Monday, October 15, 2007

People of the World, Please -- Pretty Please -- SHUT YOUR CAKE HOLES!

Dan Savage's recent screed about a woman shouting on her cell phone in an airport waiting area reminded me of something I meant to write about a few weeks ago.

On my trip to Saratoga this year, two older women were on my Amtrak train and wouldn't stop nattering to each other in Italian the whole way up, which was quite annoying and distracting. (I don't think it's xenophobic to say that overhearing a language you don't understand for hours at a time is brain-frazzling.) But I sympathized -- they were going to visit one of their sisters, they were together, and conversation is natural. I hope they enjoyed their ride, even though I had some fairly sinister thoughts about them in the heat of the moment.

But the return trip, the following Monday, was a different story. The man across the aisle from me was loudly on his cell phone for at least 30 minutes, discussing some problem he was having in his job. From his side of the conversation, I gathered he was an executive at some type of hardware retailer, and he was talking to another friend of his at the company about how his job was being jeopardized by someone he was trying to pass off as an incompetent underling. During one very brief stretch of his conversation (maybe a minute), he used all of the following phrases, no lie:
it's a no-brainer
been there, done that
at the end of the day
we're trying to keep his head in the game
don't give up hope
if we can just keep our heads on straight
I want what's best for the branch
all's I see is the trees for the forest now
I had wanted to listen to some peaceful music on the way back, to accompany the continuous view of the Hudson River, but after listening to this guy for a while, I created a playlist on my iTunes called "Drowning Out the Jackass," composed of what passes for heavy metal in my collection. Before I secured the headphones and set the volume level to Stun, I caught two more gems:
we're just going to go out there and sell nails and screws at a certain margin

down the road, do I have a feeling that we'll be stocking more screws? Yes, I do have the feeling that down the road we'll be stocking more screws.
Do I wish I was more the type of person like the friendly young woman sitting in front of me who finally told him to keep it down? I do. But the world shouldn't have to tell people to be polite. In fact, that's kind of the whole point of being polite.


Anonymous Kevin Longrie said...

I was on an overnight bus from Berkeley to Santa Barbara and the man sitting next to me spoke on his phone, in Farsi, for 4 hours straight.

More people should have love for the Savage.

2:52 AM  

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