On numerous occasions, I’ve been on the phone with someone, and after we end our conversation, they fail to hang up, resulting in me being able to hear what is going on on their end of the phone. I never know whether I should keep listening or hang up, especially if they are unaware that they are being listened to, which always seems to be the case. One time, I got a call that was clearly a butt dial from my cousin who was in his therapist’s office! I was voyeuristically intrigued, of course, but after a minute or two, I felt too creepy to continue listening.
What is our aural obligation when it comes to listening in this way?
Now hear this
Why doesn’t this ever happen to me? I would love to listen in on someone else’s therapy session! That would be simply divine. Don’t judge. Truth be told, you probably would too if there was no chance of getting caught. Or maybe I’m the only Gladys Kravitz among us. Google it.
I believe your decision to hang up was morally sound, if not personally disappointing to me. I also (begrudgingly) believe that we are aurally obligated to give people their privacy. However, since my computer now shows me ads for something I mentioned while walking in the park with my phone off, it seems like these days, someone is always listening!
I am a retired gentleman who enjoys taking walks for exercise and relaxation. I have noticed, however, that younger people do not make eye contact to exchange a simple greeting when we pass each other, as was the norm back in the day. Sometimes they are simply looking down at the ground, but often they are looking at their phones.
As I use a walking stick for balance, I am wondering if it would be acceptable for me to use it to whack them upside the head to encourage them to make eye contact. I worry that they might take it the wrong way. Please advise. Thank you.
Whack-a-do or whack-a-don’t?
Be my guest! I wish you would!
Just kidding – sort of. While I admire your violent tendencies, I cannot officially sanction them. So, instead, I recommend you kill them another way – with kindness. Just say hello so loudly and pointedly that they can not possibly play deaf. If they have earbuds in though, fuggedaboutit. If you do this to every person you pass and get even a 40% response rate when competing with cell phones, I’d say you’re doing very well.
If, on the other hand, you find this approach too gentle, there is always the AARP division of World Wide Wrestling. (There isn’t really, but shouldn’t there be?)
I am trying to downsize and channel my inner Marie Kondo. So far, not so good. I’m a little bit of a collector and a little bit of a sentimentalist. Over the years I‘ve been paring things down, but one of the hardest things to get rid of is my albums (dating myself, I know). I haven’t played one in decades (don’t even have a turntable anymore!) but each and every one holds within it a treasure trove of memories. While they are bulky and heavy and I feel that I just can’t keep them, I am also too lazy to sell them, even though I know they have come back into vogue. Please help me figure this one out!
For the record
Dear For the record,
You know what they say, we spend our first 50 years accumulating stuff and the next 50 years trying to get rid of it! I feel your pain. Parting with objects is such sweet sorrow. Shakespeare really got it.
Here is my thought for you. Go through your records one by one and photograph the album cover of the records that really mean something to you. When you are done, give them away, print the pictures and make an album … of albums! It’ll cost you the price of two or three new records, will weigh about two pounds and will take up the space of a hardback book.
Then you can flip through them any time, remembering who you slow-danced with to Let’s Get It On, and relive your youth. If you want to hear any of the music, you can do it with two taps on your phone. I know it isn’t the same as stacking four albums on the needle so you can make out with someone and not have to get up to change the record (Köln Concert was good for that: a 26-minute side!) but, times, they have a-changed. Give them away, lighten your load, and bring the ‘70s or ‘80s or ‘90s back anytime you want. Just leave the leg warmers, the cowls, the gauchos and the shoulder pads in the dustbin of history where they belong!
Dear Gabby appears in the RoundTable every Monday. Yes, Gabby is an advice columnist – but not just any advice columnist. Because that would be boring! Gabby combines wisdom with wit. And a pinch of snark. She is not a trained therapist by any means, but has seen and loved many in her day. Her aim is to make you think while she makes you laugh. Gabby welcomes all questions and queries and is only too happy to hear your opinion, no matter how much it may diverge from hers. Write to Gabby at email@example.com.
These columns make me laugh! To the woman with the record collection—I recently got a turntable and might be interested in purchasing some if they are reasonably priced. You can also try to donate them. Younger folks are really into albums because they are so retro!
Hi Gabby, I agree with Whack-a-do or whack-a-don’t that it’s odd when passing other walkers if they don’t say hello or even smile. I walk a dog in my neighborhood, and make eye contact and say hi to everyone I pass. It’s just polite.