As long as I can remember observing the phenomenon, the “act” of listening to someone talk on a cell phone has annoyed me.  On the other hand, unless the participant voices are overly loud or grating, listening to two people talking in a cafe rarely bugs me–in fact, it’s often good ambience for writing.  (Especially at a place like The Underdog Cafe, where it has been scientifically proven that 99.23% of all conversations are exceedingly intelligent.)  But I find overhearing half a conversation irritating.

As far as back as when cell phones first became the fashion, my theory has been that the act of hearing one side of a conversation forces my brain to fill in the other side of the conversation.  I can’t not guess at what the other person is saying.  I don’t think it’s exclusive to writers, but maybe writers (thinking about dialogue in a very intentional way) are more susceptible to this irritation.  I’ve told friends about my theory over the years; they can back me up here.

Turns out I was right, that’s just the reason it’s maddening!  Cornell University researchers found this to be true.

I love being right, even if it confirms a reason for something that I’ve always hated.  Yes, I said hated.  However, being that I am human, and therefor a hypocrite, I own a cell phone.  And have talked upon it.  I try not to have conversations where there is a captive audience–usually I go to a hallway or go outside, away from other people.  Partially because I value privacy (so why do I blog?  Hmmm…) but also because I know how irritating it is to hear others’ conversations.

Just trying to do my part to be a good, community-minded citizen.

But I do love being right.

6 thoughts on “I was right!

  1. Russ, I don’t know. Maybe there’s a link at the top of my blog? I’m a luddite, after all, dear.

  2. I think blogging is very private, it feels like a conversation with yourself, and when someone does respond to what you are saying, it is almost a surprise. Maybe that is only my own experience with blogging. To Russell, most browsers have the option to subscribe to the page you are reading.

  3. Nita, I didn’t know you had a blog! I will have to look for it. I think there is that strange (clearly false, but convincing) feeling of typing on the screen as if it’s private, so there’s more room for a sort of introspection, or confessional. But of course that’s a facade. Anyone I know or don’t know could be reading this. Strange, again, I keep coming back to the weird flip-flop of public and private, and how that’s all been blown up over the past decade and a half…

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