|Don't make me do this to your phone.|
I was sitting in the Starbucks café at Barnes & Noble in Nashua NH Saturday, just minding my own business, doing some work. I have a hard time dealing with rude, self-absorbed people so I generally don’t go out on the weekends. Sometimes, though, you just have to get out of the house. So, I try to be understanding of the fact that not everyone shares my belief that inside voices should be quite a bit softer than outside voices. This particular Saturday crowd included what I understood to be a local board game club. I am not the coolest cucumber ever. Actually, I’m quite a bit of a geeky, dorky, weirdo. But THESE PEOPLE – Oy Marie!!! The Social Incompetence Fairy hit them REALLY hard with her not so magic wand that she pulled out of her Dungeons and Dragons game.
It was bad enough that they were really loudly playing board games that sounded quite complicated. Everyone in a 30 feet radius could hear the rules to every game they started and when they switched to a new one because someone didn’t like the way the game was going. I got really excited when I heard a latecomer say he brought “Munchkin.” Of course, I immediately thought of both donuts and little people, and I like both. I was quite disappointed when I turned around and discovered it was just another game. All of this nonsense could have been overlooked until one of these Gonzos decided to start singing. At full volume. Multiple verses of a really dull song I assume he made up. Why has it become such a common thing for people to do everything in public places so LOUDLY and INCONSIDERATELY?
I don’t want to hear about the sadly unexciting dirty things you did with the guy who’s name you can’t quite remember that you, like, met at a bar, and, like, totally could see yourself marrying, even though he, like, said he had a girlfriend, but you’re sure she’s not as pretty as you. And I don’t want to hear about why everyone in your circle is blessed to know you, because you went to a fancy college and can regurgitate all kinds of unoriginal thoughts that you learned in a lecture, as you try to impress your girlfriend’s parents by waxing verbosely about things you clearly know nothing about. I might want to hear about what you ate for lunch, if it was something special. Really though, if I wanted to know any of these things about you, I would add you as a friend on Facebook, because we all know that is what Facebook is for – unedited unsolicited useless information about your peers and people you don’t even know. Most of all, I don’t want to hear ANYTHING you have to say WHILE I AM AT THE GYM.
I don’t care who you are or how interesting your stories are. If I am hauling ass on the elliptical machine, I am trying to concentrate on making it to my goal time with maximum calorie burning impact. I am quite often trying to burn off, in addition to obscene amounts of ice cream and donuts, the anger and frustration from life that built up since I was last at the gym. And, YOU, shouting at your friend next to you about any of the things I mentioned in the prior paragraph, you are rudely disturbing my workout and getting in the way of my becoming calm. How are you even carrying on a conversation? I have to believe you’re not expending much more energy than you would be while walking to your car. I can barely catch my breath when I’m exercising hard, let alone speak. I can shoot angry “Are you kidding me?!” glances towards my workout partner while you’re shouting loud enough that I can hear you through my beat heavy workout playlist. That doesn’t take much energy.
Even more enraging is the cell phone in group-exercise-classes scenario. Everyone forgets to turn his phone off sometimes. It happens in concerts, libraries, meetings, ski slopes (that one surprised me), doctor’s appointments…. Maybe she even left it on purposefully because she can’t spend even five minutes alone with her thoughts. No judgment yet, really! I am an extremely forgiving and understanding individual. You really didn’t just PICK UP that call IN CLASS. Did you? Are you serious? Now I’m angry. Now you’ve not only disturbed my zoned out mush-brained quiet mind with noise that I was going to forgive, but you are forcing me, as if I were a hostage, to listen to your conversation. NO! I protest! I’ve had enough! Is nothing sacred? There are even tables and chairs in the lobby of my gym for meeting and conversing. Go to a damned coffee shop. Go to a bar. Go to the mall. Go ANYWHERE! I don’t care where. Stop ruining my workouts you rude, loud people. I promise it is in both of our best interests and will allow me to be much more understanding when you cut me off on the highway, sing in my café, or sit in the seat where my feet are propped up in an otherwise completely empty movie theatre. Otherwise, you had best hope my friend Elizabeth is there to keep me from kicking you in the head. (True story.)