Culture clash #2.
Okay, I am now at the Portland, Oregon, airport and waiting for my flight to Japan, so I thought I’d write this up before I forget. I just returned the rent-a-car, boarded the shuttle bus for the terminal, got myself comfortable in the back, and waited for the rest of my fellow passengers.
One of the last to board was a large lady–and I use that term both literally and figuratively. She plopped herself down in the two seats next to me and settled in for the short trip. After everyone was in and the doors locked, we departed. No one was in a chatty mood so the bus was totally silent when the large lady pulled out her cell phone and made a call.
There is a voice we all recognize when the caller is speaking to a message machine and my guess this is what she was doing.
“Hi. Just to let you know that I’m at the airport and everything is okay.” This seemed logical enough. She was letting family know she made it, I thought. But she went on.
“I think the hurt feelings are taken care of and I have no idea what their problem was really. I think it’s just a ‘guy thing’ and maybe it’s because we left them alone for too long. Who knows? But don’t worry about it. I took care of everything and settled all the ruffled feathers. Okay. I’ll talk to you later and have a good day.”
Now I know I am a relatively private person and I never use the cell phone in public unless I can help it, and granted I live a rural life where using a cell phone is a rare event in the first place, but I am not used to people talking on the phone as though no one in their immediate vicinity existed, much less mattered. I noted that the conversation lifted no eyebrows among the other passengers some of whom were male. I tried to make eye contact with someone so we might share the joke, but everyone stared straight ahead.
How is it that people have come to feel they can intrude on your life with their inane conversations on the phone? And why is it we tolerate it? I know. I know. There are worse instances than this one, but I mean really!
My flight leaves at 2:30PM pacific time , headed for more culture clash… Next post from Japan.