The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: Reading during a live concert is rude and disrespectful — like knitting, texting or checking email. Don’t do it. | April 26, 2012

By Jacob Stockinger

So there I was last Saturday afternoon, in the small and intimate Morphy Recital Hall listening to the three winners of the 27th annual Beethoven Sonata Competition – the Bagatelles also can be entered — at the University of Wisconsin School of Music.

Three talented students – one undergraduate and two graduate students – were playing three difficult and famous Beethoven sonatas. They had some slips, but each played very well with fluency and an understanding of the music.

Aelin Woo (below) played the dark and dramatic  Sonata in D Minor, Op. 31, No. 2 “Tempest.”

Jonathan Thornton (below) played the Sonata in E Major, Op. 109, with its sublimely soulful theme-and-variations final movement.

And Sung Ho Yang played the mammoth “Hammerklavier” Sonata, in B-Flat Major, Op. 106, perhaps the Mount Everest of the piano repertoire because of its length and its gnarly fugue in the last movement.

Mind you, these were students — not seasoned or veteran performers. They needed all the focus, concentration and calm they could muster. And they needed attentiveness from the audience.

But they weren’t getting any help from one woman who sat right in front of me.

For most of the 90 minutes of actual playing, she carefully read an issue of The New Yorker Magazine, folding the pages and underlining passages with a ballpoint pen (below).

That shows good taste in reading.

But it also shows bad taste – very bad taste – in concert manners and etiquette. She should know better – and probably does.

Not only might she have distracted the performers who were close by on stage. She also clearly distracted several people in the audience sitting near her who commented to me—but not directly to her.

I understand their reticence. After all, I too did not talk directly to her, even though she was only a row in front of me.

For the same reason, you will see in the photo below that I did not show her face but just her companion — who also induced the rudeness and didn’t apparently say anything to her about the offensive behavior — looking at an ad in The New Yorker during intermission. And I did not try to get her name.

I am more interested in correcting or, better, preventing the behavior than in embarrassing the violator.

Now, this is not the first time such intrusive rudeness has caught the attention of The Ear.

Quite a while ago, I wrote a blog posting that was critical of a woman who sat in the front row of a concert and knitted. Then I did the same thing about people who checked e-mail and texted during a theater performance.

I think they should be kicked out – that is, politely but firmly asked to leave – unless they are willing to pay attention and be polite.

I think most readers agreed with me that such behavior is indeed rude and out-of-place.

If you go to the concert, you should listen to the music.

If you want to use music as background, stay home, put on a CD and knit or read your magazine.

And if you don’t want to go to a concert to hear the music, then stay home or go somewhere else.


But, with a few exceptions — such as the outdoors Opera in the Park, which is loud and asks audience members to text in donations, or a vocal or choral concert where you follow lyrics or text — you do not read books or magazines at a concert. It is rude to the performer and to the audience. It is also demeaning to yourself.

Even program notes should be read before or after the concert or during intermission. Reading program notes at the wrong time—when it is quiet during the performance or when you make a noise folding the page – is also rude.

My post about knitting drew a lot of reader comments, both pro and con, including comments about some special disorder or disability that makes people need to knit during a concert.

Sorry, I’m not buying that baloney. Just stay home.

Anyway, here are links to those posts about knitting and about texting during performances. Be sure to pay attention to the many comments about knitting:

And let me know what you think about reading magazines or books during a concert.

And what you think should be done?

The Ear wants to hear.


  1. It seems to me that there is a significant difference between reading/texting and knitting. Knitting is a motor skill and it didn’t take significant attention away from experiencing the performance the way reading/texting does. I crochet at folk festival performances just to give my hands something to do, but I always put my crocheting down when it’s time to clap! (Btw, crocheting is quieter than knitting, since there’s only one implement.)

    Comment by sandrashill — April 12, 2015 @ 10:42 pm

  2. Everyone who has stated their preference for an additional mode of stimulus at music performances has the right idea about it. Sit as far back as you can, or way off to one side.
    As for reading a score with the performance, The Met in NYC has some special seats, way up high, and I mean HIGH, and way off to either side, that are specially reserved for people who will not only read the score with an opera, but might even use a mini-booklight to do so. Now that’s promoting culture!
    Have you ever been to an extended Jewish service of any kind? The kind of communal informality I have experienced at bar mitsvahs and funerals was initially disconcerting to me, as I was not raised in that tradition. Upon reflection, I found the social interactions both enhanced being with other people, and, as the rituals were several thousand years old, they were not the constant and sole focus.
    So, knitting should be OK somewhere in a large dark hall full of alert listeners, be it a house of worship or a concert. BUT, if you are at all obvious about it, as this woman was at the student recital, that is and always should be a Big No-No, albeit an unenforceable one.

    Comment by 88melter — March 7, 2015 @ 8:34 am

  3. I feel blessed that I do not suffer from such poor ability to concentrate that I would be distracted by silent knitting or an occasional crinkled page.

    Frankly, it sounds like you are the one who needs to go home and listen to a CD.

    Comment by Zac — March 7, 2015 @ 12:53 am

  4. Jake,

    One of your readers commented that there are almost never written prohibitions to which serious concert attendees must conform. I think I mentioned once before that a recital by the Sydney [Australia] String Quartet in Yokohama publicized in The Japan Times indicated that children under 10 weren’t allowed. By that time my son had been taking private violin lessons for 6 years so I wrote to the concert organizers requesting & obtaining their permission for my son to attend despite his age. It was a terrific program and Ken behaved perfectly.

    Larry Retzack

    Comment by buppanasu — April 12, 2014 @ 12:56 am

  5. Fantastic article.Much thanks again. Really Cool.

    Comment by Elena Mccammon — July 2, 2012 @ 4:12 am

  6. I suspect I know your answer, but what’s your take on people in the concert audience following along with a score?

    Comment by Marius — April 26, 2012 @ 4:19 pm

    • Hi Marius,
      Well, you know the concert scene and so understandably hit on a great exception.
      I think following the score is fine and acceptable behavior and very musical even — as long as it is done discreetly with quiet page-turning and not in an intrusive way that bothers other audience members nearby.
      But even then, I think a lot of score-turning musicians and listeners would do better to sit back and focus on the music and not on the score.
      You can do that to a recording.
      It is more important to take the music in in a holistic way and not through the details.
      Live music should be savored — the same way I would go to hear a Shakespeare play and listen closely rather than read a copy of the script and follow along.
      Is that what you thought I would say?
      What do you say to score reading versus other kinds of reading during a live concert?
      I’d be interested in a follow-up response.

      Comment by welltemperedear — April 26, 2012 @ 4:49 pm

      • I studied music at a conservatory; after retiring from professional music, I attend concerts when there is something I particularly want to hear, like next weekend’s Beethoven 1st and 9th symphonies played by our local philharmonic. I greatly enjoy following the score..not only for nuance, but to pick up conductor’s handling of time and dynamic modifications. There is a great deal of harmonic depth between the orchestral voicings that come out in the score, less so when the ear is bombarded by the full symphony. I only hope I’m not thrown out on my ear for doing so. A PS; I remember attending concerts in Europe in my childhood (I lived in Venice when young) and some seats desks and lights for conducting students to study the scores, during the concert. .

        Comment by Anthony — March 27, 2014 @ 4:25 pm

  7. Jake, I’m wondering what you think of Concerts on the Square. This seems to be the ultimate example of many people in attendance doing everything except listening to the concert. Just curious what you think. Is there any point to the concert if most people are eating, knitting or reading? It is a free outdoor pops concert, after all. And it attracts people to hear a genre of music that they don’t know much about. For example, last summer when Beethoven’s 5th started, I began humming along and enthusiastically waving my arms like a conductor. A friend in our group looked at me while taking a bite of his sandwich and said, “Oh, do you know this song?” Groan.

    If the city of Madison just blasted classical music out of speakers around the Capitol on Wednesday nights all summer, do you think thousands of people would come and picnic? I’m interested to know what you think about the whole concept. It seems to fit in with the topic in question here.

    Comment by srekleoc — April 26, 2012 @ 2:40 pm

    • Hi,
      Thanks for reading and replying with such a good and problematical,thought-provoking example.
      Actually, since the Concerts on the Square are billed and advertised as the biggest picnic of the summer, I think they are being held as much as a social event as an artistic event.
      So you make some allowances that you wouldn’t make at, say, the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra Masterworks concerts in the fall and winter.
      That said, the musicians rehearse hard and play well. And conductor Andrew Sewell has often praised the audience for its attentiveness, which seems to get better every summer.
      But even there, I think the informal atmosphere and talking can get too loud and raucous, and can interfere with the appreciation others might have for the music.
      Especially at those concerts, it is a balancing test.
      It is not a concert hall and there is amplification via speakers as well as vendors for dinner, desserts and drinks.
      Common sense and respect for your neighbor as well as for the music and musicians should carry the day.
      I think you are a musician, so I would be interested to see what you think.
      I’d also be interested to see what other readers have to say about the special situation of COS versus the concert hall.

      Comment by welltemperedear — April 26, 2012 @ 4:30 pm

  8. Hi Jake,

    What an interesting/eclectic batch of comments about the readers in concert audiences. I attended the Final Forte concert of the MSO & like an idiot, forgot to turn off my cell ‘phone until the last pianist was doing Ravel’s Concerto for the L Hand Alone which has a wide dynamic range from ppp to fff. In a nervous fit of concern to get it turned off to prevent it ringing, I was careful to turn it off during a fff section. You undoubtedly know that a cell phone went off during a recent NY Phil concert & the conductor actually stopped the performance until the bonehead turned off the ringing ‘phone.

    As some comments indicated, there seems to be varying conduct in free vs. pd. for programs. I’ll never forget initially attending a freebie in Japan where the audience members were eating their lunches, chatting, reading newspapers, etc. I told a Japanese friend I sure hoped such ambient noise would be less @ pd. concerts. I was assured that such behavior would never materialize @ professional programs and it’s true. Apparently if Japanese have to pay to hear, they act appropriately.

    Comment by buppanasu — April 26, 2012 @ 12:42 pm

    • MBB here. I was in a New York Jazz club, Sweet Basil, some years ago. Phil Woods, the dean of alto players, was holding forth with much boppery and rhythm section prowess, as the Japanese tourists in the front two rows had their own un-diplomatic consultation, and they were polite enough to not whisper, so we could all hear what was being said, in Japanese, so as not to be rude.
      Well, Mr. Woods had quite enough of that only two songs into the set, and proceeded to let them know in no uncertain terms that he was there to play his music for them, and that they had paid for the priviledge of same, and would they please SHUT UP NOW, or he would stop playing until they did become attentive, or at least not a positive nusiance. They continued talking, and he stopped the set, coming back 20 mins later, after the offending parties, seeing they no longer had an Artist to amuse them, left the room.
      This same kind of experience happened to me at the old Restaurant Magnus, when an Asian man and his date/girlfriend/whomever were talking to each other so loud that the trio, which was playing a ballad, I Loves You Porgy, by Gershwin, as I recall, could not quite hear themselves well enough to continue. So, I stopped that performance, and addressed the couple who were, of course, sitting in the front row when there were tables all throughout the room where their conversation could have had less impact on the music. But, the front row impresses people, don’t you see…
      I asked them whether or not they would like to talk or hear the music because, since they had paid their cover charge, I was willing to accomodate either activity, but not BOTH. Naturally they were embarrassed, but we had had quite enough of them, and I closed out the night without another note.
      Did the club support me in this? Why of course not. I was never asked back, and only played there one more time, gratis. So, do not expect that this rude thing is limited to classical music performances, or that the remedies anywhere will be customer-friendly.

      Comment by Michael BB — April 26, 2012 @ 1:20 pm

  9. Thanks for raising this topic. I am a knitter and I often take my knitting bag to youth concerts to knit until the concert begins. When the concert begins, I put the bag away. Last night I attended the very fine West High School Spring Band concert. There was a malfunction of the lights, requiring house lights to remain on. Because I could see, I started to knit during the Freshman Band portion, but put it away when I realized just how rude I was. I am sure the polite person sitting next to me was relieved.

    Jake, you have given an out to those of us who would like to say something to the person texting, knitting, etc. Next time this happens, I will turn to the person during intermission and say, “Jake Stockinger thinks it’s rude and distracting to others to text (substitute read, knit) during a concert. I agree. What do you think?”

    Comment by Emily W — April 26, 2012 @ 10:54 am

    • Hi Emily,
      Thanks for reading and replying with such candor. I commend you for your honesty.
      I have no problem with knitting before or after or during an intermission or technical problems.
      So keep on doing that and enjoy yourself.
      But I am glad I can serve a useful purpose in directing one’s attention to the people making the music or acting or speaking or doing whatever.
      Thank you for your kind words, and I appreciate your telling me that my blog can make it easier for you and others to confront listeners whose behavior might be out of place.
      Happy knitting AND happy listening to you.

      Comment by welltemperedear — April 26, 2012 @ 11:18 am

  10. Conflicting forces impact this issue. I’m an advocate for silence and full concentration and engagement at classical recitals and concerts. But I also think frequently about what can be done to make such events less intimidating to broader, non-elitist audiences, especially young people, who are conditioned to a casual world and shorter than ever attention spans. Am I willing to tolerate a little boorishness if it is an unfortunate byproduct of bringing more folks into the concert hall? I don’t know. I will cling to the unrealistic hope that the performance will demand the full attention of the audience.

    Comment by Anders Yocom — April 26, 2012 @ 9:29 am

    • Hi Anders,
      Thank you for reading and replying so thoughtfully.
      It is indeed a dilemma and a balancing test.
      But those days you an find classical music in a lot of non-traditional venues — restaurants, bars, coffee shops, parks, schools — where a looser conduct code, along with some boorishness, as you say, is acceptable. But even at these places, I would hope the audience would rise to occasion of being appreciate and attentive.
      But somehow, a more formal concert event is NOT the place for people to be inattentive to the performers and other audience members.
      Maybe some kind of educational forum — even talk radio — would be a good outlet to discuss the various perspectives, the pluses and minuses.
      Meanwhile, I share you hope for appropriate behavior and attentiveness — even if it does seem unrealistic at times.

      Comment by welltemperedear — April 26, 2012 @ 9:57 am

  11. Probably a number of factors contribute to this ill-bred behavior (an old-fashioned concept). First, as another commenter points out, is thinking one is the center of the universe, a notion fostered by our narcissistic culture. Then there is the constant multi-tasking. Finally, treating music as aural wallpaper in our everyday lives, and as entertainment rather than as an intellectual exploration, has created a population which doesn’t know how to listen.

    Comment by Susan Fiore — April 26, 2012 @ 8:53 am

    • Hi Susan,
      Thank you for reading and replying.
      I agree with your agreeing with others.
      All of those explanations ring true to me.
      The offending behavior also speaks to me of bad parenting in the sense that young people should be exposed to live performances and appropriate behavior during them when they are still young and impressionable.
      The society seems not only more narcissistic but also more self-indulgent.
      It seems a lot of people just don’t want to pay attention to or appreciate others, even those with rare and finely honed performing skills.
      Too bad for all of us.

      Comment by welltemperedear — April 26, 2012 @ 8:58 am

  12. Knitting, reading and sleeping during a concert? Would this happen during a Chicago Symphony Orchestra concert? I DON’T THINK SO. When you pay about $95 for a concert ticket, you think twice of wasting your money like this. And then they are the famous conductors and soloists who always seem to get our respect and attention without the sidetracking of knitting and reading. Why is this?

    Comment by Irmgard Bittar — April 26, 2012 @ 8:17 am

    • Hi Irmgard,
      You make a very good point I hand;t thought of.
      I was speaking of a free recital.
      But the question of suppressing attendance to expensive events is worth considering.
      I find is rude, inattentive and unwarranted no matter regardless of whether one pays for the event or it is free.
      Performing arts organizations need all the incentive they can find to attract audiences today and in this economy.
      Whatever happened to plain old-fashioned courteousness?
      Thanks for reading and replying.

      Comment by welltemperedear — April 26, 2012 @ 8:25 am

      • Didn’t a fistfight (reported nationally in the papers) break out at a recent CSO concert? Now that would be disconcerting.

        Comment by fflambeau — March 7, 2015 @ 8:37 pm

  13. Are these distracting behaviors tacky and the height of un-mindfulness, you bet. Should we do anythng about them, No.
    Here’s why. There are no posted rules of behavior at the door of a concert hall. Most large concerts will have either a live or pre-recorded annoucement about turning off one’s cellphone. After that, there are no proscriptions, as a rule.
    So, if these activities are not expressly forbidden by an annouced or posted set of rules, such as one sees at a swimming pool, there is no legitimate social recourse.
    And even if there was a posted code, listing “No Reading of Unrelated Materials” and “No Knitting Allowed” woebetide the person who is gonna hafta police a classical music recital! Who would invite the kind of hassles this would start into their life, probably on a volunteer basis, no less. Ejecting someone from a concert would cause WAY more distraction, albeit a shorter one, than any infraction of the Listener’s Unwritten Rules.
    We all have to live with other humans who either disagree wth us or flaunt behaviors that fly in our faces. We have to keep the perspective that while Music with a capital M is a great thing, and Art with a capital A is what many of us live for, there are much greater offences that we ought to be concerned with, as any voter in the State of Wisconsin can tell you.
    MBB, the Musical Ethicist…

    Comment by Michael BB — April 26, 2012 @ 8:05 am

    • Hi Michael,
      You might be right about ushers ejecting them or at leads saying something to them.
      But I refuse to give up and think this bad behavior is inevitable and must therefore be implicitly sanctioned.
      Why should the offenders win?
      Pre-concerts reminders or announcements might be appropriate. So might polite (not threatening) suggestions from neighbors or ushers at an appropriate time.
      But there is not need for written rules.
      There are social codes that are understood, or should be, by everyone.
      Even the people reading or texting or knitting often show that they are slightly ashamed or otherwise aware of the inappropriateness of what they re doing. But they keep on doing it.
      So I guess I agree with some of your analysis about why such behavior takes place, but disagree that not much can be done except to put up with it and accept it.
      Thanks of reading and replying.

      Comment by welltemperedear — April 26, 2012 @ 8:50 am

      • I do not mean to imply or state explicitly that nothing or little can be done. But, there must be a statement of rules of behavior, otherwise there is no basis in practise for the grounds upon which to eject or remove someone from the audience, whether the concert is free or paid.
        I am saying that even with the rules of behavior stated clearly, and I am not against such a statement, finding some volunteers or even paid staff willing to do the policing will be next to impossible. And, frankly, if someone were to actually be willing to do such work, I’d be a bit suspicious of their motives. Only a proto-fascist would find such tasks appealing or even tenable. A proto-fascist with the best intentions, of course…(small LOL)
        Culture has survived centuries of not only bad behavior on the part of audiences, (think the riot at the premiere of The Rite of Spring!) it has survived changing standards and expectations as well.
        So, I think that audience pressures coming from clear communication of the violation of the aethestic rights of other audience members through a breach of etiquette is the only practical solution. And since not even you, sir, with your best intentions intact, were willing to confront the offending parties, you can see what an almost insurmountable obstacle this situation is. To pass the responsibility for our complaints off to a hapless volunteer/staffer is not viable. To take on this issue on a case-by-case basis is the responsibility of every person in attendance, and may the Aesthetes overcome the Rudies!

        Comment by Michael BB — April 26, 2012 @ 9:37 am

  14. I think the overall pattern of audience behavior is changing. At my church, there are always people knitting, and frequently drinking coffee out of travel mugs. In addition to concertgoers who talk, sotto voce, during the performance, the ones who really get my goat are audibly keeping time with their feet — or other appendages. I sat near one at a recent Madison Symphony concert, but I didn’t have the guts to tell her I could hear her, many feet away.

    Comment by westmelrose — April 26, 2012 @ 7:59 am

    • I think you may be right about audience behavior changing, and not for the better.
      Is it part of an overall movement to casual behavior at public events?
      A reaction to the electronic entertainment age?
      I wish I knew.
      I also agree with you about the low-level talking as a distraction.
      It ranks right up there, along with people who unwrap candies during the soft part of the music. Love those cellophane sounds and crinkling. It’s especially true of the Sunday afternoon audiences, generally older and less experienced as concert-goers it seems, at the Madison Symphony Orchestra.
      I also share your sense of minding my own business and being somewhat intimidated.
      Thanks for reading and replying.

      Comment by welltemperedear — April 26, 2012 @ 8:17 am

  15. It’s as simple as this: if you want to read the paper, knit, text, or catch up on email, go to the coffee shop, or stay home. If you want to hear a live performance, give it your full physical and intellectual attention. End of story.

    Comment by KO — April 26, 2012 @ 7:35 am

    • Hi KO,
      I agree completely.
      Be attentive to whatever you do.
      Or go do something else.
      Thanks for reading and replying.

      Comment by welltemperedear — April 26, 2012 @ 8:18 am

  16. It’s as simple as this: if you want to read the paper, knit, text, or catch up on email, go to the coffee shop, or stay home! If you are so ill that you can’t control your coughing/sneezing, stay home. End of story.

    Comment by KO — April 26, 2012 @ 7:28 am

    • Hi KO,
      You are spot on again.
      No need to spread the germs.
      Would you like others to get you sick?
      As you say, it is as simple as that.

      Comment by welltemperedear — April 26, 2012 @ 8:54 am

  17. I always read during concerts; however, I usually sit in the back few rows as to not attract undue attention to myself and always turn the pages slowly and quietly.
    I’m a musician as well. It does not bother me in the least if audience members happen to be reading or knitting or writing while I perform. I’m happy because I am not playing for an empty hall.
    I think, though, that the attention you paid to this particular person was extensive. You say she carefully read the magazine – was she crinkling the pages while she turned them? Was she commenting on the things she read to her partner? Was the screen of the magazine glaring in her face while the house lights were down? If not, I suggest simply ignoring it if it happens in the future. Really, it’s not that big of a deal.

    Comment by Kristine — April 26, 2012 @ 6:20 am

    • Hi Kristine,
      Thank you for reading and replying.
      I appreciate your perspective, both as an audience member and as a musician.
      However, I still have to disagree sharply with you.
      You are exception when it comes to performing.
      When I perform, I would rather have an audience of fewer people who are more attentive and appreciative than a bigger audience of more people who are distracted and inattentive.
      As for sitting in the back row, and using that as a justification for rudeness,there are people back there too.
      The person I wrote about did indeed try to suppress the noise of turning pages, But I and others could sell hear them being turned.
      Anyway, it doesn’t matter.
      And you should not be doing it.
      It is disrespectful to other audience members and to the performers, no matter how you want to try and justify it.
      It also sets a bad example for others who may be new to going to live music or performances.
      It is selfish and unwarranted behavior at a event that is taking place for reason other than providing background entertainment for you.
      I know you will disagree, but most readers — and, I suspect, most audience members — will agree more closely with my point of view than yours.
      Common sense should tell you what is right and what is wrong.

      Comment by welltemperedear — April 26, 2012 @ 8:34 am

  18. Being the crusty old man that I am, I have occasionally confronted people who have behaved inappropriately in concerts, and I have always felt better afterwards. I also think that the people I have confronted have learned that they are no longer the center of the universe.

    Comment by Larry Wells — April 26, 2012 @ 4:06 am

    • Hi Larry,
      Congratulations on your courage.
      I suspect that you are right.
      And I hope I have more courage to confront the offending person next time.
      I almost said something to the offender this time, but I felt awkward.
      Funny and sad that I am the one who should end up on the defensive, no?
      I will try to follow your example in the future and hope for the best.
      And you are right: There is a larger lesson to be learned or imparted in these cases.
      Be well,

      Comment by welltemperedear — April 26, 2012 @ 8:37 am

  19. Dr. J did you attend the Pro Arte program at Mills Hall Saturday evening April 21? I appreciated a respectful audience, but there was at least one extreme exception. The evening’s program was contained in the wonderful 10-inch square centennial book. Opening it quietly to refer to the program is probably acceptable (or why not just hold it open or mark the page) but fanning the pages, closing, opening, reading, then repeating the routine without relief is definitely not.
    Why do these offenders always sit next to me!
    Another action of disrespect unnoticed by the perpetrators in a concert hall is coughing without covering. MSO and the Wisconsin Union Theater tried to at least head off the explosions by making cough drops available at the door. Those who couldn’t resist pocketing fistfuls put a stop to that. In general the casual comfort of sharing television or home theaters has changed audience behavior much for the worse.
    Aggravated likewise,

    Comment by Anne — April 26, 2012 @ 1:10 am

    • Hi Anne,
      I WAS indeed at the terrific Pro Arte concert and did see some people mis-using the special commemorative program.
      I often also see people fanning themselves with even a small program during a concert, probably because they feel the hall is too hot or something like that.
      But that too IS distracting and fits right in with reading, knitting, texting and checking email.
      Cough drops are good when used preventively or carefully, but I also heard a lot of people wait to unwrap and use them until the music was being played — using during a quiet part — and that defeats their purpose, as does hoarding them.
      Finally: Trust me, you may feel they always sit near you.
      But a good number of them always sit near me.
      I expect there are plenty of them to go around!
      So we can all get annoyed — while they continue blithely going on with their offensive and rude behavior.
      Thanks for reading and replying.

      Comment by welltemperedear — April 26, 2012 @ 8:44 am

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