Cell Phone Conversations on a Train Ride

I commute to work by train every day and with the rush hour schedule I normally take, the trains are longer hence every passenger is almost guaranteed a seat. The cars are comfortable and quiet, temperature regulated that as soon as the train moves it induces you doze off. Then a weird ring tone chirps a few feet from you and in a matter of seconds a cell phone conversation commences. As your eyes become heavier and drowsiness sets in, you ask yourself the question – will this jerk allow me to sleep?

One time I overheard this guy talking to his wife on the cell about his salary increase, replete with figures and percentages, including this squabble with the HR department about the alleged unfair raise that his boss gave him! How about discussing these things when you get home, dude? In one instance a guy was talking to a colleague about a legal case and he went on blabbering for the entire 30 minutes, talking about the intricacies of the case he was handling. I speculated that he was a lawyer, never obnoxious but boy was he loud and very irritating.

If I get a call inside a packed train and I feel that my privacy is compromised, I will tell the caller that I’m not in a good place to talk and will call back. But I can appreciate the urgency of some calls though. One time I was on the train with a friend who happens to be a recruiter for a talent agency in Toronto. Her job is to call extras and bit players for parts in film shoots and TV shows. She got a return call from one of her clients who was to be a taxi driver in a film shoot and this was the tune of their conversation :

” Thanks for calling back. OK, listen up. Remember do not shave – no denims, no snow boots no bubble jacket. Regular pants, leather shoes, leather jacket is fine. Our Lady of Lebanon church at Queen St at 10am. Got that? “

As she was speaking, I saw all the heads in our train car turning towards her with a befuddled look on their faces as if saying huh? WhoTF is she talking to ? πŸ™‚

She wasn’t trying to show off but had to be frank by force of circumstance ! Talking about show offs, there’s this familiar story a girl told me about this humbug dude back in Pinas who tried to impress a girl and her friend. As the pair were eating at the fast food section of a mall, this guy sat at a nearby table chatting on his cell, talking to someone about his job, his new car and the trips he was planning to take. The braggart was doing what looked like a monologue, indubitably embellishing every twist and turn of his story. At the height of his tall tale, his cell phone suddenly blurts…. rrrrrring…rrrring.. πŸ™‚ Can you figure the look on his face ? πŸ™‚

You see I have long recognized that inside a public transport, there are only three types of cell users :

1. those who turn off their cell when it rings

2. those who are discreet, talk low and fast and try their darnest best to end the conversation quick, or tell the caller to call back

3. those who talk loud, oblivious to the crowd and don’t give a rat’s ass about people hearing the conversation. I generally refer to these people as talking billboards because they seem keen on advertising their trivial pursuits to the world at large

Which are you ? πŸ™‚ Any interesting experiences with other people ?


28 Responses

  1. I’m #2, especially when driving or in a room full of people.

    People who yak on their cellphones while inside a theater pisses me off too..

  2. I am a number 2 guy but quite tolerant for other people using their cell phones all the time..
    Anyway in some European trains there are special spaces for people who want to use their cell phones. It is not allowed to use them outside those spots.

  3. Sngl – here before the show starts people are advised to put their phones on vibrate mode πŸ™‚ Yakking inside the theatre is a complete turn off 😦

  4. For family, I’m #2. For others, I’m #1. I don;t talk while running or walking.

    Ahh, I don’t like those people who’ll purposely tell the whole world how great he is and his life!

  5. Sidnet – that speacial spot for those who want to talk on the cell is a good idea . Here if you want privacy, the train washroom would be the only place to talk but then you’ll piss people who want to use it πŸ™‚

  6. Ipanema – my wife is just a notorious #1 but when she talks, she is a #3! Just couldn’t seem to hold her voice down it seems πŸ™‚

  7. Glad our underground subways can not transmit signals, otherwise their will be contests among the cell phone users and I beleive our hospitals are off signals too in order not to interfer with Medical Equipments and “high tech” gadgets.

    For me it is not an issue, because the only frequent calls I got are the ” this is not a solicitation” and i can’t figure how they got my number,so if the ring is not the familiar assigned ring tone. click off. From Pinas it is mostly Text.

  8. dito sa pinas 1:1 na ang celfone at ang tao kaya halos di na maiiwasan talaga na biglang may katabi ka na nakikipag-usap sa phone. minsan nakakainis nga kaya lagi akong may nakahandang earphone, patugtog nalang ako ng music na gustong gusto ko para di masyadong marinig usapan nila πŸ™‚

  9. I am a proud #1. I don’t take calls in public. Most of the time my ringtone is barely audible in wide open spaces but most of the time, I just don’t like talking while walking or when in public transport.

    When someone else DOES do what riing riing guy did, Me and my friends usually talk really really unusually loud to drown him out. Most of the time they get the hint. πŸ˜›

  10. Vic – you’re right, the subway can’t take signals unless it comes out of the tunnel.. which is great. But with the train, cells always work.. could disturb your sleep πŸ™‚

  11. Iskoo – that’s startling stat.. The no of cell phone users in Phils which is probably around 30 million, is more than the total population of Canada!

  12. Alternati – I know a #1 and he ends up having a full voice mail box .. and has to spend airtime to play back the messages πŸ™‚ He took the VM off.. so now you either catch him or you don’t πŸ™‚

  13. Due to the nature of my work, we’re required to speak English at all times especially inside the company premises. Sometimes when I receive work-related calls while I’m riding a jeepney, I always tell the other person on the line to text me about it. People will still give awkward stares at me although I’m not really showing off.

  14. lol. Sometimes we really have to yell especially if the connection isn’t good. πŸ™‚

  15. Depends on who calls. If I think the call is not urgent from someone not too “important” and I’m currently engaged or with people beside me (eg. elevator, theater, etc.), I put my phone on silent mode but never turn it off. I make it sure to return his call soon though. However, if the caller is my boss, more often than not, I pick up the call immediately and may even stay on the phone for long depends on what he discusses with me but I ensure that my voice is non-intrusive. If I’m in a theater, I step out before I answer the call. That’s our (corporate) culture here eh. You cannot just ignore your boss’ call even on weekends. I’m glad my current boss doesn’t call me on weekends/holidays. I won’t mind if he does anyway.

    Hey, your story about the bragging guy whose phone went ringgg ringgg is funny. Hahaha.

  16. I’m no. 2. Lahat ng mga taga-dito, no. 3. Nakakainis kc di ko maintindihan sinasabi nila.

    BTW, I love your train. Kaya maganda tumira sa North America e… galing ng transportation at infrastructure.

    To answer your question in the previous post, no I haven’t adjusted my glasses and contact lenses yet. I’m reading this book that hypothesizes that wearing glasses only makes your eyes worse… hmmm… may blog about that. For now, I just ask my husband to explain to me what’s happening on TV. πŸ™‚

  17. I also encounter people on the bus who talk loud on their cellphones. It can sometimes be annoying.

    BTW, I tagged you – to name 5 things that you might not want to know about me.


  18. Jeff – quite understandable.. perhaps your office have lots of foreign workers so speaking English is a must. But you know
    what, if the call is of an urgent nature, you just might be forced to converse in English, pasensya na lang sila πŸ™‚ Thanks for the vist.

  19. Ipanema – even if the connection is good, loud pa rin lalo na pag mga amiga ang tumatawag he he πŸ™‚

  20. Abaniko – suffice to say you are #2. I know the feeling if sonething urgent crops up at the office, you are forced to answer the phone, lalo na pag si boss ang nasa linya πŸ™‚

  21. Toe – lahat ba #3? ha ha.. Grabe siguro ang ingay nila πŸ™‚

    Wearing glasses makes it worse .. that’s interesting. I wear reading glasses only – mababa lang ang grado so I have reading glasses in every major corner in my house πŸ™‚ There’s a laser surgery option here which restores the eyesight to 20/20 kaya lang nakakatakot – kasi no room for error talaga !

  22. Niceheart – it is annoying, more so if you want to doze off πŸ™‚ You did tag me? Five lang ba… he he πŸ™‚

  23. there are people who talks loud when answering phone calls because they are not aware of it. perhaps they talk loud to impart to the caller that they cannot hear what the other end is saying. there are people, too, who are unaware of phone manners. but there are those who deliberately talk loud to show up.

  24. I would be #4 – and this is a new category (haha): my phone is always on vibration mode when riding the train. In Japan VM is also called “manner mode.” In trains, people are requested to switch their phones to vibration mode and to refrain from talking on the phone while riding (this is announced in both English and Japanese, so those who do not understand Japanese are not exempted!). In the shinkansen (bullet train), those who want to talk out loud on their phones always leave their seats and go to the area in between carriages, where they will be out of earshot. Try riding the trains here, and see if it doesn’t lull you to sleep. Most of them do (sleep, that is.).:)

  25. Bing – agree, the reception can be one cause but there’s just those people who are inherently loud and couldn’t seem to converse if they tone down their voice ! I guess you can clasify them as lacking in phone manners πŸ™‚

  26. Kathy – wow Japan has cell phone manners on the train ! Maybe we should emulate it here on public transportaions πŸ™‚ But you know the people here very sensistive to the curtailment of their rights and it might be a hard sell. But not a bad idea. If theatres and churches have it, maybe trains should πŸ™‚

  27. I am #2 too πŸ™‚

    Anyway about the anecdote of the braggart…hehe I am guilty of that. Not the bragging of course. I pretend(why? that’s a different story hehe) but I guess I’m wiser than the braggart because I usually turn off my phone or naka silent mode when I do such thing. I never get busted eversince.

  28. Verns – I can understand the “pretend” action.. you were probably escaping someone’s company pretending there was something urgent you had to attend to πŸ™‚ Silent mode really helps πŸ™‚

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