Humor & Entertain

That Cell Phone Irritation? It’s Echolalia

Are you troubled by people who blather away on their cell phones in public?

I propose a new medical condition, which I’m calling Cell Phone Echolalia. Cell phone echolalia causes the sufferer to repeat everything a person who is talking on a cell phone in public says, at first in a whisper, but escalating in volume until it becomes a shout.

This is how it plays out:

“I’m on the train,” the person in the seat beside me says.

“I’m on the train,” I echo quietly.

“I’ll be home at around six.”

“I’ll be home at around six,” I echo in normal speaking tones.

“Should I stop for take-out on the way home?”

“Should I stop for take-out on the way home,” I say loudly.

“I don’t know. Moo shoo?”

“I don’t know,” I shout at the top of my lungs. “Moo shoo?”

At which point, the cell phoner will interrupt his phone conversation to demand, “What the hell is wrong with you?”

When confronted by the cell phoner, you say, “I am terribly sorry, but I suffer not only from having to listen to your insipid blather, but from a dire and incurable mental condition known as cell phone echolalia. As long as you are within hearing distance of me and continue to yammer away on your cell, I have no choice but to repeat whatever you say, however boring and banal.

They may continue to protest. Your response?

“I’m not sure why you’re affronted — clearly you think that every word you speak is a pearl of wisdom that everyone around you should be delighted to share. Otherwise, wouldn’t it be incredibly rude for you to inflict your inane chatter on the rest of us?”

Will this cause the cell phoner to come to their senses, apologize for being a source of annoying noise pollution, and put their phone away? If only. These folks are far too addicted to the sound of their own voices to ever behave this sensibly.

However, given that there is no cure for CPE, you leave them with just one option, which is to move, until they’re so far away you can no longer hear them.

Problem solved! (You’re welcome.)

Roz Warren

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22 Comments

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    Molly Stevens

    Finally a medical condition with redeeming social value. I feel a case of echolalia coming over me right now. I think it will be especially noticiable in public bathrooms where acoustics tend to be excellent. I hope there isn’t a group raising money for research to cure this illness, since it helps save us from overhearing idiotic conversations everywhere we go.\\\\\

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    Doreen McGettigan

    I hope this is a contagious condition I need to catch it. It would be funny if it didn’t make me so mad. I wouldn’t even mind if the phone call seemed urgent but the ridiculous drawn out nothing conversation is so annoying!

  • Avatar

    Doreen McGettigan

    I hope this condition is contagious, I would like to catch it. There is nothing more annoying than a long drawn out nothing conversation. I could even excuse if it sounded urgent. It would be funny if it didn’t make me so mad!

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    WendysHat

    This is awesome! I am in shock over humanity half of the time myself! I can’t even imagine doing this. Ha ha ha!

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    Carol Cassara

    I would so love to do that. It is incredible how rude people are and how little I want my little bubble disrupted by their to-go order.

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    Mickey

    We wish. But thank you, yes, we’d love for them to move! away! out of our hearing range! Sigh. What a world. Thank you, Roz. I love your articles and my library has two copies of Our Bodies, Our Shelves. Yea, hip, hip, hooray! Now if I can just get them to take Borat off the shelves. Ack!

  • Avatar

    Mickey

    We wish. But thank you, yes, we’d love for them to move! away! out of our hearing range! Sigh. What a world. Thank you, Roz. I love your articles and my library has two copies of Our Bodies, Our Shelves. Yea, hip, hip, hooray! Now if I can just get them to take Borat off the shelves. Ack!

  • Avatar

    Stacia Friedman

    I once tried a similar ruse. I was on the train and a woman seated behind me was blathering into her cell. So I held my hand to the side of my face as if I had a cell phone (I did not) and began speaking in a very LOUD voice. Of course, this only caused everyone else on the train to give me a dirty look. But, for a nano second, I felt victorious.

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