Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Why Should I Care

No one would be wrong to think I really need to start to mind my own business when it comes to my incessant habit of passively observing those around me. I guess it is the writer in me that is always looking around searching for some inspiration, or as it has not so kindly been suggested once or twice I inherited a touch of my grandmother’s nosey nature. Being fair to myself my observations are always in public places that by simple definition are open to all making privacy impossible, especially when someone is talking on a cell phone which is what happened this morning.

This week my daughter, Darth Wiggles, is taking a cooking camp on the other side of town. It requires my wife to hand her off to me after I get off work. From there she goes to her job while Wiggles and I mosey over to the little gourmet cooking shop where she has her class. It is located next a Whole Foods Market and since she has have about thirty minutes  before the class starts we go inside the ultra fancy grocery store and buy a couple of fresh croissants and small bottles of orange juice.

Being that the morning was breezy and almost surreally pleasant temperature wise for August we picked a table outside the store to eat our food. Wiggles and I were alone for the first ten minutes or so except for the upwardly mobile professional types that came and went out of the store to buy their various organic and freshly made items. No sarcasm meant in that last sentence, if we had a Whole Food on my side of town I’d buy everything there.

As my daughter and I sat waiting for her class to start I noticed a lady approaching the store. Being honest the first reason I noticed her was because she was a very attractive lady in her late thirties to early forties and was wearing a brilliantly colored summer dress. The second reason was as this unknown lady approached I noticed she seemed very upset as she talked on her cell phone.

The problem with cell phones few seem to understand is that if you talk at a normal volume anyone within a few feet can easily hear your side of the conversation no matter how personal the subject may be. Where my daughter and I were sitting the awning above us stretching the length of the store and the front wall of the building itself changed the acoustics just enough that when the lady sat down about twenty feet away we could still hear what she was saying.

It was a pained and very sad conversation that from what I overheard involved the lady breaking up with her husband or boyfriend. Wiggles and I could have probably just ignored the lady like most people do when someone is talking on a cell phone close by if she hadn’t started yelling to the person on the other end. If in fact she is married to this guy given what she accused him of doing he better have a great lawyer because he will be lucky to come away with his underwear.

The conversation ended soon after that with the lady getting up and walking towards the store entrance and indirectly my daughter and me. “I’m sorry you both had to hear all that.” The unknown lady said to us as she paused for a moment to wipe tears away.

Since I have never, ever been able to think quickly on my feet all I could respond was to say, “No problem, we’ve all been there.”  The second I said those words they sounded utterly trite and sophomoric. At least I stopped there and said nothing really stupid and clichéd like “it will get better.”

The lady smiled weakly and said, “Yeah,” as she continued into the store leaving us behind. Seeing her walk away I thought of this song by Diana Krall.


Pixel Peeper said...

Sometimes it just happens that we get a quick glimpse into a snippet of a total stranger's life. In your case it was such a sad event. You'll probably wonder for a long time what ended up happening...

My family has made it a game to obeserve people in public places (airports are great for this!), catch such a snippet, and then make up the "rest of the story." The one with the wildest, most creative - yet still believable - story wins.

Rose L said...

I do not like people using cell phones in public places. It can be so embarrassing to me, not to those talking. I have heard foul language, horrible things, and stories that should be kept in private. Sometimes someone near me in a store will say something and I think they are speaking to me, but it turns out they have one of those ear phone things. Why do they always have to talk so loud?
I never do that. If my cell phone rings in public, I find someplace secluded to take the call or tell them I will call back from within my car. I wish everyone else would do that.

Life As I Know It Now said...

People outgrow each other sometimes. It's hard to find a person that you are going to want to be with for more than 50 years of your life. Sucks, yes, but true nevertheless.

lime said...

that's a shame. i hope life gets better for her.

Akelamalu said...

Witnessing a break-up is never easy, even if you don't know the people involved. :(