Tag Archives: smoking

July is Journaling month #16: Eavesdropping

26 Jul

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Currywurst–resist at your peril. (Wikimedia commons)

 

Do you ever find yourself sitting next to some very loud person or group of people at a restaurant or café? The kind of people who are so interested in what they have to say that they are oblivious to those around them, and speak in a tone that invites the whole restaurant to listen, since nobody else could have a conversation without shouting? My friends, do not waste these precious moments. I myself had the opportunity to learn everything I ever needed to know about European travel last night while enjoying my Fresco single serve pizza at an outdoor café last night. Thank goodness I had my journal to capture the voice of one very confident and assertive lady and her three companions who occasionally got a word in edgewise.

 

Lady 1: There is such a sense of Catalonian pride. They want to secede. They brought in sand for beaches. You go for tapas, the fish is swimming until ONE minute before you eat it. And there’s all this Jewish history there and this place Girona. We went to the beach. I was in my bathing suit, I felt like I was in my birka. Everybody’s topless! They’re experts at changing in their towels.

 

Man 1: The woman could be 18 to 70. It’s just what they do! Lots of gorgeous people around. AND, they ride bicycles. They’re fit.

Lady 1: Oh. My. God. BERLIN. The sidewalks were so wide, there were bike lanes. Bikers everywhere.

Man 2: Amsterdam, that’s the ultimate bike city.

 

Lady 1: And Berlin had amazing museums. They had this museum alley.

 

Man 2: I had these friends who were artists, and they went to Barcelona to see the Dali Museum, and it was Monday and it was CLOSED.”

Lady 1: That Gaudi architecture was Ay-May-Zing. Oh, and the food . .”

 

Man 1: That Inquisition thing got to a lot of people.”

 

Lady 1: And Franco. He wouldn’t let them speak Catalonian. And they couldn’t meet in groups over three people. And he let Hitler practice bombing on them.

 

Man 2: That Hitler. He practiced a lot.

Lady1: Anyway, we get on the plane and we’re like SARDINES. Luckily, we both had aisle seats. My legs are longer than his, but HE doesn’t believe it.

Man 2: We went to Italy a few years ago and nobody told us that Alitalia goes on strike every other day. They had to fly us from Florence to this place where everybody speaks German.

Lady 1: I mean, they took good care of us on the plane. They gave us water. We saw FIVE EPISODES of House of Cards on the plane. Fabulous.

Lady 2: Here’s my question—we totally didn’t get that Robin Wright business. She’s such a nasty, power hungry . . 
Man 2: She didn’t mind when he had that affair with that little Chippie.

Man 1: You know what I loved? When that teenage girl dies from choking on a peach, the way he manipulated the parents. . . Smooooooooothhhh.

Lady 1: Plus, I saw SOOOO many movies.  I saw Quartet, about three men and a woman who .

Lady 2: Is Dustin Hoffman in it?

Man 1: I saw shoot-em-ups. Like Gangsters.

Lady 1. They told us they were giving us $100 back because his TV didn’t work. Hah.

Man 2: There was this guy, pushing against my seat and I . . . “

Lady 1: We switched, I was hoping to sleep, but forget it.

Man 2: Some people put moves on their Ipads.

Lady 2: That one time we were only going to California . . .

Man 1: When my wife travels, she gets very holistic. She wants to see everything.

Lady 1: We’re gong from 9 in the morning until 11 at night. And, I like to go to the nice restaurants, I mean, not Michelin. I didn’t need that. But what I want to do is get NAMES. Like our tour guide, in Berlin, he told us two restaurants that were fabulous. We had Currywurst. It’s like a fat hot dog. They put ketchup on it.”

Lady 2: Gross.

Lady 1: It’s actually delicious.

Man 2: Those Europeans, they all smoke.

Prompt: At a café, restaurant, or party, capture a conversation. Get the rhythm of how people REALLY talk. Do their personalities come through? What do you learn from what they say?

 

 

Do you ever find yourself sitting next to some very loud person or group of people at a restaurant or café? The kind of people who are so interested in what they have to say that they are oblivious to those around them, and speak in a tone that invites the whole restaurant to listen, since nobody else could have a conversation without shouting? My friends, do not waste these precious moments. I myself had the opportunity to learn everything I ever needed to know about European travel last night while enjoying my Fresco single serve pizza at an outdoor café last night. Thank goodness I had my journal to capture the voice of one very confident and assertive lady and her three companions who occasionally got a word in edgewise.

 

Lady 1: There is such a sense of Catalonian pride. They want to secede. They brought in sand for beaches. You go for tapas, the fish is swimming until ONE minute before you eat it. And there’s all this Jewish history there and this place Girona. We went to the beach. I was in my bathing suit, I felt like I was in my birka. Everybody’s topless! They’re experts at changing in their towels.

Man 1: The woman could be 18 to 70. It’s just what they do! Lots of gorgeous people around. AND, they ride bicycles. They’re fit.

Lady 1: Oh. My. God. BERLIN. The sidewalks were so wide, there were bikelanes. Bikers everywhere.

Man 2: Amsterdam, that’s the ultimate bike city.

Lady 1: And Berlin had amazing museums. They had this museum alley.

 

Man 2: I had these friends who were artists, and they went to Barcelona to see the Dali Museum, and it was Monday and it was CLOSED.”
Lady 1: That Gaudi architecture was Ay-May-Zing. Oh, and the food . .”

Man 1: That Inquisition thing got to a lot of people.”

 

Lady 1: And Franco. He wouldn’t let them speak Catalonian. And they couldn’t meet in groups over three people. And he let Hitler practice bombing on them.

Man 2: That Hitler. He practiced a lot.

Lady1: Anyway, we get on the plane and we’re like SARDINES. Luckily, we both had aisle seats. My legs are longer than his, but HE doesn’t believe it.

Man 2: We went to Italy a few years ago and nobody told us that Alitalia goes on strike every other day. They had to fly us from Florence to this place where everybody speaks German.

Lady 1: I mean, they took good care of us on the plane. They gave us water. We saw FIVE EPISODES of House of Cards on the plane. Fabulous.

 

Lady 2: Here’s my question—we totally didn’t get that Robin Wright business. She’s such a nasty, power hungry . .  “
Man 2: She didn’t mind when he had that affair with that little Chippie.

Man 1: You know what I loved? When that teenage girl dies from choking on a peach, the way he manipulated the parents. . . Smooooooooothhhh.

Lady 1: Plus, I saw SOOOO many movies.  I saw Quartet, about three men and a woman who .

Lady 2: Is Dustin Hoffman in it?

Man 1: I saw shoot-em-ups. Like Gangsters.

Lady 1. They told us they were giving us $100 back because his TV didn’t work. Hah.

Man 2: There was this guy, pushing against my seat and I . . . “

 

Lady 1: We switched, I was hoping to sleep, but forget it.

Man 2: Some people put moves on their Ipads.

Lady 2: That one time we were only going to California . . .

Man 1: When my wife travels, she gets very holistic. She wants to see everything.

Lady 1: We’re going from 9 in the morning until 11 at night. And, I like to go to the nice restaurants, I mean, not Michelin. I didn’t need that. But what I want to do is get NAMES. Like our tour guide, in Berlin, he told us two restaurants that were fabulous. We had Currywurst. It’s like a fat hot dog. They put ketchup on it.”

Lady 2: Gross.

Lady 1: It’s actually delicious.

Man 2: Those Europeans, they all smoke.

 

Prompt: At a café, restaurant, or party, capture a conversation. Get the rhythm of how people REALLY talk. Do their personalities come through? What do you learn from what they say?

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July is Journaling Month Part 9. Jarts and Clackers: Department of Bad Ideas

14 Jul

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As a mother of the 90s, I was full of terrors of having my children choking to death on—“Yeah, yeah, I know, Mom: the big three, hot dogs, balloons, and hard candy.” Or strangling themselves on the strings in their sweatshirts. Or—the world seemed FULL of life threatening objects just ready to attack my precious young ones.

But Moms were cooler when I was growing up in the time of legend, far back in the mists of time. One of the big fads was clackers. They were two hard plastic balls at the ends of a string and you were supposed to try to bang them together quickly. So they had the advantage of many toys of my childhood, which were that they were both loud enough to blow your eardrums out and dangerous enough to carve a hole in your skull. They could shatter, too, so you could be full of brightly colored shrapnel. I remember the near hysteria of our school as they banned these frightening monstrosities.

They couldn’t burn the house down, however. That was reserved for unattended Easy Bake ovens and Incredible Edibles. Yum, hot gooey candy worms! See, kids of today, we had to MAKE our own gummy worms, you have it so easy.

Like most parents of the day, Mom and Dad had their own special way of inviting danger into the home by cigarettes by falling asleep while smoking, so their blankets were full of burn marks and holes, and there were usually two or three cigarettes burning, unattended, in the house, like very unpleasant incense, in case a parent wandered by to smoke it. To (the children’s) everlasting credit, we did used to try to get our parents to quit by giving prissy lectures and sticking matches INTO the cigarettes so they would flare up when you lit them, and we’d make a lot of wheezing noises and complaints when it was winter and the wood-paneled station wagon’s  were fogged up with smoke, but Mom would say  “stop exaggerating” and lift her cigarette to her beautiful lipsticked lips in a glamorous manner. She’s the healthiest person I know—perhaps it’s sheer perversity that cigarettes have preserved her lungs.

Oh, and my brothers discovered that you don’t even need toys to have wholesome fun. A pack of matches and a can of aerosol hairspray can provide hours of amusement. But my parents did not stint on actual toys. Another favorite was Jarts. Which is short for “lawn darts.” (why the J? For Danger?) In the hands of my three wild brothers in their Sears Toughskin jeans, these heavy, sharp projectiles were hours of fun and terror. Nobody bothered to read the package about how you were supposed to throw the stupid things as far AWAY from each other as possible. Like at a target or something. Not at whoever was stupid enough to not know when to run.

Don’t ask me why, these bad, bad things are making me feel very happy to remember. Perhaps because I, like my beautiful and dangerous mother, am full of perversity.

Anyway, I found a list of the top ten banned toys. I just wish I could have grown up in the fifties so I could get the Atomic Energy Laboratory!

http://www.burlingamepezmuseum.com/bannedtoy/

Writing Prompt 9: What did you do or play with when you were young that would be considered way too dangerous today?