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10 September 2007

"Shut up!"

In My Mouth, Toronto, ON, 15-Sep-07

"Just shut up,
shut up!"

Things I saw on the ride home this evening:

A woman using the bus as one would a personal office.

She wasn't particularly well-dressed or arrogant beyond her actions, and certainly didn't have an air of entitlement about her until she whipped out her cell phone. Really, sitting there in one of the long rows near the front of the vehicle, she just seemed like an older woman who didn't quite get technology, but was determined to give it a go.

Then again, maybe she just didn't care. With her phone set to handsfree, she proceeded to check her voicemail, carefully copying the important details onto a sheet of paper in her lap. I, like most other passengers on the bus, simply cast furtive yet wide-eyed glances in her direction. Huh? Wha? Doesn't she want privacy? Is she mentally ill?

It wasn't that she needed both hands -- one to write and one to steady the paper, for example -- with the phone resting on her leg or strapped to her arm or what have you. No, she held the speaker-phone in her right hand while scribbling with her left. Anyway, in a situation where one is on the phone and is using both hands for other activities, one usually clamps the phone between one's shoulder and ear. Bad for the neck, what with the bent head and all, but infinitely more courteous in public spaces.

Perhaps she comes from a culture where forcefully drawing everyone around you into your little world by virtue of loudness is totally cool. In other words, I suppose, she's just like the rest of us gabbing away at full volume, sharing our non-urgent cell phone conversations with any stranger within range. People! We created this beast.

"Does this HAVE to be done NOW?" the bus driver yells, to anyone who will listen. The woman is not one of them.

"Get an earpiece!" he offers, strongly, then shakes his head and keeps driving.

TRACK LISTING: Black Eyed Peas, "Shut Up"