Author Topic: Dear Abby - 3/12/12, first letter  (Read 6562 times)

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Clair Seulement

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Re: Dear Abby - 3/12/12, first letter
« Reply #30 on: March 14, 2012, 10:31:01 AM »
As long as the woman on the cell phone having the conversation isn't talking loudly and above the rest of people carrying normal conversation, there is nothing rude about it. If she is talking over normal conversation level and is being loud and obnoxious she is rude, just like anyone else would be rude in a conversation between two people doing this.

POD.  It might be distracting-but it isn't rude, IMO.  I would guess, as Abby did, that this person was not being quiet, since she is being asked repeatedly to quit bothering people.  But talking quietly on the phone on public transit is no ruder than an in person conversation, even if it is more distracting.  Presuming, of course, that one isn't in the quiet car, where even quiet conversation is too much.

Isn't distracting others from their activities rude?

DottyG

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Re: Dear Abby - 3/12/12, first letter
« Reply #31 on: March 14, 2012, 11:23:00 AM »
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Isn't distracting others from their activities rude?

No.  Not necessarily.  It's called "living on a planet with other people."  Sometimes you're distracted by other humans around you.  It happens.

If your "rule" were a universal truth, we'd all have to sit in our homes silent and not moving, lest we distract another person around us.  Heck, sometimes people getting out of their cars and going into their own apartments distracts me from my tv show.  Are they rude for coming home?


Clair Seulement

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Re: Dear Abby - 3/12/12, first letter
« Reply #32 on: March 14, 2012, 11:25:06 AM »
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Isn't distracting others from their activities rude?

No.  Not necessarily.  It's called "living on a planet with other people."  Sometimes you're distracted by other humans around you.  It happens.

If your "rule" were a universal truth, we'd all have to sit in our homes silent and not moving, lest we distract another person around us.  Heck, sometimes people getting out of their cars and going into their own apartments distracts me from my tv show.  Are they rude for coming home?

I think there's a vast difference between other people realizing you exist and carrying on a distracting activity with no regard for others in your surroundings--that's also part of living in a world with other people.

DottyG

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Re: Dear Abby - 3/12/12, first letter
« Reply #33 on: March 14, 2012, 11:32:48 AM »
But what we're talking about (at least, what I'm talking about) is quietly talking on the phone.  Not yelling.  Not being obnoxious.  A quiet discussion.

There are a lot of things that could be distracting on a train to other people.  There are some people that are distracting just by their very appearance.  They're not rude for looking the way they do.  Sometimes distractions happen when you're around other people.  The trick is to learn how to deal with the things that are distracting you (I'm talking about the ones that are simple distractions - like the person across from you having a very quiet conversation on a phone - not loud ones like someone across from you yelling into a phone).


Clair Seulement

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Re: Dear Abby - 3/12/12, first letter
« Reply #34 on: March 14, 2012, 11:58:03 AM »
But what we're talking about (at least, what I'm talking about) is quietly talking on the phone.  Not yelling.  Not being obnoxious.  A quiet discussion.

There are a lot of things that could be distracting on a train to other people.  There are some people that are distracting just by their very appearance.  They're not rude for looking the way they do.  Sometimes distractions happen when you're around other people.  The trick is to learn how to deal with the things that are distracting you (I'm talking about the ones that are simple distractions - like the person across from you having a very quiet conversation on a phone - not loud ones like someone across from you yelling into a phone).

I hear what you're saying, and I do agree. My only concern is that from what I've seen, too many people just don't even make an effort to conduct their conversations quietly because no precedent seems to have been set to recommend it, and I fear that none ever will be; also, it may even be a moot point because people on the phone are just inclined to talk louder than people conversing in proximity, whether because of the connection or background noise, when arguably, they should actually be talking more sotly in order to be less disturbing. If at certain times of my commute, louder voices are used between people conversing with one another in person, it's usually in keeping with the prevailing atmosphere in the situation itself, and if voices need to be lowered or paused to accommodate things like announcements etc., this naturally occurs; meanwhile, the phone-talker, who is cognitively incapable of paying attention to both the conversation and the surroundings, remains--like Abby's letter-writer--blissfully convinced that he or she is not disturbing people. For this reason (I assume), in the Quiet Cars on my train, quiet in-person conversation is permitted, but cell phone conversations are prohibited.

I am trying to find ways of putting up with it. It's just so difficult! Also, these efforts are focused on making myself deaf with a combination of earplugs under headphones with music cranked up, which isn't really in my interest, as then I won't be aware of my own surroundings. Some serious meditative practice is in order next...that could be good for me in the long run in any case!

DottyG

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Re: Dear Abby - 3/12/12, first letter
« Reply #35 on: March 14, 2012, 12:14:10 PM »
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I am trying to find ways of putting up with it. It's just so difficult!

As someone who loves the theater (live) and goes to as many plays as she can, I hear you on that, trust me!  The people around me don't even have to be doing anything obnoxious - even just a slight movement can distract me.  I'm working on getting my tolerance level up.  But it's hard!


PeterM

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Re: Dear Abby - 3/12/12, first letter
« Reply #36 on: March 14, 2012, 04:22:55 PM »
There's a reason why people talk louder on cell phones, you know.

I agree with your reasoning, but it's never struck me as a valid excuse. It's just like listening to music on headphones. You can't hear your voice as well as usual, so some people speak really loudly if they have reason to talk to anyone with the headphones on. Others speak at a normal volume because they realize that's all that's required. I've fallen into the latter category since I was probably ten years old so I understand the concept of thinking you need to speak up but it's always struck me as bizarre at best. Just because I can't hear myself doesn't mean others can't hear me.

Lynnv

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Re: Dear Abby - 3/12/12, first letter
« Reply #37 on: March 14, 2012, 06:02:06 PM »
As long as the woman on the cell phone having the conversation isn't talking loudly and above the rest of people carrying normal conversation, there is nothing rude about it. If she is talking over normal conversation level and is being loud and obnoxious she is rude, just like anyone else would be rude in a conversation between two people doing this.

POD.  It might be distracting-but it isn't rude, IMO.  I would guess, as Abby did, that this person was not being quiet, since she is being asked repeatedly to quit bothering people.  But talking quietly on the phone on public transit is no ruder than an in person conversation, even if it is more distracting.  Presuming, of course, that one isn't in the quiet car, where even quiet conversation is too much.

Isn't distracting others from their activities rude?

IMO, distracting is not equal to rude.  There are loads of perfectly polite things that can be distracting. The fact that people, and I am one of them, find hearing one-sided conversations distracting doesn't make an otherwise polite action suddenly rude.
Lynn

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DottyG

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Re: Dear Abby - 3/12/12, first letter
« Reply #38 on: March 14, 2012, 06:13:11 PM »
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I agree with your reasoning, but it's never struck me as a valid excuse.

I didn't offer it as an excuse.  It's an explanation of the actual process that takes place.  As I said, we think cellphones are "old hat", but they're not.  They're still relatively new in the world of technology.  I'm not that old, and even I remember the days of no cell phones.  We (as society) are conditioned to speak louder if we can't hear our own voices the way we think we should.

I think it's an interesting concept that the distance from our mouths to our ears is a lot larger than we realize.  The sound travels differently than it does from an earpiece to our ear.

This wasn't my reasoning.  It's actually a proven concept.  I was just telling you about it.


QueenfaninCA

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Re: Dear Abby - 3/12/12, first letter
« Reply #39 on: March 14, 2012, 06:20:04 PM »
But what we're talking about (at least, what I'm talking about) is quietly talking on the phone.  Not yelling.  Not being obnoxious.  A quiet discussion.

The problem with that is, as has been pointed out earlier in this thread, that hearing only half of a conversation is actually a lot more distracting and harder to block out than hearing a full conversation. Plus that a lot of people have no idea how loud they talk when they are on the phone.

DottyG

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Re: Dear Abby - 3/12/12, first letter
« Reply #40 on: March 14, 2012, 06:39:42 PM »
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Plus that a lot of people have no idea how loud they talk when they are on the phone.

I've already addressed this a couple of times now.  For my example, just assume that the person actually is talking quietly.


QueenfaninCA

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Re: Dear Abby - 3/12/12, first letter
« Reply #41 on: March 14, 2012, 07:11:53 PM »
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Plus that a lot of people have no idea how loud they talk when they are on the phone.

I've already addressed this a couple of times now.  For my example, just assume that the person actually is talking quietly.

But that doesn't address the other half of my answer which I think is the more important one, nmely, that hearing only half a conversation is a lot more distracting than hearing a full conversation.

Frostblooded

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Re: Dear Abby - 3/12/12, first letter
« Reply #42 on: March 14, 2012, 07:20:18 PM »
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Plus that a lot of people have no idea how loud they talk when they are on the phone.

I've already addressed this a couple of times now.  For my example, just assume that the person actually is talking quietly.

But that doesn't address the other half of my answer which I think is the more important one, nmely, that hearing only half a conversation is a lot more distracting than hearing a full conversation.

This is not a universal thing. I can ignore people on a cell phone that are talking at a normal volume just fine. It's not an excuse to call people talking quietly and/or at normal volume on the phone rude. They aren't rude. They are talking just like everyone else nearby.

DottyG

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Re: Dear Abby - 3/12/12, first letter
« Reply #43 on: March 14, 2012, 07:25:41 PM »
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This is not a universal thing. I can ignore people on a cell phone that are talking at a normal volume just fine. It's not an excuse to call people talking quietly and/or at normal volume on the phone rude. They aren't rude. They are talking just like everyone else nearby.

This.  I don't really find it all that horribly distracting to only hear one side.  It's no more "distracting" than other noises I'm hearing.  I try not to listen in on other people's conversations.

Back when I was having to fly a lot, I actually liked it.  Because I was flying in the early mornings, I'd lean back, close my eyes and relax.  I was able to hear the voices not as words but as just sounds.  Maybe that's the musical part of me, but if you stop trying to hear words, you can hear the rhythm and tones.  It can be kind of soothing if you do that.

(Note that I'm not, of course, applying the same to my aforementioned theater experiences.  There, background "rhythms and tones" are different.  For obvious reasons.)
 
 
 

Fleur-de-Lis

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Re: Dear Abby - 3/12/12, first letter
« Reply #44 on: March 14, 2012, 07:33:41 PM »
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This is not a universal thing. I can ignore people on a cell phone that are talking at a normal volume just fine. It's not an excuse to call people talking quietly and/or at normal volume on the phone rude. They aren't rude. They are talking just like everyone else nearby.

This.  I don't really find it all that horribly distracting to only hear one side.  It's no more "distracting" than other noises I'm hearing.  I try not to listen in on other people's conversations.

Back when I was having to fly a lot, I actually liked it.  Because I was flying in the early mornings, I'd lean back, close my eyes and relax.  I was able to hear the voices not as words but as just sounds.  Maybe that's the musical part of me, but if you stop trying to hear words, you can hear the rhythm and tones.  It can be kind of soothing if you do that.



Whereas I would do anything to drown out the sound of some others' phone conversations, especially when those conversations are not necessarily loud but are held in tonal languages which distract the ear because it's just incomprehensible noise. Bonus points if the notes hit in the words are particularly high compared to the rest of the sound patterns. 

My train commute is miserable between the guy holding sales talks (like nobody is going to notice he's on the train, and giving this business pitch in a public place) (and the same goes for a coffee shop - I'm sure I would be *terribly* impressed to hear "double latte for (name) in the background!), the girl fighting with her boyfriend over who has responsibility to pick up the child from daycare, the guy having phone scrabble with a partner, etc., etc., etc.

None of that is wholly made up, and some of that was heard despite my good-faith attempts to block the sound since the speakers weren't making any attempts to be discreet.
 
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