Dear Urban Diplomat: Am I a jerk for making business calls on the GO train?
I have a lot of clients in different time zones, so I often hop on Skype calls during my GO train commute. I always use a headset and speak quietly, but recently I’ve been getting a lot of dirty looks. A couple of passengers have even told me to keep it down. What gives—am I breaking some unwritten rule? If not, how do I deal with these self-righteous shushers?
—Scarborough Expresshhh!, Port Union
Normally, I’d reprimand you for flouting well-known transit etiquette: no calls during commutes. GO trains, however, have quiet zones on the upper floors for riders who’d rather nap, read or crush their candy in peace, so their expectations of library-level silence are a tad unreasonable. That doesn’t change the fact that your Type A business-speak is beyond annoying for Type Zzzs—or give you permission to smugly direct the teeth suckers upstairs. If you really are being quiet (and I have my doubts), ignore the cut-eye and, the next time someone gives you verbal grief, politely apologize, promise to keep your voice down and go back to synergizing actionable results—or whatever it is one does on a business call.
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