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Overheard in Brookline

It still never ceases to amaze me how people on cell phones carry on the most private of conversations in public.

Yesterday, after work, I was walking home along Harvard Street from Coolidge Corner, and I passed a very young blonde woman on her cell phone. I would have pegged her for late teens or early twenties. Other people around included parents taking their kids home from school, just to set the scene. And clear as anything, in a very chirpy voice, she says to her friend on the other end of the phone:

"If you go out, and I go out, and if we end up drunk and in bed together, that can only lead to good things."

To her credit, I think the instant she said that she realized just who around her might have been listening, as she immediately lowered her volume for the rest of the conversation. But still...


I've noted that before myself. It's even worse when someone's using the walkie-talkie 'feature' of their phone, so you catch both ends of the conversation...
That was very much one of the themes of this talk: we need a new set of assumptions about how we behave to deal with all the new toys - and many of those assumptions are to do with public and private space.

Last time I was on a train, a woman who was obviously a schools' inspector was dictating her report on a local school over a mobile phone; it was very audible, and if I knew more about the schools I could probably have identified it. This stuff is supposed to be confidential.
A few years ago, somebody on riding in the same El car as I was repeated his buddy's phone number quite loudly several times. I seriously considered calling the buddy to let him know what a jerk his friend was.
Speaking of oblivious people on cell phones: I was taking a bus from Harvard Square to visit a friend in Belmont a few months ago. Most of everyone on the bus was well-dressed professionals just leaving work. This teen, young blonde girl with trendy "urban" clothing, boards the bus and proceeds to have this loud conversation on the cell phone, the highlight of which was: "I just got on the bus. Yeah, I know. Taking the bus is soooo ghetto. I wish I had my car."

Everyone in earshot had this horrified look. But the girl never seemed to notice that she had offended everyone on the bus.
There's certainly plenty of this clueless/rude behavior going on. But the worst of it (IMO) is when doctors and lawyers do business over mobile phones in public - there's it's actually a crime.

"If you go out, and I go out, and if we end up drunk and in bed together, that can only lead to good things."

Like unplanned pregnancy, STDs or really horrendous sex?!?!?!?

Aside from the private in public implications, the above quote is rather disturbing on soooooo many levels!
Aw, what's wrong with group sex, provided it's safe group sex?
As long as its consentual, go right ahead.

It's the drunken lack of judgement part that's a problem.

"If you go out, and I go out, and if we end up drunk and in bed together, that can only lead to good things."

That's pretty much a Jerry Springer turn of phrase. :-)
Well, you don't know either her or who she was talking to. Pregnancy might not even be a possible result. She may know the person well enough not to worry about STDs. And I think the point of her statement was to express (possibly false) confidence that the sex, if any, would not be horrendous.
one problem with e-communication is that unless you know the person, you aren't really able to "hear" their voice when you read their drabble, so what might seem a throwaay comment when written or when read by your close personal friends looks more harsh than intended.

I'm not taking it *that* seriously. I was merely engaging in a little hyperbole there to make the point that expressing confidence that drunken sex is going to lead to *only* good things isn't showing the best judgement. But of course we knew that seeing as how this person had this conversation in public on a cell phone.

[In best Dalek voice:]
My judgement is impaired I cannot think.
My judgement is impaired I cannot think.
My judgement is impaired I cannot think.


The worst that I've heard, or at least the worst that I remember hearing, was someone on a commuter bus (in other words, a packed, quiet bus) sobbing into her cell phone while talking about a guy who'd dumped her.

Uh, honey? We can all hear you.
It's different, but this reminds me of an officemate in grad school. He frequently had long phone conversations with various friends and family, and absolutely did not care what he said in front of me. *That* took a long time to get used to. In fact, for me it's distinctly more uncomfortable than overhearing odd things from strangers because, hello, *stranger*. If I'm not going to see them again, who cares what they say?

(I'm not complaining about being interrupted from working -- usually I was procrastinating in one way or another anyway.)
News.com has a story about a blockhead sales rep who was blabbing on a flight while a competitor was listening from across the aisle... some people have no concept of either politeness or OPSEC.
Oh, yeah... people come into the store talking on cell phones all the time, and continue the conversation while looking around. The topics can be rather wide-ranging. We try not to listen, but there's only so much you can do...

December 2016

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