Being a freelance journalist means I can often be found hunched in the corner of various high street coffee shops tapping away at my trusty laptop. These are fascinating places, and the things you (over) hear are incredible. It’s not that I’m purposely listening out for other people’s conversations; they are often so loud one cannot help but overhear.
This is what I’ve heard this week:
1) A woman spent four hours – yes four hours – on the phone to a travel agency working out how she could get from Kuala Lumpa to Kolkata in the fastest possible time. If I hear the word Kuala Lumpa again this week I will scream. She must have said it at least 30 times, and in the time it took her to sort out her flights she could have been a third of the way there.
2) A couple on date set up by a mutual friend. Now this piqued my interest. She was a home-loving grandmother in her late 30s (no, that isn’t a typo), he was a father of three in his early 40s. With three children by three different women, the last of whom had ‘fallen pregnant’ within a month of their meeting, he was in the midst of a messy divorce. He then revealed he’d also been on a couple of dates with another woman both of them knew, and was going to ‘see what happened.’ Enough to make anyone run for the hills. Quite what their mutual friend thought they had in common is beyond me.
3) A granny being shouted at. It started innocently enough: the woman offered her toddler grandson a piece of cookie, only to be told by her daughter, the little boy’s mother, not to. ‘But darling,’ the woman said, ‘It’s just a teeny tiny piece of cookie.’ The mother exploded. I mean really exploded. I was shocked at first, until it transpired that the granny, who looked after the boy during the week, had already given him three McDonald’s, a Twix, a bag of popcorn and a Milkybar. And it was only Wednesday. And that was only what the mother knew about.
So the moral of the story is this: be careful who you sit next to in coffee shops. It could be all over the internet within hours…