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kerbing garrulous public chatter
December 8, 2004 8:39 PM   Subscribe

Dear Cell Phone User (pdf): We are aware that your ongoing conversation about [insert topic here] is very important to you, but we thought you'd like to know that it doesn't interest us in the least. In fact, your babbling disregard for others is more than a little annoying. (via and via) SHHH!
posted by shoepal (70 comments total)

 
No offense, but is more attention really going to stop these people?
posted by ticopelp at 8:46 PM on December 8, 2004


I rather like the idea of having these on hand, maybe even filling them out whilst being annoyed by someone on a mobile phone, but I probably wouldn't have the nerve to actually given one to someone. An interesting idea, nevertheless.
posted by shoepal at 8:52 PM on December 8, 2004


"Dear self-righteous wankstain: get bent!"

(so many ppl get strangely uptight about others using mobile phones around them, but i bet at least 50% of them would carry on a conversation in the same circumstances if one of their friends, relatives or colleagues phoned them...)

((cute link, btw))
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:54 PM on December 8, 2004


Cell phones have no social cachet at all anymore, and anyone who uses them in an effort to impress others is likely just worthy of pity.

As far as I'm concerned, people can have conversations anywhere they like as long as they're not drowning everyone out -- except in the theater, which is just extremely rude no matter how you slice it. I don't think it's self-righteous to want to enjoy a good movie in peace.

(And I'm one of the other 50%, who turns my phone to vibrate in public places and excuses myself if I need to take a call in the middle of a face-to-face conversation).
posted by ticopelp at 8:57 PM on December 8, 2004


Yeah, I've always wondered why certain uptight sorts get so annoyed about mobile phone conversations, when they don't seem to have issues with, y'know, actual conversations.

Generally, if someone's being an obnxious, loudmouthed twat on their mobile, I assume that the person they're talking to is also likely to be an obnoxious, loudmouthed twat, and I give thanks to the gods of mobile phone technology. They're a wonderful, wonderful device for halving the number of loudmouthed twats I'm forced to listen to each day…
posted by flashboy at 9:05 PM on December 8, 2004


like ticopelp says, it's not the conversation, it's the volume of the conversation. i think it's rude to use a cell phone inside an establishment (bar, restaurant, etc.) let alone at a performance (movie, concert, etc.), but i see it a lot.

i don't even have a cell phone but i'm not sure these cards are a good idea. they need to be funnier; they come off as too self-righteous.

speaking of "inside" voices, there's something to be said about "outside" voices too. there's no need to let your 5-year-old shout in the streets at 7 am.
posted by mrgrimm at 9:06 PM on December 8, 2004


"Hi. Yeah, I'm almost there. I'm passing the Coffee Time. Now I'm passing Scotiabank..."
posted by orange swan at 9:07 PM on December 8, 2004


I'm just going to buy one of those cellphone blocking devices, black market. One of these days. Then you'll all get yours.

Cell phone conversations are more annoying than regular conversations (to overhear) for two reasons:

1. People use different, louder, and more annoying voices on the phone.
2. You can't hear half the conversation, and so it is sub-consciously harder to ignore, since you're left hanging.
posted by Hildago at 9:07 PM on December 8, 2004


I really hate people that speak loudly on their cellphones in public, and I'm not really sure why. I too always excuse myself when I get a phonecall or have to make one. It just seems like the polite thing to do. Why should I subject others to my boring conversation?
posted by deafmute at 9:10 PM on December 8, 2004


I think this scourge has gone on LONG ENOUGH!!

It's time to go a little pre-emptive towards these terrorists.

Giving a friendly little reminders of their annoying habits just coddles them..

I say, take a baseball bat to the annoyance...

Their cellphones, not their heads, silly.....

On second thought.... ;-)
posted by Balisong at 9:13 PM on December 8, 2004


I am pretty anti-cell phone. But it seems weird: what's the difference between me having a conversation in public with another person, and me having a conversation on my cellphone? Both present the same volume of talk; the two-person conversation even adds more noise. But people only passionately object to cell phone conversations.

What's the issue? I think the real complaint is that you can't eavesdrop and follow the conversation when the person is blathering on a phone.
posted by xmutex at 9:16 PM on December 8, 2004


Dear everybody, you all suck ass. Eat my cock. I don't have a cell phone because I choose not to get one. Therefore, I am cool and you are not. Fuck off. Die. Bitches. But if I need to borrow one, may I borrow yours to make a quick call. Thanks, bunches.
posted by jefbla at 9:18 PM on December 8, 2004


jefbla: ha! It's like bus people. You car people are pathetic. You're ruining the environment. I am so much better look down from you from the bus. But uh can you help me move some stuff this weekend? And I need a ride to work tomorrow.
posted by xmutex at 9:22 PM on December 8, 2004


I work in the computer lab at my college. We have a "please take your cell calls outside the lab" policy. Most people are cool about. Some walk just outside the door AND TALK AT THE TOP OF THEIR VOICES not getting the whole point is to not disturb the other students. I just don't get it. Why do these people scream into these things? When I'm talking on the phone I don't want the whole world to hear what I'm saying and I speak in a normal phone voice. I think I might print up some of these cards and start handing them out.
posted by AstroGuy at 9:26 PM on December 8, 2004


Loud conversations over mobile phones are no more annoying than loud conversations in person. Most asshats don't require technology to ignore common courtesy and proper etiquette.

In a large crowd or airport the sophomoric, 'n00b', technophobes proud of mastering SEND on a free, fat Nokia (who still have VCRs at home blinking 12:00) are much more irritating than the bluetooth headset ubertechs.
posted by HyperBlue at 9:42 PM on December 8, 2004


What's the issue? I think the real complaint is that you can't eavesdrop and follow the conversation when the person is blathering on a phone.

The issue is exactly as orange swan put it: to a non-cellphone user, it appears as though people with cellphones are all about location, location, location. You see them walking down the street talking only about where they are, and where they are about to be.

Alternately, you'll be talking to them in a bar, and suddenly, they're on the phone; the conversation must stop so that the person with the cellphone can talk to the other line about when they're going to be somewhere.

And if you're a bicycle-rider, the only other time you see people using cellphones is when they screech to a halt in their cars, about to hit you, because--presumably--they're talking to someone about how close they are to where they are supposed to be.
posted by interrobang at 9:46 PM on December 8, 2004


Ah come on. People talking about where they are and where they are going to be is no less inane than most of the conversations Other People have around you every day.

Your point about bicyclists isn't relevant because the issue there is not simply someone talking on a cell phone.
posted by xmutex at 9:54 PM on December 8, 2004


The issue is exactly as orange swan put it: to a non-cellphone user, it appears as though people with cellphones are all about location, location, location. You see them walking down the street talking only about where they are, and where they are about to be.

Exactly. As Maria Kalman said, a cell phone is "a pacifier for adults. It makes you feel connected, that you're not alone in this planet."

I don't think it's necessarily always that way, but it certainly can be, for some.
posted by ticopelp at 9:54 PM on December 8, 2004


It is the volume that annoys me. Normal people don't shout to someone sitting next to them "WE'RE JUST GOING PAST CAMBERWELL STATION! I SAID, CAMBERWELL! WHAT DID YOU WANT FOR DINNER?" unless drunk or disturbed in some way.

But badly behaved strangers are one thing, what about friends? I'd probably prefer little notes that said: I was having a really nice chat and dinner with you until you decided to answer your phone and have a long and unnecessary discussion. It made me feel quite unimportant, so I've left. Bye."
posted by AnnaRat at 9:56 PM on December 8, 2004



Your point about bicyclists isn't relevant because the issue there is not simply someone talking on a cell phone.


There is when you *almost get hit by a car every single day* by someone talking on a cellphone.
posted by interrobang at 10:04 PM on December 8, 2004


interrobang: Maybe God hates you.
posted by xmutex at 10:06 PM on December 8, 2004


Remember one of the big "selling points'" when cell phones first came out?

More time doing the things you'd rather be doing.

More time with family.. Hanging at home with the kids.

To a small degree this happened. to be quickly overshadowed by the fact that the office can now reach you at home, or the golf course, or the drive there..

Remember when you just used to drive to work? Listen to the news, an old Zeppelin song, or just notice someone trimming a tree that you always pass...

All the extra time that cell phones promised us has been stolen back over and over again...

(I own a cell phone.. a big klunky Nextell for work, but was resistant for many years.. Had a pager before that, but finding a payphone when I got a msg. got annoying.. Still am debating getting one of those "New Fangled" flip phones...)
posted by Balisong at 10:09 PM on December 8, 2004


xmutex: maybe you do.

...and besides, what kind of people need to be reachable every single minute of the day?

Has the illusion of the romance of the high-power executive with a secretary following him around really reached that far into society, or is it just that people are terrified of being alone? I really do not understand why anyone would ever want a cellphone.

I know--get this--that you can "turn them off" and thus don't hear the ringing all the time, but why would anyone want it so that they could be found at any time of the day, anywhere they are?

Then there's the behavior: people drive while talking on them, which has been proven to be worse than driving drunk, and they routinely interrupt conversations to talk on them, *and* ruin movies in theaters for other people. Are people really so starving for attention that they must have these things?
posted by interrobang at 10:13 PM on December 8, 2004


I drive in a truck with a guy (he has a cellphone). Whenever he gets a call, he insists on turning the radio down. I should smack him but to be polite I comply.
posted by Kilovolt at 10:14 PM on December 8, 2004


I've often thought about making a sign like that for my own personal pet peeve. It would have checkboxes for all the behemoth SUVs. And then under that it would say "YOUR VEHICLE IS IN NO WAY A COMPACT VEHICLE. PLEASE PARK YOUR GARGANTUAN PENIS EXTENSION IN A FULL-SIZE SPACE SO YOU DON'T MAKE THE TWO SPACES ON EITHER SIDE OF IT USELESS, THEREBY TAKING THREE SPOTS."
posted by kindall at 10:16 PM on December 8, 2004


Nah, I agree with being annoyed by cellphones. But while being annoyed, I realize that (louder voices notwithstanding) there is no difference between that and two people having a conversation. Except for the fact that I can't listen in and fully follow the conversation when there is a phone.

So I can't really figure out my own annoyance, either.

But oh well.
posted by xmutex at 10:23 PM on December 8, 2004


interrobang, I can think of a single reason to own a cell phone. My infant son is 5 months old. If anything happens to him, I want to be reachable at any time of the day or night.

Beyond that, I check baseball scores in the summer and that's about it. I hate having the phone but its been helpful a few times.

kindall, you could etch that into their door, that might help get the point across.
posted by fenriq at 10:40 PM on December 8, 2004


Cell phones are handy if your car breaks down in the middle of nowhere, as I can personally attest.

The trick is owning it, and not letting it own you, which is easier said than done sometimes.
posted by ticopelp at 10:45 PM on December 8, 2004


Dear Sociopath,

Go live up a fucking tree out of our way and then we won't be bothering your poor tourtured mind.

Warm Regards,
Everyone Else

That said, some folks need to cotton on to the fact that speaking into the phone mic, as opposed to shouting into the air 6 inches away, is better for all concerned...
posted by i_cola at 10:51 PM on December 8, 2004


The issue, in my view, is that cell phones increase the total volume of the world around us. Sure, that guy yakking on the phone isn't making any more noise than if he were talking to someone in person, but if he were alone and had no cell phone, he likely wouldn't be talking at all. Voila! A general increase in the noise level that the rest of us have to deal with.

I also think it's gotten worse as phones have gotten smaller, moving the microphone away from the mouth. I assume that more open space means more outside noise transmits, necessitating all the idiotic shouting.
posted by goatdog at 11:06 PM on December 8, 2004


Great link, thanks!
posted by dobbs at 11:47 PM on December 8, 2004


I've always felt the reason random people having a cell phone conversation near you is so annoying is that the other side of the conversation doesn't have the same context. If I'm sitting on a bus talking to a friend I keep my conversation at the level of the noise of the bus. I don't shout loudly, if the bus driver makes an announcement I don't talk over him, etc., etc. If I'm talking to someone who is on a cell phone I don't have those queues and so my conversation is a lot less polite for the surroundings on the cell phone end. That disconnect bleeds over to the other side of the conversation, making the cell phoner act like a bit of an ass.*

Well that and because you are holding a conversation with only verbal context, a crappy microphone, and less than perfect reception, you tend to have to listen harder to hear the other person, and the natural response is to talk louder as well.

* I suspect this is also part of why cell phones and cars are a bad combination. Hands free is only a small part of it, more important is it becomes a lot hard for the conversation to pause when it naturally should, like say in the middle of a lane change.
posted by aspo at 11:56 PM on December 8, 2004


I assume that more open space means more outside noise transmits, necessitating all the idiotic shouting.

As I understand it, cell phones these days have pretty good background noise supression. The thing that annoys me is that raising your volume does absolutely no good if you have a shitty connection. Back in the day, with analog cell phones, you had to raise their voice if there was too much static, but with digital systems and noise surpression, if your connection sucks, no matter how loud you talk, it's still going to sound choppy.
posted by gyc at 11:58 PM on December 8, 2004


Well I've had my own run-ins with cell phone users[self-link] and I cannot see the benefit of this. I could see this flyer being used as an emergency trach tube after the offender attempts to ram his fist AND his phone down my throat.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 12:18 AM on December 9, 2004


I sometimes realise how completely odd my one sided cellphone converstaions must sound -- especially sometimes my work related ones...

"No, she's still okay this week, but we're eliminating her next week - we should make sure we get her to cry a lot just before the end"

...so that's the reason I try not to be a loud cellphone talker.
posted by sycophant at 12:25 AM on December 9, 2004


My pet peeve is this: bicyclists who ride, at night, talking on a cellphone, without a helmet or a light, the wrong way down the bike lane. It may sound weird, but I see someone doing this at least once a week, and I find that behavior, well, appalling. This is San Francisco, by the way. Anyone somewhere else also witness to this lowlife behavior?
posted by greasepig at 12:39 AM on December 9, 2004


I do not like it when peoples' phones ring while I am in a fine restaurant.

I am there for dinner, not to listen to other people yammer on and phones ringing.

I am there for not just the food, but the atmosphere, which is IMO, ruined by annoying ringtones and nasal, droning voices.
posted by erratic frog at 1:32 AM on December 9, 2004


Aren't these just a tamer version of the Urban Asshole notification cards?
posted by bwg at 2:09 AM on December 9, 2004


I read somewhere that less of your voice is fed back into the earpiece of a cell phone and that tends to make people shout more.

A home phone channels most of your voice back to the earpiece as a sort of "monitor signal".

Anyone else heard this?

As many of us know, it's perfectly possible to have a quiet conversation on a cell phone (we call them "mobiles" in the UK) so that even the person next to you can't overhear.

I think it's silly ringtones which annoy me more!
Especially when I can't "guess the tune".
posted by JtJ at 2:26 AM on December 9, 2004


I love it when people answer mobiles on the train. One second you're sitting next to a grey-faced automaton, the next you're sitting next to an actual human being with emotions, a personality and a life. It's nice.
posted by Summer at 2:39 AM on December 9, 2004


Totally agree with Summer, especially in the stoical london that I live in, anything to empathise with the herd is good.
However being sat next to a chinese woman for 15 mins with no volume control into a conversation that didn't have a smattering of english words - I had to move.
posted by dprs75 at 3:02 AM on December 9, 2004


I'm not anti-cellphone as such since like others have attested, they can (literally) be life-savers in emergency situations and my own has got me out of trouble on a couple of occasions. However, worse than those "shouting into the mic" types is the persion (usually a teenage girl in my experience) who sits on a crowded commuter train looping through every one of the twelve thousand crappy ringtones on her phone at full volume. Over and over agan. Then she goes "hey Shaz - listen to this!" to her friend. This is a cue for said friend to produce her own phone and start the same process. So now there's two of them at it. And so it goes on...

I've really had to restrain myself from grabbing the phone from their hands and stamping on it on a couple of occasions.
posted by NeonSurge at 3:21 AM on December 9, 2004


I read somewhere that less of your voice is fed back into the earpiece of a cell phone and that tends to make people shout more.

Well that explains why my father TALKS LIKE THIS ON HIS CELLPHONE. I thought it was some form of weird selective deafness.

The thing that annoys me about cellphones the most is the endless "Where are you, I'm here, where shall we go? Can I call you back in two minutes after I've called four other people and asked them where they are? And where they're going?" conversations that are taking over my life. What happened to simply meeting at the restaurant at 8pm?
posted by fshgrl at 3:55 AM on December 9, 2004


What happened to simply meeting at the restaurant at 8pm?

Now you see here I really have to disagree. When your friends are spread over a five mile area, all finish work at different times and there are a million restaurants/bars/pubs to choose from and you can't remember the name of the really nice one you were once at and someone may or may not be late depending on how long they will be with some other person then the last minute text/call for meeting up arrangements is a complete godsend.
posted by Summer at 5:17 AM on December 9, 2004


I don't have a problem with cell phones per se, either. They are incredibly useful in emergencies. What bugs me, and perhaps this is a generational thing or something, is that cell phones are one of those modern conveniences that are tearing down the boundary that used to exist between public and private.

For example: you are in a library. You used to be able to expect to enter one and have the space respected as quiet space. Now, it's open season. People take cell phones into the stacks and yammer on them there.

I also object to being subjected to the private conversations people are having on their cell phones about fighting their DUIs (for example). What about cell phones makes people think that the rest of the world wants to (nay, must) hear their intimate conversations? I just don't get it.
posted by blucevalo at 5:23 AM on December 9, 2004


Sorry, I had to.
posted by pepcorn at 6:53 AM on December 9, 2004


What I find amazing is when you see two people sitting together in a coffee shop and both are talking to other people on their cell phones.
posted by jim-of-oz at 7:01 AM on December 9, 2004


Exactly.

I was out at a local pizza buffet with my wife and walked past a young man yattering away on his cell while a quite attractive young lady (in my opinion) sat opposite him looking quite bored.

I felt like whacking him on the back of the head with my tray and suggesting he get his priorities straight...
posted by Samizdata at 7:12 AM on December 9, 2004


pointless... in most situations we have no right to insist that someone be silent.

If someone's noise level is illegal, then deal with it...otherwise let it go and stop complaining....

folks...we've got bigger fish to fry!
posted by HuronBob at 7:15 AM on December 9, 2004


I wonder if it's a case of some people tuning in to others conversations and others treating it as white noise.

It seems futile to try to impose restrictions on something that you cannot do anything about.

I sometimes think that this is more about the opportunity to interfere in someone elses life than a real annoyance.
But that's me, I hate people who hate for the wrong reasons ( a case of eating my own tail).
posted by dprs75 at 7:24 AM on December 9, 2004


I find cell phone users amusing more often than not. It is so funny to see all these adults who HAVE TO TALK RIGHT NOW. The guy walking through the arrival gate at the airport. The woman wandering the aisles of the grocery store (Cocopuffs or Lucky charms?) The man seated alone in the restaurant. The old fart out Christmas shopping (So what about wine glasses?) The person standing in the movie theater lobby.(Yeah, she left me.) The woman pushing a stroller through the park (And then I said.) All of these adults can't hold their wee-wee until they get home.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:27 AM on December 9, 2004


I originally got my cellphone because I was not driving for a time and it's much more efficient to call for a ride from the train when you know which train you were able to catch and whether its running late. I never noticed that persons talking on cell phones were all that much louder than persons talking to the person next to them. I overheard many many conversations from me neighbors and learned stuff about their personal lives they probably didn't realize they were broadcasting. I really do think the objections are at least partially based on the fact that it's harder to effectively eavesdrop.
posted by Karmakaze at 7:35 AM on December 9, 2004


My guess about why people talking on phones in public is irritating to many is because there's something a little alienating about it. When both people are present the interaction takes place in the context of there. That is, those two people talking to each other across from you at the cafe are having a conversation at the cafe. When someone is talking to someone on a cell phone, they are, in a sense, elsewhere. They are more explicitly ignoring their surroundings (and the people around them) than they are when they're talking to someone in person.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 7:42 AM on December 9, 2004


I find cell phone users amusing more often than not. It is so funny to see all these adults who HAVE TO TALK RIGHT NOW. The guy walking through the arrival gate at the airport.

Y'know something? I'm that guy. As a sales professional with a fairly large geographic territory to cover, my cell phone is a tool which enables me to feed my family. My customers expect to be able to reach me because they expect good service, and I oblige that because they enable me to make a decent living.

I turn my phone to silent and I do not answer it during meetings or meals, unless I am expecting a particular guest who may need directions. You can discreetly check the display of the phone and decide to answer it.

And actually, since I switched to a Blackberry, I text message more often than anything else, which is more discreet and less obtrusive to those around me.

Someone, very intelligently, pointed out that you have to own the phone, not let it own you. Courtesy and etiquette don't get replaced by technology, so let's hear it for common sense.
posted by TeamBilly at 8:22 AM on December 9, 2004


I don't mind if people talk on their cell phone as long as it's not in these two specific places: in a movie theater or in line about to order their coffee [i work at starbucks]. people will walk up to the counter mid-conversation [not after waiting in line, just walking right up to the counter] and i'm torn as to whether i should wait on them as usual and blatantly interrupting their conversation over and over or do i go about my other work and wait for them to finish?
one time i did just that, i went about my work while the person talked on his phone. he then started talking louder about how "i'm at starbucks and no one is waiting on me, i'm just standing here waiting". i think there was one or two other people working with me doing the same thing. finally he came up to one of us and ordered, making some aside comment about how he didn't understand why we didn't wait on him sooner.
suddenly there were two of us trying to explain to this guy that we saw him on the phone so we didn't want to interrupt him. i don't remember what he responded with, but it was quite ridiculous. why should i have to be an accomplice to rudeness by interrupting his phone call to take his coffee order when i can just as easily wait until he's done?
posted by zorrine at 8:28 AM on December 9, 2004


Zorrine -

Seems like a politely-worded sign would be in order. "Our staff will be happy to wait on you when you hang up your phone so that we do not interrupt what is obviously an important conversation."

Or, you could throw scalding-hot milk at him. Whatever works....
posted by TeamBilly at 8:35 AM on December 9, 2004


My favorite used bookstore has a sign on the door: "Please keep your cellphone conversations brief and quiet." I wonder when the library's going to get hip.
posted by Paddle to Sea at 9:47 AM on December 9, 2004


Amtrak trains in the US often feature a Quiet Car, which is a godsend for people who do not want to be sitting immediately adjacent to the college student cycling through her entire phonebook and beginning every call with, "Hey, I'm bored. What are you doing?"

A five second "Hey we're running late so don't leave to pick me up until 9:30" conversation would be a fine use for a cell phone, but for some people, a couple of hours of solitude must be just intolerable.
posted by nev at 9:57 AM on December 9, 2004


Anyone care to defend those idjits who have extended conversations on those blasted phones that double as walkie-talkies, so in addition to hearing one yelling side of the conversation, we hear the other side too, with the added bonus of that annoying chirping sound that makes me want to smash the phone? Anyone? Anyone?
posted by goatdog at 10:04 AM on December 9, 2004


Personally, Nextel / Boost drives me fucking insane. Do the phone companies abroad have this annoying "2-way" walkie talky phenomenon that we endure in the states?
posted by AllesKlar at 11:25 AM on December 9, 2004



I find cell phone users amusing more often than not. It is so funny to see all these adults who HAVE TO TALK RIGHT NOW. The guy walking through the arrival gate at the airport. The woman wandering the aisles of the grocery store (Cocopuffs or Lucky charms?) The man seated alone in the restaurant. The old fart out Christmas shopping (So what about wine glasses?) The person standing in the movie theater lobby.(Yeah, she left me.) The woman pushing a stroller through the park (And then I said.) All of these adults can't hold their wee-wee until they get home.


Why the fuck would you have a problem with this? If I'm at the store, and I can't remember what my wife wanted me to pick up, you want me to drive the fuck back home, ask her about it, and drive back to the store? How the hell does that make any sense? If I'm with my wife in the store, am I allowed to discuss potential purchases with her in front of you, or can your poor fragile ears not stand that disturbance? You know, in the world I live in, people have conversations all over the place, outside of the privacy of their own homes, and I don't find it amusing: I find it perfectly normal.

Seriously, why should I only be allowed to have a conversation when I'm at home? And what does it have to do with my wee-wee?


I also cannot understand the "walkie-talkie" cell phones. Can anyone explain the advantage of this mode of operation?
posted by mr_roboto at 11:33 AM on December 9, 2004


Ethereal Bligh put it well. It infringes on the commons, and it's damned annoying.
posted by goofyfoot at 11:43 AM on December 9, 2004


Someone told me recently that the two-way walkie talkies are free after a flat per-month fee. Anyone know if that's true?

A funny story about one of those, where it would have been better to hear only one half of the conversation: A wet-haired, track suit wearing goomba-type was in a fast food place in a rather well known urban area just outside of NYC, loudly telling his fellow howYOUdoin' goomba about his day, what he was eating and where he was. And, upon hearing the name of the particular neighborhood this guy was eating in, the idiot on the other end says: "[name of place]? The only people who live there are a bunch of n--"

In the fast food joint, all conversation grinds to a halt.

Mr. Gold Chain Track Suit stops chewing his food in mid-swallow, puts down his burger, stands up, and walks out of the restaurant as every head in the place follows him out.

It was hilarious.
posted by owenville at 12:23 PM on December 9, 2004


oooooh. i really want to print out the ones that say "INSIDE VOICES PLEASE!" and give them out to everyone who enters the computer labs here. the idea that the entire world doesn't want to be part of your conversation is a new one in these parts.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 4:08 PM on December 9, 2004


Mr. Roboto, I said I was amused. If you are free to talk on your cell phone, then I am free to laugh. I laugh quietly, to myself, by the way.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 4:57 PM on December 9, 2004


Sometimes we are amused. It's not judgmental, we are simply amused. Those who can not laugh at the absurd nature of our lives are destined to be living it. Or something like that.

Nice tale, owenville.
posted by Dick Paris at 6:29 PM on December 9, 2004


re : the link that goofyfoot posted

those "the Commons" people make some salient points, but then they have to go and absolutely destroy any suspension of disbelief that i may have that they truly believe in the importance of what it is they're preaching and smack me back to the reality that, while pieces of their philosophy make sense and feel sound, ultimately they're just whiners who want a soapbox.

case in point : "Limit TV ads to fewer minutes per hour"

if you want your quiet so gosh-darn badly, why not start with TURNING THE TV OFF?

(i acknowledge that they also rail for a ban on TVs in public places, but this is a wholly, wholly different sentiment).
posted by radiosilents at 7:26 PM on December 9, 2004


Next up:

Speakerphones!
posted by Kirth Gerson at 8:01 PM on December 9, 2004


Good News! Federal regulators are set to begin discussions later this month on allowing the use of cell phones on commercial airline flights.

Boy I can't wait!
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 2:40 PM on December 10, 2004


what's the difference between me having a conversation in public with another person, and me having a conversation on my cellphone? Both present the same volume of talk; the two-person conversation even adds more noise. But people only passionately object to cell phone conversations.

Next up: Speakerphones!

The one-sided conversation is more annoying to listen to because of information-deprivation. Listening to two people chatting on the bus is ok, because at least then you're getting the whole story. Listening to one half of a conversation ('I'm on the bus ... about ten minutes ... no, tomorrow ... okay ... etc...') is an exercise in aural torture.

I reckon we should follow Star Trek's lead, and make all mobile communication devices speakerphone only. If someone rings your cellphone, knowing full well they're going to be audible to the entire audience at the other end, it might make both caller and receiver a little more reticent about just rambling on.
posted by noizyboy at 6:40 PM on December 14, 2004


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