Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Wherein I Grovel and Get Irritated

Since I told my husband that I was going to dedicate my book to Bono, I suppose that I should at the very least dedicate this Writer Wednesday post to him. 

Honey, this one's for you. (And, I already know what YOU would do in the following situation, which is one of the reasons why I love you and married you and had your babies.)

As I sat (kid-free thanks to the wonderful husband I have who works very hard so that my kiddos can go to preschool 3 days a week and give mommy some free time to write - hence the dedication of this post and POSSIBLY my future novel if Bono does something to annoy me, which I doubt) in one of those big cushy chairs at Starbucks this morning, typing  furiously away on the first draft of my book, all of a sudden this dude sits down in the other cushy chair across from me and starts talking RATHER LOUDLY on his cell phone. 

I realize that I am in a public place, and that people are certainly entitled to talk, laugh, make noise, what have you. In times such as these, I usually just pull out my headphones and turn on the music. However, I already had the headphones on and I could STILL hear this guy talking. But that's just it, he wasn't just talking. I believe he was delivering a full on monologue, with hand gestures to boot. 

Not one to be confrontational, I just gave him a few light "Seriously, dude?" glances, hoping he would take the hint and either a) leave or b) move to where I couldn't hear him. No such luck. He continued on with his VERY IMPORTANT, VERY LOUD conversation for another ten minutes. I looked around, to find someone else who might be sharing the same "Really? This guy is serious?" sentiments and possibly somewhere else to sit, but no one else seemed to notice, and the only available seats were outside in the cold. So there I sat in my plush chair, irritated that this person had not only caused me to stop writing, but forget what I had been writing about altogether. 

Has this ever happened to you? What would you do in a situation like this? Would you have asked the person to move? To speak more quietly? Would you have moved yourself outside, exposed to the elements just for the sake of silence? 

On an unrelated note: I finally joined a critique group! I'm VERY excited (and nervous) about it. Hi Jessie, Lois, and Patti!


  1. I probably would have done what you did, and just given him a couple of looks. I'm not one for confrontation. And, good for you for joining a crit group. I think you will find it an extremely valuable experience!

  2. I'm so terrible, I would have listened in and possibly taken notes. Then I would have imagined, in full, colorful detail, who he could possibly be talking to.

    Did I mention I'm nosy? Easily distracted?


    Hope your next writing outing is an improvement!

  3. First, I'm with a writing group, and love and grow everyday! We have become fast friends. Good for you!

    Second, I know what you mean. In my stage of life, I probably would just look at the guy and continue on with what I'm doing. My dad, 84, is slightly deaf and my mom is more, so they do alot of "loud" talking. I just put up with it. :)

  4. Oh yes, I have encountered such inconsiderate persons before. But I am too much of a softee to say anything. But I remember one incident when my boy as 5 he was queuing up to buy some snacks and this guy stepped in front of him in the queue. He apparently told the guy to move to the back. So young yet so brave. I watched him from afar, thinking I should be more like him. :)

  5. This kind of person seems to mechanically follow me where ever I go. Urg.

    I would have done the same thing. But my eyes are probably more piercing than mosts. At least me kids think so.

    Happy to hear you have a critique group, that is awesome news!

  6. Susan - hooray for nonconfrontation!
    Jill - why the heck didn't I think of that? I'm making a mental note to ask him to put the person on speaker phone next time ;P
    Karen - I'm glad that you have a group and that you find them so wonderful! My dad is 52, and he's worked in a sheet metal shop his whole life, so he's a bit hard of hearing as well. This guy looked to be in his late thirties, and I think he only suffered from a mild case of being obnoxious! ;P
    Gaia - I just love that you said "queuing"! And your boy does sound brave!
    Tamika - there is nothing better than "mom eyes". I should try that next time!

  7. I would have stuck with the "surely you can't be serious" look. Confrontation usually isn't worth it. And congrats on finding a crit group. It's one of the best things I've ever done for my writing.

  8. Found your site through a mutual "blog" frind, and I'm already in love! (Must be kindred names? I'm an "Elizabeth") I've been in EXACTLY the same situation as you, and like you, I usually look for help from those around me, sending out those, "oh puh-leeze!" looks to neighbors. I think you were right not to say or do anything, but honestly, what happened to common courtesy?

    Hope you don't mind if I follow along!

  9. Roni - I think you're right, confrontation is usually not worth it...and thanks for the congrats!
    Elizabeth - thanks for your kind words, and you are more than welcome to follow along! I'm on my way over to your site now!

  10. Oh, that's tough. One of my big public annoyances is when I have my son (and am pregnant)and someone thinks it is okay to smoke by us. Usually I just walk away gasping for breath.

  11. I admit I have given people the stink eye for smoking by my small children. It's one thing to be rude by talking too loud and quite another to expose small children to second hand smoke! But usually when people are rude I just suck it up and don't say anything. I wish I could be more assertive sometimes, but I'm not very good at it.

    And congratulations on the critique group!

  12. I go to the library and sit in a desk with three walls. Then I usually have quiet without distractions! That's where I get the most done! But one time there was a man in another desk tittering. Yes, tittering. Even with my headphones on, I could hear him titter every few minutes. I wanted to tell him to turn off his IM or funny youtube and get back to work. But I instead I just moved to a desk further away! :) Guess I wouldn't have handled the loud phone call very well!!

  13. I probably would have moved. But I don't confront people well. :)

    Wonderful news on the crit group!!

  14. I'd have shouted, "Hello? Shut UP. I'm trying to WRITE here."

    I'm kidding. I'd just just frowned and kept quiet. Unless I was PMSing. In which case I might have said, "Thanks. I lost my writing vibe."

  15. Congrats on the writing group!

    What a hard position to be in. I'm very non-confrontational, so I would have held out a while, hoping he'd get up and leave. But I would have stewed the whole time, so by the time I had to give in and go home, I'd have been livid. How did you handle it?

  16. Hey Beth! I'd be surprised if I could have heard him above my music. I like it loud. If I could I probably would have given him the dirty looks like you. I probably would have said something eventually. I think of a bookstore almost as a library. You're not supposed to be loud there.

    Plus. I'm excited to work with you. I hope you enjoy working with me.

  17. I'm against confrontation unless seriously annoyed. And he was invading your space with his super loud voice. He should have had the common sense of taking his conversation out side. Perhaps you could have found a hearing aid ad in some magazine and shown it to him?