Okay, I’m back. It’s ’bout time, you say? Yes, it is.
So, think of all the places where people don’t talk, either by tradition or by regulation, and you’ll NEVER guess where I was told I was talking too loudly on my cell phone today. Never!
Let’s see…we have the library where people study, right? I always think of “Marian, the Librarian” from the “The Music Man,” when I think of not talking in libraries.
Then there are doctors’ offices. Many doctors’ offices have little signs that say “Please don’t use your cell phone.” There’s a good reason for those signs. Sensitive electronic equipment can be thrown off by the signals cell phones emit.
Same goes for airplanes while they’re taking off and in flight. You wouldn’t want to cause a pilot error leading to a crash of the plane you’re on, would you? Of course not.
School. Whether it’s elementary or graduate school, teachers don’t want to be interrupted while they’re getting across the multiplication table or the table of elements.
All of these make sense. Now, we have elevators. By tradition, people don’t talk at all on elevators. I always like to shake things up a bit and say something to someone when I’m riding in an elevator. Just makes it seem like more fun to me. Sometimes I get strange looks, sometimes I don’t. Who cares anyway? (I don’t, obviously).
Music and theater goers don’t want to be interrupted by your son calling you to say he’s been arrested for drunk driving. Nor would they be happy to know that your daughter is pregnant and her boyfriend left her when he found out the news. Nope. Silencing your cell phones while you’re in a public venue only makes perfectly good sense.
If you’re a bank robber planning a heist, it would be best not to advertise it during your ride on the subway. However, other than that, go ahead and talk while you take the train to work. Everybody does it anyway, right? Right.
And so, my dear readers we get to today. I needed to get a letter stating my Social Security benefits, so I headed on down to the local Social Security office this afternoon. Never mind that I was having a very difficult time breathing this afternoon and had to stop five times between the parking garage and the SS office. And SS office it surely was. I pop on in, grab a number and go to the corner to rest my eyes until my number is called.
At some point during my little rest, I decide I’ll call a friend who’s also been ill and see if she’d like to go to dinner. There I am, peacefully minding my own business and talking to my friend when the guard calls out, “You’re talking too loud. Go out in the hallway if you want to talk that loud.”
My mouth dropped open in amazed perplexity (is that a word? If not, I just coined one). I told my friend I had to get off the phone. I called back to the guard, “What do you mean I can’t talk on my cell phone. This is the Social Security office for goodness sake.”
“If you watch that screen, you’ll see the rules,” the burly and surly guard mutters.
“Oh, so I’m supposed to watch the screen, which I can’t see from my seat, to find out that I’m not supposed to talk any louder than you can hear me on the phone, is that right?”
“That’s right,” he said, unapologetic. “This is a federally-controlled office.”
“Oh, so now you’re telling me that this is a federal office I may be committing a felony and have to go to the penitentiary, all because I was talking on my cell phone?,” I call back to him.
At this point, I collapse in laughter, as do most of the people in the room – all except the guard that is.
And blessed be, my number was called right after that. I told the guy behind the wall about the incident, and he thought it was hilarious. I also told him I now had a subject for my blog today and gave him the web address for it. So, if you’ve stopped by, Mister guy behind the wall, I hope you had a good rest of the day and that the laughter I brought into your life made it all seem worthwhile.
After all, laughter is the best medicine, isn’t it? And now, I’m sorry, but I’m off to write my Congressman about this very important issue to see if there’s anything he can do about the rule saying you can’t talk while you’re waiting in the Social Security office.