I’m from way back. I’m talking BCP (Before Cell Phones). In those days, we didn’t know what other people were talking about on the phone with their friends, family and business associates. It was a beautiful, almost utopian existence. I assumed most people liked other people.
Since the inception of cell phones, I have overheard exactly a gazillion and a half phone calls in public places, and my perception of mankind’s relationship with mankind has changed drastically. Here’s what I have learned. People think most other people are assholes! There’s just no other way to put it. People on cell phones are incessantly complaining about someone else with the other person they are talking to. Here’s a list of the types of people that people are annoyed with, and for some reason, said people feel the need to talk about their annoyance in a public place on a cell phone using a ridiculously loud voice:
- The Coworker – Somebody is not doing their job or is sucking up to the boss or is wearing something inappropriate at work. “Oh My God,” is used a lot in this conversation. According to the person I hear talking, everyone knows that this person is a complete loser except the boss, and it is really beyond comprehension as to why the person still has a job.
- The Boss – This person of annoyance is very similar to the coworker except the most often used phrase here is “he (or she) doesn’t have a clue.” The company is destined to fail with this person in a management position, and the person on the phone is convinced the way to get ahead is to be totally incompetent. Occasionally, the annoying coworker will make an appearance in this phone call, as well.
- The Significant Other – Everyone is apparently upset with their boyfriend or girlfriend or husband or wife, etc. This phone call will include the phrase “I am so pissed off at him (or her) right now.” Something usually really inconsiderate is at the basis of most of these conversations. He or she didn’t call. He or she invited somebody over without consulting with the person I hear talking. He or she always takes their mother’s side. This call may even include a few tears. This category also includes “The Ex.”
- Children – This one’s fairly rare, but occasionally I will hear a caller complain that one of their kids is a jerk. This will include a groan followed by a brief hesitation followed by the question “Am I such a bad mother (or father)?” This call will definitely include tears unless the person is talking about their sibling’s children, then they will openly talk about what a horrible job their sister or brother did raising their kids, and use the phrase “They are such bad parents.”
- Family Members – There is very little tolerance of family members. Callers will frequently complain about how depraved, stupid, slutty, skinny, overweight, drunk, etc someone in their family is. “We can’t be related” or “He (she) has to be adopted” is a popular phrase in these phone calls. No tears are shed here. On the contrary, a lot of cruel jokes are doled out at the expense of their relative.
- Customer – An angry customer came into the caller’s place of work, and really ruined his or her day. “I felt like punching him (or her),” is usually the phrase that pays here. “Where does he (or she) get off…” may also be used. This conversation is usually the loudest of them all. People seem to think that angry customers are the worst human beings on the planet, even if they agree that their complaint was legitimate.
- Me – People are really annoyed that I stare at them during their phone calls. “Hold on, I think this guy is listening to our call,” is what you will most likely hear in this scenario. You know why? Because, I am listening! You’re talking like you’re alone and the other person is in a wind tunnel. Take it outside if you don’t want me to hear! Otherwise, I’m going to eavesdrop and try to catch every word.
I’m sorry. Do I sound annoyed? Well, I guess that means I belong to the human race. On a related note – Society has managed to find away to make waiting rooms even less pleasant.