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[culture] Scenes from an oncology unit

Gentleman with a booming voice is having a loud, lengthy conversation next to us in the surgical oncology waiting room. After a few passive-aggressive dirty looks from me and calendula_witch, I finally go up to the receptionist and ask if this is a cell-phone free zone as most waiting rooms at OHSU are. He’s unsure, and clearly doesn’t want to be drawn in. I return to my seat and the woman with the loud talker looks at me in disgust and says sarcastically, “Really?

Me: “Yes. This is a pretty quiet place, and his voice carries. It’s quite disruptive.”

Her: “Well, he was having a problem at work.”

Me: “Yes, I know. I heard all of it. But there’s an area down by the elevator lobby for cell phones.”

Her: “He’s quite ill, you know.” (This she tells me in an oncology unit. Ahem.)

Me: “What do you think I’m doing here?”

It’s that weird po-mo etiquette that says objecting to someone’s intrusive cell phone conversation is the height of rudeness, but doesn’t see the intrusive conversation as a problem. She was most put out at my objection.

(The guy was quite apologetic and very nice about it, btw.)

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