Loud Cell Phone Talkers Are the Worst

One Writer


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I couldn’t help but overhear.

She said she had a boyfriend with a white truck…and I don’t believe that for nuthin...(unidentified, loud cell-phone talking woman)

The syrupy-sweet, loud-talking woman paid no mind to the other patrons, patiently waiting to answer to the call of their name and make their way back to their pricey ortho appointments. I was doing the same, while spasms of nerve pain ravaged my left arm. I was in no mood for the beginning of yet another waiting room gossip story of which I’d never hear the end.

The woman’s captive audience was her mother, sitting next to her, silent and in a wheelchair, who as far as I could tell never spoke or answered her daughter, intent on telling her side of the story. It became clear the woman was speaking of her daughter (granddaughter of the poor woman in the wheelchair, I presume) and whether or not she had the boyfriend she claimed she had. What difference did it make, I thought, annoyed both at the woman’s loud story and at the pain I was in. The woman spoke so slowly it was almost painful to listen to her, not that I was trying.

You know…I was too old for ‘im. But my daughter’s 19 and him 47!...(unidentified, loud cell-phone talking woman)

Dramatic pause…wait for it…

We were together 14 years. 14 years!... (unidentified, loud cell-phone talking woman)

Wait — WHAT? This woman’s 19 year old daughter was with her 47 year old step dad / mom’s boyfriend? I am getting too old for these questions. For this drama. But, now I am all ears now, loud lady!

Other waiting room drama I have heard at different offices:

…I did not shoot him…I shot at him…(a different unidentified, loud cell-phone talking woman)

(WHAT?!) And another…

…he lef’ me layin’ out in the yard. Yeah I lay there for a long time. I had ta crawl back to the house…(Subsequent statements revealed “he” was freshly out of prison.)

(Um, leave him? Good Lord!)

LOUD Cell Phone Talking People

No matter where I go, there’s some loud talking person. My least-favorite being the I’m-so-important-I’m-on-my-cell-phone person, loudly discussing the details of their life so that every nearby person just has to know how important they must be. Business men and socialite women are the worst.

Or the cusser.
The arguer.
The trash-talker trying to sound tough.

Isn't There Some Kind of Ettiquette for This?

I rarely talk on my cell phone when other people are around. There were no cell phones when I was growing up, but I carried a book everywhere I went. I was taught that if you are with people visiting, you set your book aside out of respect for the other person. It was a matter of rudeness, or avoiding the appearance of being rude, rather.

If you wanted to be left alone, however, you could read, like in a waiting room. I cannot imagine my parents tolerating me being on the phone right there in front of everyone, or talking so loud as to impose on the ear-space of other people who might not appreciate it.

I was taught not to be rude, but also to behave with a bit of dignity.

And to air all the personal dirty laundry and gossip — right there in public? Oh, no. My southern roots would shiver at the thought. Apparently, other southern families may have missed the “public behavior” lessons I learned as a child. The “act like you got some sense” lessons.

I just wonder where a sense of public manners has gone? This incident with the syrupy-sweet gossip lady happened in an expensive doctors office, not a bar or a Walmart or at the DMV. A nice, orthopedic doctor’s office.

That poor lady in the wheelchair — I cannot imagine what she puts up with when no one is within earshot.

Thanks for reading.

And, no, I still don’t know what happened to the lady’s daughter. It’s really bugging me.

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