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Old 05-29-2018, 06:05 PM   #16
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Surely them being a little miffed at your no-nonsense request for peace (and being quiet for the two hours) is better than trying to teach them your non-verbal communication techniques for two hours and not getting to read your book?
You're right, and my guess was right that I'm just too polite to tell someone to shut up and leave me alone. And no matter how nicely you word it and sugar-coat it, that's basically what you're telling them and that's pretty much what they'll hear. I'm just not capable of being that insensitive and rude even to a stranger. So I end up being miserable for 2 hours instead of them.
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Old 05-29-2018, 06:28 PM   #17
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I have no control over what someone else hears, only what I say. I feel no responsibility or remorse for someone taking offense where I intended no offense.

"It's been a pleasure meeting you, but I really must get back to my reading now. I enjoy it so much, but find less and less time for it these days. You understand, right?"
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Old 05-29-2018, 07:37 PM   #18
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"I'm sorry, but I'm in the middle of a book I need to finish, and my time on this plane/bus/train is going to be just enough for me to do that."

There is nothing rude or insensitive there. I agree that non-readers do not understand what reading can mean to us. Any more than we understand the "I don't read..." person.

If I had to spend regular time on a plane etc. I would carry and use earbuds for travel times of 30 minutes or more.
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Old 05-29-2018, 08:21 PM   #19
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For the OP, I'd recommend just putting an ebook on your phone and making do with the situation. The fact that you can read during downtime at work is tremendous. That's not allowed in many jobs where there is downtime. You just have to sit there and/or do make-work and "look busy". It sucks, I know. Been there, done that.
That's true. I am grateful for the downtime. First job I had that allowed for it. Might have to revisit phone reading again. I'm just really enjoying the reader right now. I'm currently working through Tad Williams Otherland, Book 3, and it's a beast of a book. Not quite war and peace, but thick nonetheless. I trying to imagine wading through that book with a phone.
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Old 05-29-2018, 08:24 PM   #20
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This is why I almost always have my headphones on when out, and most especially at airports and on planes to block annoyances at the airport and to avoid getting involved in any conversations with strangers on planes.
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Old 05-29-2018, 11:54 PM   #21
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I have run into a few people in waiting-room type situations who apparently had no ability to self-entertain and would ignore all signals and keep talking to anyone nearby because they just can't seem to help themselves. Sort of a toddler-like lack of self-control. I don't know if politely telling such a person "Please leave me alone and let me read my book" would do any good.

I know there is some percentage of people (like the character Sheldon on the sitcom "The Big Bang Theory") who truly do have trouble "reading" other people and would probably respond best to a direct request.

However, I believe the majority of adults are capable of recognizing that if someone barely responds to any attempts at conversation, keeps looking away, checking their watch, reading a book, looking at TV, whatever (basically doing anything but actively engaging in conversation) then this person is NOT interested in having a conversation.
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Old 05-30-2018, 10:26 AM   #22
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I have run into a few people in waiting-room type situations who apparently had no ability to self-entertain and would ignore all signals and keep talking to anyone nearby because they just can't seem to help themselves. Sort of a toddler-like lack of self-control. I don't know if politely telling such a person "Please leave me alone and let me read my book" would do any good.
These are exactly the ones I'm referring to. And to be held captive in the plane seat next to such a person was so frustrating that it was less painful to just put my book away. He was exactly the type that would respond politely to my request, but I'd give him about 3 minutes max before he'd have to start talking again. Some just can't seem to help themselves and must keep talking.

Polite conversations here and there are perfectly fine, even welcome, and even when they interrupt my reading. I'm not the curmudgeonly and unfriendly type that glowers at anyone making contact when I'm in public, if my posts were coming across as that.
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Old 05-30-2018, 11:07 AM   #23
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These are exactly the ones I'm referring to. And to be held captive in the plane seat next to such a person was so frustrating that it was less painful to just put my book away. He was exactly the type that would respond politely to my request, but I'd give him about 3 minutes max before he'd have to start talking again. Some just can't seem to help themselves and must keep talking.

Polite conversations here and there are perfectly fine, even welcome, and even when they interrupt my reading. I'm not the curmudgeonly and unfriendly type that glowers at anyone making contact when I'm in public, if my posts were coming across as that.
I understand. I'm basically a friendly person, but sometimes I want to talk to people, sometimes I don't. I'm sure that was really frustrating to be stuck on a plane where there was no way you could get away from the chatty person.
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Old 05-30-2018, 11:16 AM   #24
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Those types are so uncommon (in my life experience) that it never occurred to me that's what you were talking about. I agree there's not much to be done, there.

But that's neither here nor there when it comes to being straight-up with most "normal" people, or resorting to the signs/signals and non-verbal communication that others are referring to. Signals are too easy to misinterpret; and I don't like to be misinterpreted.

I also wouldn't consider putting headphones/earbuds on just to keep from having to interact with the humans around me--strangers or otherwise. If there's one thing I like more than books, it's people! Makes sense, I guess, since it's the characters/dialogue I enjoy most in books, as opposed to the narrative bits.
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Old 05-30-2018, 12:07 PM   #25
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I have no expectation of privacy in public places. When I don't want people to talk to me, I stay away from public places where people will be. I find the notion that people should want to hang out "do not interact with me flags" in public venues to be a bit ... odd. *shrug*

Don't misunderstand me: I'm not suggesting people shouldn't read in public places. Nothing of the sort. I read everywhere I go, myself (when I actually go anywhere). I'm just not sure it's reasonable to expect the public to honor your "pay no attention to this person behind the book" flag. There is no universally accepted "don't speak to this interesting-looking person in your vicinity" code. There never was.
Whereas I find it strange that conversation (past hello and pleasantries on the weather) would be expected from a stranger in a public place, particularly in regards to public transportation. I expect most people using public transportation to be doing so because they'd can't use private transportation and the fact that it's difficult to remove oneself from a conversation on public transportation means that I should be particularly careful to not force my conversation on someone.

Although my opinion may be biased due to living in a backyardless house full of people. I don't have a private venue to go to where I can reasonably expect no one to try to converse with me (and it's rude to ignore one's family). If I couldn't expect to be left mostly alone when walking through the local park or going to the library, I'd probably go bonkers.
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Old 05-30-2018, 01:23 PM   #26
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Whereas I find it strange that conversation (past hello and pleasantries on the weather) would be expected from a stranger in a public place, particularly in regards to public transportation. I expect most people using public transportation to be doing so because they'd can't use private transportation and the fact that it's difficult to remove oneself from a conversation on public transportation means that I should be particularly careful to not force my conversation on someone.

Although my opinion may be biased due to living in a backyardless house full of people. I don't have a private venue to go to where I can reasonably expect no one to try to converse with me (and it's rude to ignore one's family). If I couldn't expect to be left mostly alone when walking through the local park or going to the library, I'd probably go bonkers.
I might start talking to you if we were in line next to each other at the bank or seated next to each other on public transportation, but if you appeared to be uninterested in continuing the conversation I would shut up.

Usually I can get a pretty good sense if somebody is open to conversation just from their body language - are they are looking around with a smile at the other people nearby, or are they staring straight ahead as if they have blinders on, obviously avoiding eye contact? - you get the idea.

I wouldn't attempt to start a conversation f you were obviously reading, listening to music, doing homework for school, etc.

Some of this is probably regional. I live in the southeastern US where people are generally friendly and will say hi to strangers.
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Old 05-30-2018, 01:35 PM   #27
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Although my opinion may be biased due to living in a backyardless house full of people. I don't have a private venue to go to where I can reasonably expect no one to try to converse with me (and it's rude to ignore one's family). If I couldn't expect to be left mostly alone when walking through the local park or going to the library, I'd probably go bonkers.
Finding a quiet corner of a park, or going to the ("shhh!-is-the-general-rule") library isn't exactly what I would call going "public." You should be able to seek peace in those places. It's the expectation that one should be able to avoid communication altogether while in human-herd situations that I find a bit odd.
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Old 05-30-2018, 02:34 PM   #28
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Even my house was full with 4 kids and a husband, I could go to our bedroom and shut the door when I needed privacy. I remember sitting in the basement by the washer and dryer also, since the kids wouldn't follow me down there.

Needing alone time isn't rude.
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Old 05-30-2018, 02:56 PM   #29
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Even my house was full with 4 kids and a husband, I could go to our bedroom and shut the door when I needed privacy. I remember sitting in the basement by the washer and dryer also, since the kids wouldn't follow me down there.

Needing alone time isn't rude.
I have one friend who kept a portion of his walk-in closet free of clothes. He would go in there for some quiet time and be hidden behind racks of clothes. With 5 kids it was the only place he could get away. The clothes also helped mute everything which was a bonus.
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Old 05-30-2018, 05:33 PM   #30
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I am hard of hearing and I wear hearing aids, I just mute my hearing aids and I hear nothing that is happening around me.
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