The Theatre of the Barely Socially Acceptable, Act 6

30 Oct 2004
October 30, 2004

It’s been an intense week. The election polls are bouncing all over the place. Osama, through his privately funded 527 Organization broadcasts his own election ad. And a bunch of ragged federal workers make their way home on the DC subway. This latest act of The Theatre of the Barely Socially Acceptable is based on a real cell phone conversation I heard on the way home yesterday. A bizarre ending to a surreal week.

Hi Dr. Meyer. This is Frank Wilhouse.
I know it’s late Friday afternoon
So I appreciate you taking my call.

Yes, well my wife and I were talking with Scott.
He was having sexual conversations with this girl from school.

Yes, we told him that.

I’m on the subway right now.
I’m going to confront him.
Well, not really confront him.
That’s not exactly the right word.
I’m going to have a talk with him about this.
My wife Marion is already there.

Yes, he’s been taking his Zoloft.
We make sure of it.

No, there’s no confrontation.
He takes it.

Yes, we stand there while he swallows it.

But he’s been talking to this girl
about this other girl from school
who committed suicide.

Ok, yes. I can do that.
I’ll tell my wife. I’m sure she will too.

Well thanks Dr. Meyer. Thanks for taking my call.
Have a good weekend.
Oh, and don’t forget to vote.
Yeah, I hope so too. Thanks.

• • •

Previous Barely Socially Acceptable Acts.

3 replies
  1. Ray says:

    I love it when you post these things. It’s interesting to read about the stuff you accidentally overhear. I can’t believe some people talk about that stuff in public. I’ve not grown up riding public transportation, so maybe I’m just not used to it. Is this something that happens all the time?

  2. Jeff says:

    The people around him weren’t used to it either. All of us kept looking at each other with raised eyebrows.
    This is something that happens more often than you would expect (or appreciate). People just have no sense of public/private space. And the line between someone talking into their cellphone to a real person on the other end of the line and one who is talking to truly unseen (and unreal) persons is very thin.
    The other day a woman was standing in the Metro talking about all sorts of marginal things. Now, these days that is more normal than you would think. It took me a while to realize she wasn’t talking on a cell phone.
    I watched two women, obvious out-of-towners, observing her as well. After the woman got off the train I turned to them and said “We all talk like that on the subway.” They laughed and one said “I noticed you were writing everything down.”
    I can’t get away with anything anymore.

  3. Ray says:

    I think that’s what I was trying to get at but really didn’t know how to say it. “People just have no sense of public/private space.” Living in a large metro area, having people all around you all day, do you just lose that sense of public/private? What other kinds of things do you see on the subway in public that most people would normally do in private?

Comments are closed.

© 2001-2015 Jeff Gates ISSN 1544-4074