It’s the small things, like getting someone to end their annoying cell phone conversation

Today on a bus ride home from Philadelphia, I could no longer abide the cell phone conversation of the woman in the seat behind me with the girlish, Eastern European-accented voice, who had been yammering for nearly 30 minutes about whether she should make a whole chicken, her Easter service, her time out partying and the great philosophical approach her friend has toward life. So I turned around and began to ask her to be quiet. She gave me a look of acknowledgement, which I thought meant she would end the conversation, but about ten minutes later, after I had gotten up and returned from the bathroom, she was still talking. So, going against my general aversion toward conflict, I turned around and asked her to either finish her conversation in the bathroom or wrap it up. She rolled her eyes but ended the conversation. Small victory.

This is what I think should be the general cell phone conversation rule: In a public, enclosed space, you should be no more than 5 minutes on the phone, and the conversation should be logistically necessary (e.g. conversation about where you’re going to meet the person picking you up from the train station).

My mom later pointed me to this article about a book on how noise is unhealthy–which I can instinctively understand, because noise always makes me feel keyed up in a negative way.

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About elainemeyer
I'm a writer and editor. I work in communications at the Columbia School of Public Health, where I write about epidemiologic research. In the past I've worked as a reporter and studied journalism and history in school.

2 Responses to It’s the small things, like getting someone to end their annoying cell phone conversation

  1. hm says:

    Thank YOU for pointing me to Salon back when :-) :-)

  2. Jobe says:

    Y’know, when I worked at a recruitment firm, I always thought the worst part of my job was listening to the recruiters’ one side of the conversation. There’s just something very unholy and unfullfilling about it. Don’t get me wrong, I adore gossip, but when it’s only one side of the conversation, it’s f’ing annoying.

    Anyway, a job well done.

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