yelled at her for not saying please and - I think - turned the volume *up* on his unit. 

And that would be why *I* said nothing to him - I am too accustomed to that form of belligerent reaction.  Likewise, the belligerence of the person who wrote to Dear Abby. 

If earplugs and headphones do not work, I just roll my eyes and leave the situation if I can, dismissing the lout as the thoughtless trash his behavior demonstrated him to be. 

Fortunately for my own peace of mind (especially after his snit about the request not including a please), the knave disembarked at the next stop.

This is growing into a "thing" now too, it seems! Recently a pair of college-age guys was on our train watching something together on one of their iPods with no headphones. My husband asked them politely to please use headphones, in response to which they just looked dumbfounded for a few seconds. The one kid mumbles "I don't have headphones." So we were just supposed to put up with it. Whatever you want to do, wherever you want to do it, seems to be the order of the day...

Twik

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Re: Dear Abby - 3/12/12, first letter
« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2012, 02:39:09 PM »
I think there's a certain, "Hear how cool I am, based on what I'm listening to!" strategy going on here.
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siamesecat2965

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Re: Dear Abby - 3/12/12, first letter
« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2012, 02:43:41 PM »
ITA. If people are often telling her to stop it, then she should take the hint that she is being too loud and annoying. I understand that she has two hours to kill on the train every day, but that doesn't mean the other commuters want to hear her conversations constantly. She needs to turn down the volume or maybe learn to text instead of bothering other people.

I had an MD appt the other day and a woman did this very thing. In the waiting room, in a loud, grating voice, I heard all about how much she hates seeing people wear ripped jeans, that she wore flip flops to church the other day, someone stole her coffee creamer, etc. I didn't need to hear all that nonsense. I was so happy when the battery on her phone died.

I would have snickered if that happened when I was there.  I agree; I will play a game or read a book on my phone if I'm say waiting at the dr., but I have all sound OFF, so you can't hear anything.  Heck, the game noise annoys me sitting at home by myself! 

And I agree about people who yap away on their phones while trying to conduct business.  At my store, ringing someone up means we have to ask them if they're using their store charge, if they say no, ask if they'd like to open one, or ask if they have or would like our reward card.  Then we need to ask if they want the receipt in the bag, with them, etc.  and if someone is yapping or tapping away on their phone, its quite rude, and I feel like I'm also rude for interrupting them.

MacadamiaNut

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Re: Dear Abby - 3/12/12, first letter
« Reply #9 on: March 12, 2012, 05:48:29 PM »
I'm not sure how many people realize that hearing one half of a phone conversation, no matter what vocal volume, is incredibly distracting and annoying.  It is impossible to tune it out, because one is hearing disjointed, unconnected things, and the ears just automatically switch over to this stimulus every time it presents itself.  At home, one can choose to exit the room.  If you're stuck on a train, you don't have that option.  "Catching up" with your friends, which is apparently what the letter-writer does for long periods of time while travelling by train, is an unwelcome distraction to the people who are basically a captive audience for your personal life.

(It's nowhere near as irksome when you can hear both sides of the conversation, although that too can be annoying when people discuss their Scrabble habits in explicit detail without bothering to lower their voices... but, strangely enough, such things are much easier to ignore than if one is only hearing one side of the conversation.)

I did not realize this until just now, Jenn!  I always wondered why two people talking live has never bothered me, yet for some reason I'm put off by loud cell phone talkers.  You nailed it.

One more thing: the person on the other side may not appreciate the "commuting" catch-up phone call either.  I for one am one of these people.  I had a couple of people who would almost always only call me while commuting.  The message it sends is, "I'm bored so please entertain me."  Ummmm, no.  The call is noisy, distracting, and constantly moves in and out of coverage signals.  I eventually just started saying, "I can't hear you.  Call me later" and they got the idea.  I appreciate the call but if that is the only time you ever call, I'm going to start thinking you've put me low on the priority list and I don't need to accommodate you in that.
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WhiteTigerCub

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Re: Dear Abby - 3/12/12, first letter
« Reply #10 on: March 12, 2012, 06:02:15 PM »
I had an appt with my gyno. Walked in, signed in and sat down. The entire time I was in the lobby this man was talking on his phone with a co-worker. "Yeah, I'll get to that job when I am done here at wife's gyno. She is having problems with <very personal female matter> and we managed to get some money for her to see the Dr. Blah blah, blah.....feritility ...blah blah <female problem not handled> blah blah" Meanwhile his wife is sitting right there next to him, filling out her paperwork.

Oh and I did mention, not five feet in front of this guy's face was the "Please, NO CELL PHONES!" sign?  I always wonder why his wife didn't stop him, as not only was he breaking the rule about no cell phones, but at providing such private medical information to his co-worker. :o

I definately think it's more distracting to hear a one sided conversation. I don't think if he had been talking to his wife, I would even have noticed the topic.


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Re: Dear Abby - 3/12/12, first letter
« Reply #11 on: March 12, 2012, 07:46:02 PM »
I too talk on the cell phone during my "commute," and I'm awfully glad it's while I'm *walking*, so I don't bother other people. I can see that it would be great to "capture" that hour-long commute to talk with people, but volume is a huge problem.

I think a lot of people talk FAR louder on the phone than they do in real life. Because they can't hear.

I know I do. And so I probably wouldn't have a chat-fest on public transport unless I could feel confident that most other people couldn't hear me.

JennJenn68

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Re: Dear Abby - 3/12/12, first letter
« Reply #12 on: March 12, 2012, 08:11:31 PM »
Slightly off-topic, but the "why don't people use their headphones?" comment reminded me of the 1980's, when "cool" people paraded around with boom boxes on their shoulders blasting all and sundry with noise masquerading as music.  I can't help thinking of Mr. Spock's reaction in the movie "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home" when faced with this... the Vulcan neck pinch, and applause from a whole busload of people.

Where is Spock now that we need him most? ;D

There have always been rude boors out there.  Technology has simply made them more visible, sadly.

TootsNYC

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Re: Dear Abby - 3/12/12, first letter
« Reply #13 on: March 12, 2012, 09:25:49 PM »

Cell phone use has gotten out of control, as evinced by that person at the NY Philharmonic in January who not only ignored the "Please turn of cell phones" announcement, but also ignored his/her ringing cell phone for 5 whole minutes in the middle of the performance.

I found a follow-up where the guy w/ the iPhone told his side.

-it was a new device, given to him by him company to replace his BlackBerry, so he wasn't familiar with it

-he HAD turned off the phone

-he hadn't realized the device had a timed alarm (like an alarm clock), and he didn't know it was set

-he let it ring because he didn't recognize the ring tone, and it didn't occur to him it could be his (wasn't in his pocket, I think--or didn't vibrate and was muffled enough that he didn't realize it was coming from him


kareng57

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Re: Dear Abby - 3/12/12, first letter
« Reply #14 on: March 12, 2012, 09:31:06 PM »
I'm not sure how many people realize that hearing one half of a phone conversation, no matter what vocal volume, is incredibly distracting and annoying.  It is impossible to tune it out, because one is hearing disjointed, unconnected things, and the ears just automatically switch over to this stimulus every time it presents itself.  At home, one can choose to exit the room.  If you're stuck on a train, you don't have that option.  "Catching up" with your friends, which is apparently what the letter-writer does for long periods of time while travelling by train, is an unwelcome distraction to the people who are basically a captive audience for your personal life.

(It's nowhere near as irksome when you can hear both sides of the conversation, although that too can be annoying when people discuss their Scrabble habits in explicit detail without bothering to lower their voices... but, strangely enough, such things are much easier to ignore than if one is only hearing one side of the conversation.)

This is true, folks. Being unable to predict the course of a conversation--i.e., hearing only one side of it--is more distracting to others than a two-sided audible conversation (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20817912)

This is my biggest pet peeve in the world, currently. You may have time to "kill," but you are also KILLING MY AND OTHERS' TIME. Ten hours of my week (I also commute an hour by train), which means that by the end of the month you have wasted a complete workweek's worth of hours (40) of my life.  I want to read or listen to a podcast, neither of which I can do if you are distracting me with a private conversation. A private conversation. A conversation between two people who are in the same place is not private, the volume can be suited to the situation at hand, and you can still pay attention to your surroundings--for example, the conductor's announcement that the last car on the train has been designated the QUIET CAR.

Cell phone use has gotten out of control, as evinced by that person at the NY Philharmonic in January who not only ignored the "Please turn of cell phones" announcement, but also ignored his/her ringing cell phone for 5 whole minutes in the middle of the performance. Likewise our train not only has the above-mentioned quiet car as well as light-up signs that say "Please be considerate and speak softly," but both of these are routinely ignored. If nobody says or does anything it's only going to to get worse...


Thank you for the link - I was always baffled as to why I was so much more bothered being a captive-witness to a long cell-phone conversation as opposed to a conversation where both parties were "there" - even if the cell-phone user wasn't  being terribly loud.

However, I'll admit that sometimes it's rather entertaining listening to a teen on a cell phone, when clearly it's Mother on the other end........