...when a phone call competes for attention with a real-world conversation, it wins. Everyone knows the distinctive high-and-dry feeling of being abandoned for a phone call, and of having to compensate - with quite elaborate behaviours = for the sudden half-disappearance of the person we were just speaking to. 'Go ahead!' we say. 'Don't mind us! Oh look, here's a magazine I can read!' When the call is over, other rituals come into play, to minimise the disruption caused and to restore good feeling.