T Time

20 Oct

So here’s an etiquette question: Let’s say two guys standing in the middle section of a car on the T (i.e.: not on top of anyone) are having a discussion. Not a loud one so that it’s disruptive to those around them, but admittedly one about a topic that everyone seems to have an opinion about (i.e.: Theo Epstein remaining the general manager of the Red Sox). Do you interrupt and join in on the conversation?

If you’re the random guy who did just that to Todd and I last night, well, I guess you thought there was nothing wrong with this. But Todd and I surely didn’t want to talk to this guy, and we didn’t appreciate his butting in. Were we wrong to act not all that interested in what he had to say? Did we perpetuate the unfriendly image that so many people seem to have of Bostonians? Or were we perfectly justified to not really indulge his desire to add his two cents to our conversation?

Personally, I think the guy should have minded his own business. Call me rude, but we didn’t care what he had to say. We certainly weren’t forcing our opinions down anyone’s throats (the T wasn’t that crowded), and we were amusing ourselves quite well until this guy stood up and joined us. And then he wouldn’t leave us alone! Blah, blah, blah, Theo’s parents won’t let him leave town. Blah blah, I once heard Dan Shaughnessy speak, blah blah blah.

Suffice it to say, the guy was good for something: He gave me something to write about today. But really — am I wrong? Is it alright to butt into someone else’s conversation on the T?

One Response to “T Time”

  1. eeka October 20, 2005 at 3:37 pm #

    Yeah, I’d agree. For a pretty generic/commonplace conversation, you don’t join in. I’ve studied a fairly obscure field, and if someone either sees me with a book or hears me talking and they know something about the field, I generally enjoy having them approach me to chat. If someone sees my book or hears my conversation and is like “ohhh that’s really interesting…what exactly is it?” then I want them to shut up and leave me alone. I’m not your damn dictionary, and I’m guessing you’re also someone who tries to make conversation with several strangers per day.Also, if you witness people having a conversation in a fairly uncommon language that you know, most people tend to find this to be enough common ground for it to be acceptable to join in. This especially seems to be the case when the language is ASL.

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