While sitting in the waiting room of my local Toyota dealership, waiting for my car to be serviced, I thought I was minding my own business. Unfortunately, I was very much mistaken. Everyone in the room was minding someone else’s business, one person in particular.
This was because the woman behind me took and made several calls on her cell phone, very much within earshot of everyone in the room. I found out several things while listening to her. She and her husband are connected to the military. She has at least five Toyotas, mostly Highlanders. She recently paid $40,000 for a wedding. She was supposed to have lunch with someone but cancelled. She lives in metro Maryland. She was very upset about the service she received recently when trying to buy another Toyota. She has been in the area since 1964. And her daughter didn’t sign her new husband up for insurance, yet.
She seemed the sort of person who would very much mind if, under other circumstances, someone were to find out these details of her life. But somehow, in the company of These Strangers, she was comfortable enough to use her phone as if she were simply calling people from the comfort of her own living room. She didn’t keep her voice down, or step out into the hall as I have seen other people do to use their phones. I thought it was very rude of her to take and make her calls within hearing distance of about two dozen people.
These days, more often than not, people think they are all alone in a void or vacuum when on their phones in public. How has that become okay or acceptable? Talking about the ins and outs of our lives for all the world to hear is somehow the unfortunate norm. We are all worried about hacks of social media, major corporations and the like. But somehow, when it comes to individual behavior, the floodgates are open to our personal conversations and therefore pieces of personal information in ignorant and selfish ways as demonstrated by this woman at the dealership.
I want to be aware of my surroundings and connected to those around me, but not in this way, and certainly not to this unwitting degree. In the future, I may start carrying noise cancelling earphones with me in order to “escape” this kind of “it’s all about me” behavior. A shame but a seeming necessity.