In the last few days I have been out and about and I have seen some things that have really confounded me and made me realise that ‘people watching’ is never dull. For example I was looking in a Pet Shop on Friday and a mother and new-born baby were standing next to me. Imagine my surprise when I noticed that the four week old bub (approx) was wearing joggers!
Yes JOGGERS! True blue, fair dinkum joggers. I was so gobsmacked and felt so sorry for the baby in those rather cumbersome shoes that I didn’t even say anything to the mother … so unlike me dear friends.
This got me thinking of an interesting journey to the Art Gallery where I met my sister last Wednesday. Really folks, it’s ALWAYS interesting riding on the buses, but this particular day I was privy to a conversation which I couldn’t help but overhear. It led to me being gobsmacked yet again by the time the people concerned got off the bus. It happened like this:
I was seated right behind an older lady who was chatting to another much younger woman. I wouldn’t have taken too much notice but the lady was talking quite loud and as she was sitting on the outside of the seat, her face and body language were quite visible to me as she turned to speak to her companion.
‘Well” she said “I’m not sure why my daughter listens to those 7-day weather forecasts. They are never right!” My ears pricked up up immediately and I began to observe this woman closely as she continued, “As I used to tell my children when they were little and told lies ‘if you keep telling lies, you’ll grow up to be a weather forecasters!”
Oh, she was so opinionated and outspoken in her speech, that I was dumfounded. She had really caught my attention now and I wanted to hear everything that she was saying; I couldn’t help myself. You see, the old lady looked so harmless: white curly hair, around 75-76 years old, wearing a royal blue dress or top. These were not the words I’d expected from a harmless looking little old lady … there were shades of ‘Miss Marple’ about her as she continued her tirade … in an ever so pleasant manner … just like Miss Marple would do.
“And, as for Tony Abbott” (the Prime Minister) she continued “we all had such high hopes for him and his team to do some wonderful things, but no! What a disappointment! Just like Obama, he’s full of rhetoric and slogans, but what I can’t really abide is the SPITE. You know, you expect spite from a school boy, but NOT a grown man. He should have disposed of his spite long ago. All the things he’s doing: attacking the unions, changing all the good policies that were already in place. He’s doing it because of SPITE. It’s awful.”
By this time, I was sitting erect in my seat, even leaning in a little to catch every word that the little old lady spoke. The woman beside her hardly had a chance to get a word in edgewise . I wondered how she felt about her bus companion and if she agreed/ disagreed with her politics? Did they even know each other I wondered?
Next, the little old lady moved on to a more positive topic: Princess Mary of Denmark (who is Australian). No ‘stuckupness’ about her, she said (yes, she really did use that word). Out of all the royals, Mary was the nicest apparently. And then she launched into the story of how Mary and Fred met during the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney. I was amazed that she knew every little detail of the story, saying in the end “Amazing how a last-minute decision to join her friends and go out, changed Mary’s life forever.”
And it was just after this that the little old lady and her companion got off the bus. As she stood up and walked down the aisle of the bus, I noticed for the first time what she was wearing. Much to my surprise she had on white linen short shorts with her blue top!
There was nothing ‘ little old lady’ about those shorts dear friends. I was so thoroughly astounded that I kept watching her from the window as she walked along at a steady pace. How amazing! I could scarce take it in. It was not what I was expecting at all. And she had great legs for a ‘little old lady’ to boot.
Sometimes friends, life confounds us with the things that we see and hear. We have a perception of how things should be and then we get the fright of our lives when perception leaves and gives us something totally different … it is then that the shock comes over us! Who says we have to be predictable? I know I would NEVER wear short shorts on the bus to the hospital where she was headed.
But then again, because she was trim and looked strong and fit, did that mean I might just be jealous?And was it very nice of me to sit on the bus in judgment of a ‘little old lady?’ And listen in to her conversation as well? What was I doing I wondered?
Who knows the answers to these questions, but it certainly gave me plenty to think about as I headed for the Art Gallery where I would be overwhelmed by the beauty of that lovely place. I almost forget my bus companions and the conversations that had entertained me along the way … until now that is. Sometimes, it is wonderful to sit on a bus and see how the other half lives and come away confounded and then write about it!
I like what Jonathan Safran Foer said about overhearing conversations:
“I usually write away from home, in coffee shops, on trains, on planes, in friends’ houses. I like places where there’s stuff going on that you can lift your eyes, see something interesting, or overhear a conversation.” www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/overhear.html#bmgvoDzLDO78CLgJ.99