Moral dilemma is not quite the words I want. Perhaps overheard cell phone conversations dilemmas is more apt (but a much longer title).
I try NOT to listen to the halves of the often loud cell phone conversations going on around me. Despite the publicness of the discussion, it is still a “private” matter between two people on a phone. Just like I don’t try to hear conversations swirling around me even with all the discussionists present.
Sometimes it’s hard not to. The conversationalists’ voices are loud, the topic interesting, a game can be made of one sided cell phone conversations: what is the other person saying/responding.
Today, on the train ride home, there was a young woman sitting at the end of the sideways bench closest to the door. She was obviously upset; she was sniffling and trying to hold back a sob.
After a couple of phone calls, she sighed and “dialed” another number. After a preamble, she said “Don’t tell anyone, but I’m pregnant. I just found out. I don’t know what I’m going to do. I can’t handle this. I just want to kill myself.” I don’t know the response (perhaps she was leaving a message?), but what I thought was her listening to the other person, was actually silence as the call had ended.
I felt like I should slide down the bench and say something. But everything I thought of would sound weird or trite coming from a stranger who had been eavesdropping. I hadn’t intended to listen – her tearful, distressed voice caught my ear.
As I stood by the door, waiting for the train to stop at my station, she was looking down, fiddling and fidgeting with stuff in her purse. I mentally sent her good thoughts that things would be okay. Trite thoughts I know. She hadn’t asked for my help; perhaps I should have given it anyway.