Monday, July 10, 2006

Cell phones don't kill people...

...but I've gotta admit to being sorely tempted to bop many a chatterer on the noggin.

Case in point:

Following the 4:45 PM Mass today, people as usual prayed the Rosary. As it progressed, some other people drifted in, anticipating the Monday Spanish Mass scheduled for 6:00 PM.

As the fifth decade began, a phone rang. Now, this isn't all that uncommon, I know, nor it is generally intentional. What usually happens is, the phone owner, looking abashed, either stops the ring or, if he can't, scoots out of hearing range to turn the thing off.

Not today!

Today, the lady calmly answered her phone and proceeded to walk around the chapel, evidently enjoying her chat, explaining to her caller that she was in church, awaiting the 6:00 Missa. The people praying the Rosary — including yours truly — faltered, staring at the woman in disbelief. Finally she concluded her conversation and we figured she'd turned her phone off.


A few seconds later, it rang again, and again, the chatter started. Somebody — it wasn't a priest, there weren't any in the chapel — finally asked her to knock it off, which she did.

I'm fairly sure most people would agree that such behavior in a church is idiotic, to say nothing of rude. But as I walk around the crowded city, it seems that I'm constantly confronted by conversations I really don't want to hear. Today, for instance, I was allowed to overhear a businessman's rather uncomplimentary characterization of his secretary, a girl's graphic description of her boyfriend's — er — "assets" and a woman cursing out somebody...I walked as fast as I could before I was treated to the presumed cad's identity.

I can walk, but I can't seem to hide.

Every where I go — side streets, main streets, shopping areas, coffee shops, you name it — the ubiquitous presence of other people's one-sided conversations surrounds me.

I don't know. People complain about second-hand smoke. My beef is second-hand banality.

Is this just a Boston thing, I wonder? And am I being unreasonable?