Sometimes when I am sitting in a restaurant or walking on the treadmill at the gym, I listen to other people's conversations. I am not a natural or deliberate eavesdropper, but sometimes either the conversation is too loud or too interesting to ignore.
This happened to me once on a train journey when two women a couple of seats away were discussing their friend who had just been dumped by her husband. And when I say dumped, what I mean is that he had literally walked out to work one day and never come back, and then sent her a text a few weeks later saying that he couldn't live up to her and so he left. They were astounded. I was astounded. We all expressed exclamations of incredulity and "that b*****d," albeit mine were all in my head so as not to reveal my earwigging.
Last night I went out to dinner with my friend Sylvia, and while we didn't have a conversation peppered with soap opera-like happenings, we did have one of those conversations that would have definitely been worth overhearing for its sheer randomness and oddities.
And so just in case you weren't in the next booth over, straining to overhear, I'll share our tangential topics of conversation with you in this post:
1. If you could go on any adventure, where would you go?
Sylvia first needed clarification of whether I meant in reality, or as a fantasy adventure (swords! sandals! epic battles with trolls!), and whether I meant past or future. I hadn't even considered all the possibilities for this so we settled on our present reality. Sylvia's "any adventure" would be to travel to the moon as she quite liked the idea of seeing how it felt to be in the void, plus she wanted to see what the dark side of the moon was like (presumably dark) and look back at our home planet, presumably awesome.
After I oohed and aahed over her choice -- kind of wishing it had been mine as mine now felt a bit lame -- I told her that I wanted to go to Jordan and ride on horseback into the rose red city of Petra, in the spirit of Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade. I had the chance to go to Jordan many years ago and could kick myself for not doing it at the time. One day...
Another one of my questions, and this time Sylvia's answer was that she'd like to sky dive. I too would like to do this (though it might require a Valium), but I actually had two choices that were hard to choose between, both of which I actually think about quite a lot. I'd either want to swim with proper big sharks, cage-free, or I'd like to ride a real racehorse at a full gallop on a racetrack. There does seem to be a bit of a horse theme so far with mine.
3. If you could be the hero of any disaster movie, who would you be?
Sylvia first chose Kill Bill, but I told her I didn't think that counted as a disaster movie and made here choose again. She next chose Will Smith's character in I Am Legend, which is a really good one. Heroic, tragic, apocalyptic -- there's nothing better. While I am inclined towards the zombie apocalypse in general, I was not sure which one I'd pick (unless they make Walking Dead into a movie and I can then be the heroine to Daryl Dixon's hero...that's a no brainer) so instead I plumped for the environmental disaster movie set in NYC with Jake Gyllenhall . Can't for the life of me remember the name of this movie and not really sure if the hero is Jake's character of that of Dennis Quaid; I could Google it but honestly, I can't be bothered. You all know which one I mean, I'm sure...
4. Would you give up any of your five senses for something else of your choice, and if so, why?
This one was Sylvia's question on the ride home from the restaurant, and it's a doozie. After quite a bit of thoughtful noises, I said that of them all -- sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch -- I would be most likely to be willing to give up touch. Sylvia questioned me on this choice, noting that then I wouldn't be able to feel when I cut myself or burnt myself or bruised myself. And since this is a fairly common occurence -- I bruise like a peach! -- that is a legitimate concern.
She then pointed out that I also wouldn't be able to touch other people without knowing whether it was a gentle touch or a hard poke. After a beat, and without really thinking, I said, "Well, that's more their problem, than mine," which made Sylvia laugh so hard that she almost ran off the road. A horrifyingly practical answer it seems, which took us straight from a fairly deep and meaningful question into the realms of (possibly callous) comedy. Charming.
Earwigging is a Britishism meaning to overhear a conversation. It's one of my favorite British words.
Sylvia later texted me saying she wished she'd picked catching big air on a snowboard as her dangerous activity. Another good one! I am now thinking that I'd quite like to trapeze. Without safety ropes.
Did you get it? Zombie apocalypse, heroine to Daryl Dixon's hero, no brainer, zombies don't have brains / want to eat brains...I make myself laugh...
Photo 1: The perfect device to help you eavesdrop if you so choose...
Photo 2: Exciting in a photo, but I want the exhilaration of being on the horse at the flying finish. [Jarrett Campbell, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Horse_race,_Churchill_Downs_2008-04-18.jpg]
Photo 3: I need no excuse for posting this picture of Daryl Dixon...