I don’t often wait while I have my car’s oil changed, but today I decided to. So I’m sitting here at the car dealership, enjoying the free wireless as others read, watch TV, or talk on the phone. The man on the phone was talking about arranging for a car for seven people. That’s the only part of his conversation that even registered with me—I have absolutely no idea what else he said because I was concentrating on what I was doing.

Man on Phone: Okay, thanks. Bye. (Or some such thing. I have no idea because I wasn’t listening.)
Nosy Woman Nearby (loudly, to MOP): Can I ask you a question? (At this point, I began tuning in, but kept my eyes focused on my laptop.) Do you realize that other people can hear your conversation? Don’t you think that’s insulting?
MOP: (somewhat dumbfounded) Uh, well, yes, I guess you could hear what I was saying. But it wasn’t anything private.
NWN: Well I find it insulting when people do that.
MOP: Well yes, if we were in a restaurant or something I would’ve excused myself and gone outside. But there isn’t any seating available outside today, and besides, it’s not that big a deal. I’m sorry if you were insulted.
NWN: Harrumph!

::stony cold silence::

MOP (to NWN): So, are you an Obama supporter? (I couldn’t even believe he brought this up with her, but it truly did sound like he was trying to make conversation.)
NWN: Heh, heh. (You know that Dolores Umbridge throat-clearing/cackle? It sounded a lot like that.) Oh, that’s not available for sharing.
MOP: Oh, so you’re not?
NWN: I’m not saying either way.
MOP: Ah, so then you’re probably not. I guess I should’ve expected as much from someone like you.

Me (to self): Bwa ha ha ha ha ha!

So should I have been insulted by his conversation too? I really hate it when people aren’t paying attention to what they’re doing (in the car, at the grocery store, standing in line for something) because they’re on the phone. But in this setting it didn’t bother me at all. Would you have been insulted? I do think that word is a bit strong—would you have been irritated by the phone conversation?


16 Responses to “Overheard”

  1. Undercovermutha Says:

    I wouldn’t have had that conversation in front of the other customers. I would have asked him to step outside and quietly kicked him in the nuts. I think the cellular phone has changed our culture…and not for the better. It annoys me, but I just keep my mouth closed.

    Why did he need a seat to talk outside? I don’t get that part.

  2. Ern Says:

    That’s just bizarre. I don’t understand how she could be insulted by his phone call unless he was talking about the smelly people in the waiting room with him.

    Personally, I think it’s fine to talk on your phone anywhere you would have a conversation out loud. I’m assuming people waiting there wouldn’t hesitate to chat with someone else in the room. If a person is in a library or a bank or somewhere that people talk in hushed tones, then they should take the phone call outside. But a waiting room or even a restaurant (as long as you aren’t ignoring the person you’re with) seems fine to me.

  3. kalki Says:

    I would have found her insulting, not him. WAY ruder.

  4. Philosophical Karen Says:

    He probably brought up politics just to annoy her further, since she was annoyed anyway. The whole thing is just bizarre.

    However, I do feel the need to say that in most of the restaurants I go to it would be weird for someone to have a cell phone conversation. (I’m saying “weird” but thinking “rude”.) I guess it just goes to show that people have different notions of cell phone etiquette.

  5. Susie Says:

    I think both were rude. You’re the only non-rude person in this story. I just don’t care to (over)hear half a phone conversation. Hmm… even at home, if I’m having more than a very brief conversation, I’ll go into another room, and I appreciate it if the rest of the fam does that, too.

  6. bente Says:

    If I was one of the people watching tv I probably would have been a little irritated by the phone conversation, but in general I wouldn’t consider talking on the phone in a waiting room rude. Well, unless he was a loud talker then all bets are off.

    I agree with Susie about being on the phone at home, though. I always go to a different room if I’m going to have a full conversation, but my husband will just sit on the couch and chat away. Drives me nuts and I usually end up kicking him out of the room.

  7. tysgirl Says:

    It depends on the location and the content of the conversation for me.

    However, I always put my phone on vibrate and excuse myself to make phone calls when I’m in any type of waiting room.

  8. Character Builder Says:

    Considering you were in the same waiting room as him and your attention wasn’t drawn to his conversation, I have to assume that he wasn’t overly loud or using a lot of foul language. As long as his conversation wasn’t overly lengthy, I really don’t see a problem, especially since you were in the waiting room of a car dealership. Everyone was there killing time, he was just trying to make good use of his time. What if he had been there with someone else, and was talking to them? Does that make it ok? Sure, it would have been more polite to step away from the others, but it doesn’t sound to me that he was out of line or insulting to others.

    Either way, I think it’s awesome that he gave her crap right back.

  9. CircusKelli Says:

    Eh, it would probably depend on my mood. That’s an honest answer.

  10. kcinnova Says:

    Hmmmm….car dealership waiting area? Bland topic? Short conversation in normal tones? Probably fine. “I’m at the car place right now, but I can meet you in 45 minutes. Okay, see you then. ” No problem.
    Gossip, personal information, foul language, or unpleasant topic (e.g., complaining about customer service, making a doctor appointment for a described problem) would be NOT okay. Normally I go outside, but that has to do with my cell phone coverage and my desire to not share my business with the rest of the world.

  11. The Q Says:

    I think NWN is a bit off her rocker. It wasn’t like he was talking about something disgusting (a pus filled boil) in a unmentionable place (his butt), so why was she insulted. Maybe irritated that she had to listen to his voice, but insulted? I don’t get it.

    What I personally hate is when people walk into our store yammering away into those little ear pieces. Then when you say “Pardon me, I didn’t catch that?” they put their fat little finger in the air to silence you. Excuse me?

    Come here, let me snap that squatty little sausage finger in half! You walk into a store, where you are greeted and you silence me because you’re on the phone?!? Wait until you’re finished and THEN enter the store.


    Sorry about that. I guess I’m a little edgy today 😉

  12. Mainline Mom Says:

    Yeah that NWN is nutso. Totally ruder. I think a waiting area is perfectly legit, especially if it’s a bland conversation. The Obama comment? Bizarre!

  13. certainabsurdity Says:

    I have one for you… My neighbor across my backyard (kiddy corner) talks on her cordless phone outside on her patio. I don’t know if she realizes that everyone in the surrounding buildings can hear her. It makes you feel like you can’t go outside when she’s out there. I liked it better when the 90-something year old couple was there…

  14. shari Says:

    NWN = Beyond rude.

    But, to be honest, I find cell phone conversations to be irritating. If they’re low volume, brief and not otherwise inappropriate, then fine. We all have those from time to time where we need to check in with the kids or the office or whatever. But to have an extended conversation, or a loud one, or one that has to be repeated because of sketchy reception, and to impose that on everyone within earshot? I don’t care where you are, that’s rude. To my sensibilities anyway. I guess I should say, I would never do that and I’d like if if people returned the courtesy.

  15. William Says:

    I am still trying to figure out the car for 7 people thing.

  16. Sarah Says:

    Ha! That was great! How did you sit there silent through it all? I would have been laughing the whole time
    My friends and I.. when someone irritates us, like a waitress.. we tell her.. “You are SO pretty”.. It is our code for you are so stupid…
    If I was the MOP or I guess I would have to be the WOP.. I would have told her she was SO pretty.

    I clicked through you from Water, Water Everywhere… Great story, great blog.. I’ll be back.

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