"I've had a very nasty to-do with across the road..."
Well not me exactly.
And not Bookhound either, but he had some extended dentistry to attend to and it happened to coincide with a day when we had been notified we would be electric-less at home pending essential maintenance.
It was a Tuesday morning, no power meant no broadband so I abandoned work for the day and we headed into town for a quick whizz around the market before I parked myself in a very nice comfy 'hot chocolate' venue for a couple of hours. My pot of hot chocolate and a muffin duly arrived and I was warmly esconced in the corner with book and iPad, but it soon became clear that Tuesday mornings is meeting time for the elderly ladies of leisure.
The BBC currently have something called The Listening Project in progress though I'm not sure it means eavesdropping exactly, except I just couldn't stop myself listening ... and I am ashamed to say, even worse... I wrote it down...
"I've had a very nasty to-to with across the road..."
"It's that U3A thing, she'd been over and invited me twice.. twice, and then she comes over in the dark, half past nine at night mind you, to tell me I can't go because I am not a member..."
"Terrible...they are such narrow-minded people,"
"Yes these things should be for everyone, I remember you and that stained glass talk,"
"Well we knew it didn't we, she's too clever for her own good as far as embroidery goes...'
"And her daughter's adopted a Chinese...no wait a minute...a Russian orphan"
"Well that's nice of them,"
"Yes but it's got no legs, it'll be our NHS that has to sort that out..."
"My daughter's coming on Thursday."
"Oh that's lovely,"
"Oh that will be nice,"
"She did have eighteen,"
"No they've eaten quite a few."
"Shall we go to the £$%&%$£ next time?
"That would be a change, we could have a bowl of soup,"
"This thing across the road...I'm really affronted this time, she personally asked me twice and then to come across and say I can't go...remember all that trouble you had over that stained glass talk they wouldn't let you go to..."
"Terrible, they are such narrow-minded people,"
"Yes these things should be for everyone, I remember you and the stained glass talk,"
"So the £$%^&^% next Friday "
"So how's your son, it's good he's so happy with this new one after that other one"
"Oh yes, she was a hard woman, she was only after half of everything he had."
"If ever I set eyes on her I'd trip her up I really would, and there's every chance I will because I go to %^&* a lot"
"He's much happier now...she's hardly showing yet you know, the new one"
"Well she should be showing by now, she's weeks on"
"Uh yes I suppose you are right, she never cooks though, eats like a sparrow."
"Is that next Friday?"
"What the lunch at £$%&^% yes"
"No, not Friday I've got my acupuncture, I've been going for years, can't miss that."
"This thing across the road has really upset me this time, she personally asked me twice and then came across to say I couldn't go...."
Bless them both...but what is that is so compelling about listening in on other people's conversations??
I've left out the bits about the mobile phones and who should ring who so it would cost less money, the man rushed into ITU (who I know) and the woman whose husband absconded (who I know) and you don't want to know about the childbirth things, but by the time Bookhound reappeared I was having such a lovely time I really didn't want to leave, and I was almost tempted to pitch up at £$%^&^% for the next instalment.
I have the perfect book to back all this up.
'Eavesdropping is communication, and it has two features that make it unusually interesting. The first is that it feeds on activity that is inherently intimate, and is so because the actors are unware of the receiver, therefore feel free to be "themselves." ..
That's good then because this is real, uninhibited life happening right next to me...
'The second feature that makes eavesdropping so interesting relates to the way the information travels. It is not donated by the sender. It is stolen by the receiver...'
'Eavesdropping is a deeply biological trait, with ancient roots. Few if any species do not eavesdrop - even plants do it - and the chimpanzees and other pirmates with whom we are share so much of our DNA stop eavesdropping only when they go to sleep.'
Oh well that's fine then, it's not my fault.
Make me feel better...tell me it's not just me...