Making a spectacle of yourself has become the norm with people sharing their private lives in public.
In 2008 people used to step away to speak privately when they got a call, today they just talk in your face. Mobile phones have entered us into the era of creating a world of our own, where we are the centre of the universe. In this universe you are the recipient of this authority of self-importance, therefore anything you do is essential to everyone and we must listen to you while you tell us all about it.
Without bothering to lean over or lower his voice, the bloke at the next table says to the woman he’s seated with, “You and I should have run away years ago”. Opposite, a man in a business shirt is conducting what sounds like an important sales meeting via the loud-speaker of his mobile phone. In the same city cafe, another audible morsel of private affairs wafts from a table in the corner as a girl practically yells to her friend: “Does she know how close you two are?”
On public transport a few days earlier, a young woman passenger shared her current salary and her desire to quit and go back to university with the entire back half of the bus. These days it’s hard to be in any public place without being the unwitting recipient of an intimate detail. We’ve all become eaves-droppers in an era where society’s mute button has ceased to work.
There’s a general trend now with ordinary people to reveal their personal life in public. There’s a real shift in people’s idea of privacy and what’s acceptable in public. It’s the convenience of having the mobile phone at hand that is stopping people from thinking about their level of discretion. Privacy is so public nowadays. One of the reasons for this may be the influence of reality TV, where making a spectacle of oneself is commonplace.
These public mobile phone talkers enjoy being in the conversational limelight. They must look busy, important, and in charge. Their public conversations are filled with overstated stories of their success, either real or implied.
There are far more easy pickings now for the avid eavesdropper than ever before. For some people, eavesdropping may be a more entertaining past-time than listening to the iPod. You’ll probably find that there are people with their earphones in pretending to listen to music, when they’re actually dropping in on conversations. It’s a smorgasboard out there!