Thursday, May 20, 2010

More Than You Ought to Know

One of the (many) things that drives me up the wall is cell phone conversations to which I become an unwilling party. You know what I mean ... the person next to you on the bus, or sitting a few seats away in a restaurant, or walking down a busy street who just has to have that very personal cell phone conversation right now this minute, regardless of the location and the secondary audience.

In this regard, I believe that cell phones (also known as mobiles in the UK - thanks, craziequeen! - or handies in Germany) are truly the devil's spawn. There's no more quiet, no more privacy, no more sense of the appropriateness of having a conversation the rest of the world probably ought not hear.

I wrote here long ago about the conversation I overheard in a gate area at Reagan National Airport here in Washington, in which an older man was loudly berating a distant person at his proctologist's office because he couldn't get an appointment at the time he wanted. That was way more information than any of us needed.

Yesterday, I heard a conversation that beat that one.

I was on the Metro coming home, and sitting across the aisle from me was a fellow who was obviously visiting the local area. He had a booming, stentorian voice that carried to every corner of the car, and he treated his fellow riders to an unbroken series of business and personal calls that included one call to a local hotel to make a reservation. He thoroughly quizzed the hotel representative about rates and availability of rooms, and then booked his room - including providing the full number and expiration date of his credit card to everyone in the car.

How stupid can you be? It's not bad enough that this inconsiderate buffoon forced the rest of us to listen to his conversation, but he also broadcast his credit card information to the world. Had I been of a mind to write it all down, I could have by now financed my retirement at his expense...or at least bought myself a lot of new books and DVDs. And it wouldn't surprise me at all if someone weren't already doing that - after all, no one in that car could possibly not have heard that number.

Cell phones, used properly, are a wonderful thing. But if you choose to let the rest of the world in on your conversations, don't be surprised if we take it poorly. And if you are stupid enough to expose deeply personal information to people who may not have your best interests at heart, well, you will eventually get what you deserve.

Cell phones. Please use them judiciously.

I don't need to know your proctologist or your credit card number.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.



Amanda said...

Back when Aaron was a baby we had lots of sleepless nights. To our amusement, some new, but dodgy people, moved into the house across the road from us. One of the men there used to be on his handphone throughout the night and he used to do this from outside his front gate. We learnt a lot of 'colourful' Chinese words from this guy.

At least it made the nights more interesting for us....

KKTSews said...

My nutty SIL has a scanner and listens in on people's cell phone calls. Once I learned that was possible, I made sure I kept the content of ALL my calls, not just those made in public, of a nature that could be shared with complete strangers. I never give my credit card info along with name and address over a cell phone.

Leslie David said...

You could use his credit card number when you make an appointment with his proctologist...I know what you mean--i try to keep my cell calls to a minimum in public--I go outside the office because no one there needs to hear my personal business. Other people will just assume I'm crazy and talking to myself. :0

Mike said...

You missed an opportunity. After collecting all his personel information you could have gone home, turned on the shopping channel and started ordering things for HIM.