Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Private Conversations on the Train


On the train ride in this morning, a Very Important Businessman felt it necessary to conduct a Very Important Business Deal on his phone.  The entire train car was silent except for this guy’s incessant chatter.    

“I’ll circle back with you tomorrow…”

“I’ll make the introduction to the proper investment banker…”

“We can find a solution to fit your needs…”

“I’m an ex-employer, and one of my former employees came to me with that exact issue…”

He was loud.  I felt like he wanted us all to know how Important he was.

Although the train is a public place, so there was technically nothing wrong with him having this conversation, I’m beginning to resent having to listen to people’s private phone conversations everywhere I go.  This man is no exception; it is happening everywhere.  Walking down the street, in the stores, on the trains, on the buses, at the airport.  Everyone is having a conversation with someone who isn’t physically present – often loudly.  People are ending relationships (often tearfully), attending meetings, gossiping, making business deals, catching up with friends and making plans in front of a live audience.

It wouldn’t bother me if Mr. Businessman had been having the conversation in person.  We expect people to have conversations when they are sitting right next to each other.  However, something about the entire conversation being conducted on the phone in front of a train full of people felt so…smug, a clamor to “Look at me, look at me…”  I’m so Important I’m attending a meeting on my way to work; it can’t even wait until I get to the office.  

I suppose people don’t feel embarrassed or awkward to have private conversations in public anymore.  Maybe they should.