This morning, I dropped off my son, the Meerkat, to his Saturday class. He’s taking Psychology. Since we arrived 25 minutes early to his class, and since his instructor is particularly adept at demonstrating the fine art of “Not Showing Up”, I decided to hang around until I got word that good ol’ Psych 101 hadn’t actually been cancelled.
For the next 30 minutes I camped out at a diner (an east-coast family restaurant/ice cream shop called Friendly’s), where I was greeted by an older waitress named Shirley. (I assume her last name isn’t Goodness-And-Mercy, but I’ve been wrong before). It’s like I was dropped into another era. I was alone and surrounded by people with history. At the table next to me was an old married couple. The table right behind me were two silver-haired ladies.
I ordered my chorizo scramble (which Shirley, correcting my bad Spanish, told me was pronounced “chore-zoe”) and decided to listen in. The restaurant PA system played the theme to The Twilight Zone (not making that up). Eavesdropping may be my new favorite hobby. Here are a few of the things I heard:
“We used to could drive all the way to Mexico without any seat belts. We didn’t even have air conditioning.” We had to drive there uphill too. both ways.
“…and you didn’t hear a word I just said, did you?” No. No he didn’t.
“I don’t care if I see any more snow until Christmas. Do you?” It wasn’t too bad. I said “no.” Sometimes it’s better to just agree.
“Everybody in the school was cracking their knuckles. And I was cracking mine. I was about ten years old. I can’t do that anymore.” Ahh the good old days.
[On his cell phone]. You don’t have a key? It’s on the doorframe. No, not the one by the front door. By the sliding glass door, around back.” Good thing I’m an honest guy who doesn’t want free stuff.
“That’s my worse nightmare. being stuck on an airplane.” Even more worse? Being stuck on a moving airplane. Not in. On.
“That song would be stuck in my head for months. I’d be driving down the road and I’d start singing ‘It’s a Small World.’ It was nice and cool in there. And I liked the bears. Do you remember the bears? No, not on the same ride. They were animated or something.” And they sang ‘Rocky Top, Tennessee’ with the moose head mounted on the theater wall. I wanted to turn around and say “Ooh! *I* remember!” But I restrained myself.
“[My granddaughter] saw Cinderella, and [Cinderella] caught her eye, and it was all over from there. She jumped the ropes and ran.” Who did? Cinderella or the granddaughter? And which way did she run? Those ropes are there for a reason!
“See you later.” “Not if I don’t see you first.” How exactly does that work?
“Y’all take care now. I just pray we don’t get more nasty weather.” 20 points if you can name the song that ran through my head when Shirley said this to me.
Please know I’m not making fun of anyone. I was vastly entertained though, by 20 minutes of enjoying the English language, and making small talk, and my chore-zoe scramble. My takehome lesson? We are unduly interested in the weather, even when it’s mild. And… you didn’t hear a thing I just said, did you? Just turn up your hearing aid already.