The Theatre of the Barely Socially Acceptable, Act 14

07 May 2013
May 7, 2013

Private space, like the telephone booth, has become extinct. People now carry on their private lives as if they were on a public stage. And, most interestingly, they don’t care who hears their phone conversations. This was the genesis of The Theatre of the Barely Socially Acceptable. You might enjoy past acts of drama, culled from Washington, DC’s Metro and other street level amphitheaters.

A hard day at the office, I had a half hour ride home on the Metro before I began my hard night at home (two teenagers, need I say more?). As the train went above ground, the woman to my left immediately dialed her friend.

Yeah, I’m coming for a visit. My grandfather died last week and they’re having a “Celebration of Life” on Saturday. I’m going to buy my ticket as soon as I get home. Yeah, really.

That was sad. I felt sympathetic. My day wasn’t as hard as I thought. She continued.

Oh, guess what? Remember my dad had three strikes? Well, after nineteen years he got out of prison last Thursday. Yeah, he missed his dad’s death by three days.

That’s when I noticed she was talking really loud, like she was in her own house. Most people who exhibit barely socially acceptable tendencies do. That’s when I pulled out my iPhone to begin writing this all down. Despite my proximity to the perpetrator in these cases, they never notice I am hanging on their every word. Usually, I look around to see if I’m the only passenger who’s noticing. Sometimes I make eye contact with others and shrug. Sometimes I say to my fellow observers “She probably doesn’t realize she’s in a public space.” When I do, the person in question never takes note, they are so focused on broadcasting their own lives. She continued.

My family doesn’t understand. They want me to hang out with them after granddad’s funeral. But I wanna go see my dad.

What’s to understand? It’s my dad and he’s been in jail.

Okay, as soon as I buy my ticket I’ll call you. Yeah, bye.

I wonder what my daughters say about me. How many strikes do you think I have? Whatever they say, I hope they say it quietly.

© 2001-2015 Jeff Gates ISSN 1544-4074