So that’s how I recently found myself talking on my phone in the middle of a toy store while my three-year-old was waist deep in Playmobil boxes. As much as I wanted to have this conversation anywhere but here, I was a bit stuck. I'd been trying to get ahold of my son's teacher for days so I had to take her call.
When I hung up another mom looked at me, smiled and said, “School troubles?” I felt embarrassed, like my privacy had been invaded. I politely said, “Something like that,” before moving to a different part of the store. Later, the woman found me in the store and apologized for eavesdropping on my call.
I thought about this woman’s intrusion and then her apology. I couldn't tell who was rude, me for being on the phone or her for listening. So much of life now is lived in public. It's hard to tell what should remain private. Clearly, some rules are in order.
Here, 10 conversations that should never happen anywhere but in private:
1. The results of your latest pap-smear. Or any conversation that involves the word “pap-smear.”
2. The time you ask for a divorce. (Maybe don’t even do that by phone at all.)
3. The story of a friend’s divorce. You never know which other friends are listening.
4. The story of that late night party you went to and the crazy stuff that went on. (Crazy party stories are better left in college or in private.)
5. Asking advice of a friend on constipation, yeast infections, or any other bodily function.
6. Breaking up with a friend. (An email is rude enough. A public cell phone call is tragic.)
7. The conversation about your child’s medication. (Would you want your kid to tell the whole world about yours?)
8. The call where you try to get an appointment for a bikini wax, which always involves explaining which kind of bikini wax you want. No stranger wants to hear you say, “Take it all off!”
9. A desperate or depressed call to your therapist. (Do it in your car like the rest of us do.)
10. A call with your son’s teacher whom you desperately need to speak to if you’re standing in a toy store and a super nosy, but apologetic lady is standing nearby!