The technical age is taking over the world. With people talking, texting, and emailing all the day long, sometimes it's important to cut the cord and get away from it all. I try to do that every few weeks getting together with a good friend for coffee. We both bring our computers and spend a few hours working and chatting. Yesterday we tried a new coffee shop here in Austin called Summermoon Wood Fired Coffee (wow what an amazingly yummy drink I had :)). It was definitely outside of my suburban bubble, being on the south side of downtown. The area was charming, the coffee shop great if you don't count the 10 degree temperature swing that happened every 5 minutes as the AC kicked on and off.
About half way through our working coffee a group of ladies came in and took over the table immediatly behind me. Over the next half hour I was distracted from my work when I heard bits of their conversation that went something like this.
"Well, yes she was convicted of murdering her husband, but she only got probation"
My head snapped up and saw my friend looking at me with the same "did you hear that" expression. But it's none of my business so back to work.
"Yeah the poor thing handled having to wear shackles pretty well"
Hmmm this conversation might be more interesting than the training I'm updating...
"Oh I felt so sorry for her when she had to quit her job to go to jail"
Ok seriously? At this point I'm cracking up and wishing I had made a trip to the bathroom before two cups of coffee and my chatty neighbors.
No one glared at me (or I didn't notice while I was busy cracking up), but this reminded me of other funny situations where strangers overhear and interject on semi-private conversations. In high school I got a call from a friend who had recently been to the post office. She was having a conversation while waiting in line (a 45 minute endeavor on a good day) and a little old man behind her tapped her on the shoulder. She asked the person on the phone to hold on and turned to the old man who was a foot shorter than her. He smiled and told her "I wanted you to know that I can hear your conversation so you don't say anything too personal." Amused, she smiled, told him Thank You and went back to her conversation. Tap, tap, tap. Not nearly as amused the second time she turned back to the old man. "I'm not sure you understood me. I can hear everything your discussing." My friend said "Okay, thank you" and again tried to finish her conversation. Tap, tap, tap. At this point my friend is no longer amused, pretty impatient and starting to see red. She turned to the old man and said "The sooner you let me finish this conversation, the sooner you won't have to listen anymore. OK?" The old man smiled, pointed at the open counter spot and said "Your turn." Since then I make it a point to check the post office line for little old men before answering my cell phone in line.