DEAR MISS MANNERS: The sense of private space seems to have changed radically over the last several years. Everyone now seems so intent on texting, but there is still the person on public transportation who is yelling at his ex-wife about child support payments.
I don't think all of us on the bus need to hear about this. But the presumption seems to be that we are politely to pretend we are not hearing this. Any intervention, suggesting this might be better dealt with in the privacy of one's home, is treated with hostility.
Is pretending not to hear still the preferred mode?
GENTLE READER: Yes and no. Eavesdropping is indeed rude, but Miss Manners suggests that you recast your objection as a warning to someone in danger.
And people who air their legal complaints or other delicate private business in public are in great danger. For all that caller knows, his ex-wife's lawyer is two seats back on the bus, alerted to the opportunity to add a harassment charge to reopen the divorce settlement. Or the child in the aisle is a classmate of one of his children who may use the information for taunting.
You may therefore attempt to catch the caller's eye, give him a sympathetic look, and wave your hand to indicate all the people who may be listening to the conversation.
Mind you, Miss Manners still thinks it less trouble to move to the back of the bus. Or to get off, if the commotion occurs within reasonable distance of your stop.