The Sound of Silence, Part 1

June 15, 2018

Written By


The other day, I was in a medical office waiting room.  On my left was a woman older than me with a cell phone featuring an old-fashioned ring (you know the one: DING-A-LING-A-LING-A-LING-A-LING…) Apparently, the woman has many more friends than I do, because her phone rang loudly and incessantly, and she answered each one in a normal, conversational tone.  I was trying to read a book on the history of the Old Testament.  On my right was a woman in her thirties, who, within a few moments of being seated, cranked up the “Price is Right” game show on her phone. I know it was the “Price is Right,” because she was not using earphones, and I could hear every word: “Sheila Watkins, come on down!!”  Did I mention I was trying to read a book on Old Testament history?  Typically, I need to be in a padded room with earplugs when reading this text, because it’s the kind of book in which you find yourself reading the same paragraph over and over and over again, in order to gain some semblance of what the passage was articulating.  You get the idea.

I don’t expect strict silence when I’m out in public—I really don’t.  But somehow along this cell phone birth and usage continuum, we have lost the basic concept of courtesy when it comes to our public air spaces.  I can’t think of the last time I saw someone actually step out of a room to answer a call.  For most people, the mere presence of a phone in their hands commandeers the rights to the entire 40 square feet of air space around them.  Hard to swallow, I know, but maybe not everyone wants to hear the details of Trudy’s bridal shower while awaiting the doctor.  Maybe not everyone wants to catch Shelia spinning the Big Wheel. This test in Old Testament is not going to go well.

I’d love to hear your own stories.


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Beth Graham

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