This post is culled from an email I sent to the prestigious and well-dressed PT:
One of my biggest pet peeves is talking in shul. I'm not saying I never do it, but it annoys me nonetheless, on general principle. So when people do it at especially obnoxious times, like when they are finished with shmonei esrei but not everyone else is (and the repetition has not started), it really, really bugs me. These people are trying to daven! You are distracting them! And the people I sit near talk a whole lot. But I don't do anything about it. I have been known to shush at times, but I don't want to be a "shusher." And I've never moved to another seat because I don't want to insult anyone (in general these are really nice guys) and besides, I really like my seat. It's a good seat. So I just kind of stew. After all, these guys should know better!
Anyway, one shabbat a couple of weeks ago, the talking was especially galling. I don't recall why exactly. But after davening is done, after adom olam and the whole bit, the rabbi goes onto the middle bima to make kiddush as usual. But it is just too noisy. He's waiting. And waiting. Everybody is talking, doing their own thing, barely even looking at the rabbi. That was it. I got up on the bima and slammed the shulchan a few times. That's usually all it takes, but I was really angry and found myself screaming, "Kiddush!" The noise settled down to a dull roar, and the rabbi thanked me and made kiddush.
At kiddush everyone asked my wife what was wrong with me, am I going crazy, etc. Someone came up to me and nicely asked if I had yelled, "Shut up!" Apparently someone thought I'd said that and this woman, who knows me (sort of), said I would never do that. She's right, but just barely.
If I had said something nicely to the talkers earlier, would I have cooled down and ultimately saved myself some embarassment? Possibly. But I'm getting worked up now just writing aobut it. Will I say something the next time? Probably not. Because I'm a ninny. A self-righteous ninny. A self-righteous, fishing-for-compliments ninny.
Cross-posted at Kerckhoff Coffeehouse.