Author Topic: Dear Abby - 3/12/12, first letter  (Read 6678 times)

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DottyG

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Re: Dear Abby - 3/12/12, first letter
« Reply #45 on: March 14, 2012, 07:38:27 PM »
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since the speakers weren't making any attempts to be discreet

And, since this is opposite of what I've said multiple times now, it's a different animal and not what we're discussing.  (Or, at least, not what I'm discussing.)


Fleur-de-Lis

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Re: Dear Abby - 3/12/12, first letter
« Reply #46 on: March 14, 2012, 07:48:50 PM »
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since the speakers weren't making any attempts to be discreet

And, since this is opposite of what I've said multiple times now, it's a different animal and not what we're discussing.  (Or, at least, not what I'm discussing.)



How do you define "attempt to be discreet"?  Some people feel that having a personal conversation in public at "normal volume" is perfectly okay; I note that if I cannot help but hear that conversation (despite it being at "normal volume") it is *not* being held with an eye towards discretion. Train cars are packed tight.  A "normal volume" conversation between the two girls who had been in the same sorority two years apart was perfectly audible to me, as I was standing less than two feet from them (and in fact, their conversation was still quite clear to me once I had a seat - and I chose a seat across the aisle from and two rows behind the girls). They were making no attempt to be discreet, and I think were utterly heedless of anybody who might overhear their conversation (to say nothing of actively listen in). 

I maintain that by inflicting their verbal deluge upon those within a three foot (ten foot?) radius, even at "conversational volume" they were being discourteous. With the train as full as it was, nobody had the option of leaving for a quieter car - and in truth, any other car was going to be just as bad.   

(Edited to add the scope of just how far their "normal conversational voices" carried.)
« Last Edit: March 14, 2012, 08:56:25 PM by Fleur-de-Lis »
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QueenfaninCA

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Re: Dear Abby - 3/12/12, first letter
« Reply #47 on: March 14, 2012, 08:08:30 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.

There have been studies (posted earlier in this thread) that show that for most people, half a conversation is more distracting than a full conversation. And for me that is definitely the case (shared office for a couple of years with a co-worker who was on the phone a lot for his job).

kareng57

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Re: Dear Abby - 3/12/12, first letter
« Reply #48 on: March 14, 2012, 09:31:34 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.)


I think it can be the length of the call, as opposed to the volume.

Yes, buses and trains can be kind of noisy places.  If someone near me is making a half-minute calling, loudly saying "I'm on the bus now, I'll be at the station in a half hour.  You'll be there? - great, thanks!" - I might find it momentarily annoying, but at least he/she is making an effort to keep it brief.  OTOH, if, even at a "normal" volume, someone is commisserating about her woes with someone else on the other end of the call, for about a half hour, it's terribly distracting.  "I know, Jean, you've been putting up with him for way too long"......"you've forgiven him way too many times already!"......."yes, I know about the kids, but they will adjust"......."do you mean that you don't have a lawyer yet?!"....that's terribly distracting and unless it's some sort of domestic emergency, it's best left till the caller gets home.

baglady

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Re: Dear Abby - 3/12/12, first letter
« Reply #49 on: March 14, 2012, 09:33:35 PM »
Even more distracting: the repeaters. You know, when the person on the other end is having trouble hearing and the person on your end repeats the same thing over. and over. and over. "Did you pick up the bananas? Did you pick up the bananas? Did! You! Pick! Up! The! Bananas?"

After half a dozen repetitions, I want to grab the phone and yell into it, "SHE WANTS TO KNOW IF YOU PICKED UP THE #*@$#* BANANAS!"

But I don't. I just seethe to myself.

I'm with Abby on this. LW may think she's being discreet, but if she is being asked time and again to keep it down, she probably is too loud. I don't text, but if I were in the LW's position (riding public transit and wanting to use the time to chat with friends), this would be incentive to learn.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2012, 09:45:12 PM by baglady »
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Frostblooded

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Re: Dear Abby - 3/12/12, first letter
« Reply #50 on: March 14, 2012, 10:21:06 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.

There have been studies (posted earlier in this thread) that show that for most people, half a conversation is more distracting than a full conversation. And for me that is definitely the case (shared office for a couple of years with a co-worker who was on the phone a lot for his job).

Yes, and I responded to the study stating that the study is not universal. It is simply a study. Does it hold some truth? Perhaps it does, for some. Not everyone.

Why should a person who is speaking on a cell phone at a normal volume just like everyone else have to stop their conversation, while everyone else is free to continue theirs?

MariaE

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Re: Dear Abby - 3/12/12, first letter
« Reply #51 on: March 15, 2012, 02:04:56 AM »
I think that if it is not rude to have a conversation at that volune and on that topic with somebody standing next to you, then it's not rude to have the same conversation on the phone. That it's more distracting to some people around is unfortunate, but doesn't make it rude.
 
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Clair Seulement

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Re: Dear Abby - 3/12/12, first letter
« Reply #52 on: March 15, 2012, 10:15:52 AM »
Quote
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.

There have been studies (posted earlier in this thread) that show that for most people, half a conversation is more distracting than a full conversation. And for me that is definitely the case (shared office for a couple of years with a co-worker who was on the phone a lot for his job).

Yes, and I responded to the study stating that the study is not universal. It is simply a study. Does it hold some truth? Perhaps it does, for some. Not everyone.

Why should a person who is speaking on a cell phone at a normal volume just like everyone else have to stop their conversation, while everyone else is free to continue theirs?

As someone who argued for the other side upthread, I thought I'd give my reasoning here, which readers may reject or approve of: the problem I see is that despite our best intentions, humans have an attention capacity that is limited in certain ways, and verbal inputs demand more attention than other types. So when someone's on the phone, they may respectfully make an effort to maintain an acceptable volume and sustain it for awhile, but the truth is it is difficult to fully gauge whether the tone of voice you're using is "normal" as regards your environment if you are hindered in being able to pay attention to your environment. The Dear Abby letter is a case in point, where someone thought they were the paragon of civility, to the point where they repeatedly ignored pointed evidence to the contrary.

What you've said is unassailable if we're talking about situations where the surroundings permit it--i.e., there is already other noise. But these are also non-ideal situations in which to use a phone, so it's not the arena in which the behavior starts to grate and become an issue. For me (and we've established I'm high-strung earlier in the thread :)), it's the basic "to heck with you" sentiment implied by entering a quiet place like a 7 am commuter train, seeing that everyone else in the car is reading or concentrating on something else, and nevertheless squawking into a device 2 feet away from everyone. I also think that having an in-person conversation at high volume in a quiet place is a little disrespectful, but I also differentiate between running into or travelling with a companion, and making the conscious choice to use a phone. Maybe people like to take advantage of quiet situations to use a phone (naturally, right?), but to me it's a problem when the quiet situation so conducive to phone use has other captive participants who wish to also take advantage of the quiet. Then again, I tend to speak in a low voice anytime I see that I am near someone reading or if the general volume level in a room or situation is low; maybe this is why this bothers me this much. Maybe I need to loosen up...

I'm not advocating a blanket declaration that this is boorish; it is often necessary, and like Dotty G said above, there are tons of behaviors that are potentially distracting. However, this specific, avoidable behavior is becoming widespread enough that I would just to implore people like the Dear Abby LW who, daily, use their commute to make nonessential phone calls to consider the other people who, daily, are stuck listening to them.

Judah

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Re: Dear Abby - 3/12/12, first letter
« Reply #53 on: March 15, 2012, 11:00:48 AM »
I think that if it is not rude to have a conversation at that volune and on that topic with somebody standing next to you, then it's not rude to have the same conversation on the phone. That it's more distracting to some people around is unfortunate, but doesn't make it rude.

This is pretty much where I come down.  I think that sometimes it's easy to think that because something irritates us or annoys us that it must be rude, but that is not so. 
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melicious

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Re: Dear Abby - 3/12/12, first letter
« Reply #54 on: March 15, 2012, 11:03:22 AM »
"Did you pick up the bananas? Did you pick up the bananas? Did! You! Pick! Up! The! Bananas?"

After half a dozen repetitions, I want to grab the phone and yell into it, "SHE WANTS TO KNOW IF YOU PICKED UP THE #*@$#* BANANAS!"


Haha! OT but it reminds me of that episode on Family Guy where Stewie is stuck in an elevator with a man on a cell phone who keeps saying "Are you gonna pick me up? Are you gonna pick me up?" ad nauseaum.  :D

Hollanda

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Re: Dear Abby - 3/12/12, first letter
« Reply #55 on: March 15, 2012, 11:12:13 AM »
I haven't read through all the replies but I will say this.

The ones I hate most of all are those who decide that the bus/train whatever is the best place to discuss very intimate subjects. Ignore the fact that those people sitting around them are unable to move at will, so they are basically being taken hostage to listen to someone else's s3x life. Asking them to please tone it down does no good whatsoever and earns death looks from the offender. I have actually seen an irate man grab a girl's phone out of her hand and turn it off. This of course meant that hell ensued, with the girl threatening the man loudly and vehemently. Whilst I do not approve of touching someone else's belongings I can completely understand where that poor man was coming from as we had to all sit and listen to the girl's exploits (drunken, natch) of the night before.

Which brings me neatly to this: the drunks on the bus at - what - 7pm (when I am on my way to kick boxing on a Thursday night). Wow. Just wow. They stand there, huddling up at the front of a bus (deity forgive anyone who wants to actually get on or off that bus whilst they are there), looking all intimidating in their hoodies and Nike trainers. They all stand round one iPhone,watching a clip of something or other and laughing, yelling "Yeah, get me?" or something equally unintelligible, and any time anyone wants to pass them, they get "marks out of 10" or not, depending on how loud and lairy they are feeling. I have seen this time, and time again.  It is mostly young men who are guilty of this but I have seen it with girls as well. Why can they not just sit down and watch whatever it is when they are off the bus and can actually stand somewhere without impeding other people?

I dislike public transport sometimes!!!


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melicious

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Re: Dear Abby - 3/12/12, first letter
« Reply #56 on: March 15, 2012, 07:49:53 PM »
While I do get annoyed by overly loud & explicit cell phone conversations on public transit, I don't mind if people talk on the phone in a "regular voice." That being said, it makes me uncomfortable to do the latter because i worry that even in my normal voice I might be disturbing other passengers and paranoid that they can hear my side of the conversation, even though I don't discuss anything too salacious (at least not on the bus ;)). Usually if someone calls me and I feel the conversation is going on too long, I offer to call the caller back when I get home, or take it to text messaging!

siamesecat2965

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Re: Dear Abby - 3/12/12, first letter
« Reply #57 on: March 16, 2012, 10:44:17 AM »
I had to laugh the other day; I took the train into NYC to see a show, and there were announcements about how if you are on your phone, please try and limit the conversation to your own immediate seating area.  Thankfully there were no loud cell phone users either in or out.

Sirius

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Re: Dear Abby - 3/12/12, first letter
« Reply #58 on: March 16, 2012, 05:03:36 PM »
I was standing in line behind someone at a bank once, and they were having an intense conversation on their cellphone.  I tried not to listen, so I people-watched, stared at the ceiling, etc.  The phone-talker turned around and snapped at me, "Do you mind?  I'm on the phone!" as though I had stood there to purposely eavesdrop.  Then, when the bank teller called her to the front desk, he asked her to put her phone away and she refused.  So, he told her, very politely, "If you won't put your phone away then I can't help you."  The branch manager came over and backed the teller all the way, so she finally ended her conversation, but not without a couple of nasty comments into the phone about how "unreasonable" the people at the bank were being by making her hang up.  I got the same teller after she left, talking on the phone again and apologizing to whoever she was talking to about having to hang up because of the unreasonable bank people, and I told the teller, "Good job."  He told me that he wasn't allowed to serve someone talking on a cellphone.  I also told the manager that I was glad he backed the teller up the way he did. 

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Re: Dear Abby - 3/12/12, first letter
« Reply #59 on: March 16, 2012, 05:53:09 PM »
I was standing in line behind someone at a bank once, and they were having an intense conversation on their cellphone.  I tried not to listen, so I people-watched, stared at the ceiling, etc.  The phone-talker turned around and snapped at me, "Do you mind?  I'm on the phone!" as though I had stood there to purposely eavesdrop.  Then, when the bank teller called her to the front desk, he asked her to put her phone away and she refused.  So, he told her, very politely, "If you won't put your phone away then I can't help you."  The branch manager came over and backed the teller all the way, so she finally ended her conversation, but not without a couple of nasty comments into the phone about how "unreasonable" the people at the bank were being by making her hang up.  I got the same teller after she left, talking on the phone again and apologizing to whoever she was talking to about having to hang up because of the unreasonable bank people, and I told the teller, "Good job."  He told me that he wasn't allowed to serve someone talking on a cellphone.  I also told the manager that I was glad he backed the teller up the way he did.

Kudos to this bank and any other business that enforces cell phone rules.  Here's a link to some funny and smart signs put up by businesses.  I could not agree more on how rude it is to carry on a cell phone conversation (or any conversation) while ignoring people who are there to help you! 

Here's the link.  I love this site!  I'm sure the eHellions will enjoy it!

http://www.passiveaggressivenotes.com/2010/02/25/counter-attack/
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