Teddy Wayne, for McSweeny’s:
To whom does that ringing cellular phone belong? I use “whom” accurately and don’t end sentences on prepositions because I’m an English professor. I’ll just walk toward the sound and eventually locate its source. I can’t imagine it’s that Midwestern freshman, who is currently squirming in her seat with perspiration dotting her brow. I’ll approach her anyway, and if the phone continues chiming, I’ll know she’s the culprit… it’s still jingling that benighted popular-music ringtone… I’m just a few feet away now, inching along as if I’m in some decelerated temporality…
Harrumph. It stopped ringing, just as I reached her. Now that there’s silence I can no longer punish the guilty party, whoever it is.