Today I took my car to the auto mechanic to see about getting my trunk fixed. The repair shop has a quiet room – a place where people waiting on their vehicles can sit without unwanted external noises shoved upon them (auditory assaults like TVs, debates between other customers, the pings and dings and chirps coming from un-silenced computers, etc.). I genuinely appreciate and rather deeply value that this place of business offers a quiet space to wait, to rest. So after I handed my car keys over to the customer service representative, I walked past the violence being shown on the TV in the main lounge, past the two men engaged in verbal combat over opinions about various elected officials, past the computer that was being asked to do too much and was pinging in protest…and entered the small, distraction-free quiet room.
As I opened the door to the quiet room, I was a little startled to see two other people sitting in the space. I come to this shop once every 3-4 months to get the oil in my car changed, and I have never had any company in the quiet room before. So when I saw two college-age guys wearing scruffy jeans, muscle t-shirts, and baseball caps occupying two of the three seats provided, I was surprised. Not bothered or upset, just – surprised. But whatev. It’s cool.
At least, it’s cool until I see that one of the guys is on his cell phone. As I sit down in the chair next to him, he says in a slightly-loud, overly-clear voice, “Two.” After a moment, he then says, “Domestic.” Another pause, then “Reservations.”
Another second passes, then the guy says in an irritated tone, “Representative.” Pause. “Yes, REP-RE-SEN-TA-TIVE. REPRESENTATIVE.” His volume increases with each iteration.
As I pull a magazine out of my bag, the other guy in the room looks at his friend. The guy on the phone then becomes aware of me, and of his own actions; and in the next second, he stands, looks apologetically at me, then quickly walks out of the quiet room. His friend replaces a magazine on the coffee table in the middle of the room, also smiles at me, then leaves as well.
Though we never shared any words (heck, we all barely exchanged glances), I am really, really pleased that the two guys 1) had enough awareness of the situation to realize that I might not want to hear their travel plans, and 2) then took appropriate action – and didn’t just dismiss me, or impose their own agenda over the intention of the space.
The guys never came back to the room; I spent the next 45 minutes alone, reading in silence. Which was nice.
But I do hope their travel plans worked out okay.