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Cellphones and Starbucks
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Yesterday on my way home I decided to stop at Starbucks for a nice big iced tea on a hot day. Instead of driving through, I thought I'd break out the Kindle and read at the coffee house for a bit.

At first, it was quite pleasant, sitting on the mini-terrace and watching the traffic flow by, people walking up to the front door, not thinking about much at all. Very relaxing after an intense day.

Then just behind me (chairs were back-to-back) a cellphone blurped its annoying hip-hop excerpt, and the guy behind me started to talk. Loudly, as if he were trying to be heard in the parking lot to the north of us (people do that on cellphones, I've noticed, as if they were talking to someone physically far away).

It was very disconcerting. Half of a conversation is much more distracting than a whole conversation, which can subside into the background murmur. I found myself filling in the missing pieces of the conversation during the times he was silent (which weren't very long), and unable to concentrate on my book.

I can think of two solutions: I could have come equipped with ear buds and music player--or he could have toned it down, cut it short, or moved away from his table, while still keeping an eye on his laptop.

Karma struck about half an hour later, though, when another coffee consumer spilled his drink on the laptop's keyboard.

Sometimes these things just work themselves out.

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