Coffee Shop Chronicles: Overheard Conversations

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Livonia, MI

Have you ever just sat in a coffee shop and listened to conversations?

This can be done anywhere really: in a park, on a bus, at a college football game, a kids’ softball game, in a lunchroom, at your coworker next cubicle over.  Anywhere.  What does that say about them?

I’ve listened everywhere, partially because of boredom, partially out of curiosity.  Dad always enjoyed being in the Now, and that’s why I’ve always enjoyed people-watching and people-listening.

I’m sipping my Clover Reserve coffee, the West Java Preanger while it’s still available. What are people saying here, today?

What’s This Song?

A guy finishes humming and says, “Do you know what that’s from?” The woman with him is shaking her head.  “It’s from the movie the Officer and…the one with Richard Gere.”

ME:  It’s An Officer and a Gentleman, geez.  You don’t even know the title?  I didn’t hear that tune in it at all.  Maybe you should try harder.  Are you trying to impress this girl, like on a date, or is she a friend who tolerates you?  Does she know movies?  Does she care?  She just tapped some sugar into her coffee and walked away.  You, you’re dumping about…is that four or five packets of sugar…in your coffee?  You’re both staying here, and you have to-go cups?  Don’t you see my for-here mug beside you as I mix my Splenda and steamed 2% milk?  I’m saving a cardboard tree.  You’re drinking that coffee black.  Ugh.

A Guy and His Buddy

A guy walks in, shakes his buddy’s hand.  “Free car?” the guy says, a smile in his voice.  I don’t hear his buddy’s response, but the guy says to him, “You can get a car for a reasonable price of a truck.”

ME: Sounds like buddy’s in a world of trouble.  Is he poor?  Is he desperate?  Why does he want a truck, or is that something the guy wants?  I’m thinking pickup truck–I mean, what else is there?–but buddy’s got a jean jacket and a laptop.  He doesn’t look the truck type.  The other guy, he has that sauntering attitude around his beefy self.  I could see him wanting a truck but stuck driving daddy’s Caddy.  Or am I just thinking of my ex-boyfriend’s lawyer-to-be friend from those oh-so-many years ago?

About Bill

“I went to Bill’s class on Friday, and it wasn’t filled.”

ME:  Is he a college student?  Probably, since it’s around 1:30 pm.  That’s too early for high school to be out.  What does Bill teach, and why isn’t he filling up his classroom?  Does the girl he’s talking to know the class or Bill?  Is he not a popular teacher?  Could it be that the subject isn’t fun?  Does the class happen at an awkward time?  As a college student, I couldn’t handle morning classes.  The 9:00 am ones were tolerable, but the 8:00 am classes were too much, too early.  At least you’re there to support your friend.

What does this say about me and interpreting them?  Some of this stuff is so perfect that, as the cliché goes, I couldn’t write or make up this stuff.

I feel a little jealous.  I’m left out of the loop.  Something cool is going on, and I’m not a part of it.  Why am I not a part of it all?  Maybe that comes from being picked last for sports teams in grade school.

If I was curious before, I’m more curious now.  There’s the context behind the above comments, and I’d love to know more about them.


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