Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Overheard at Starbucks

Two or three times a week, I like to take my editing or writing to Starbucks. It helps me get out of the house, and I'm more productive outside the apartment (I don't do it every day because of the prohibitive expense. Not only the chai tea latte that is my standard, but also because it's right next door to a crazy tasty salad restaurant that has to-go dinner salads that make me feel all healthy. I'm weak, I know). I usually go to a specific Starbucks that has an upstairs, away from the loud coffee grinder and clinking dishes. It's never full but is consistently busy, so I can usually guarantee myself a spot.

While German/Swiss/foreign-type people definitely hang out at Starbucks, I've never been to one without hearing native English (British or American). This puts me in the somewhat unusual (at least in Switzerland) position where I can eavesdrop on other people's conversations. I've been privy to some inappropriate flirting (a girlfriend was mentioned early in the conversation but apparently conveniently forgotten), a couple actually making out, a painfully slow English tutoring lesson, and various other conversations that cannot so easily be pigeonholed.

I am currently listening to one such conversation now. The setting is an elderly British gentleman and a woman approximately my age whose native language is not English, although her accent is slight enough that I cannot guess where she is from. They started by talking about a name for a project and story arcs - I thought they were going to talk about a screenplay or book. No.

For the most part, the older man seems to be lecturing her about...well, I'm not sure. He has referred to a study by Harvard psychologists about body "power positions"and told her a (very) longwinded story about a friend who, by choosing the scenic route after a leg injury required less rehabilitation time than anyone could have predicted (this story, much to my surprise, was not a metaphor. Driving an actual scene route, mountains and everything, helps heal, apparently). She then responded by saying "that's funny, because I have the exact same thing going on," and then told a story about a younger girl who was being being very competitive about working out or team stuff (I may have missed the connecting thread here). His response: "I feel that you are upset because you are missing something in how you are responding to this girl." Or maybe she's just a pain in the ass. Just an idea.

Other gems include:
"I need to work independently. Some people get projects done by working together, but I just do the entire thing myself. Because I know myself and know that is the best way to get something done."

"Most people don't even realize he's dominating them. I do, because I'm that type of person."

"I'm saying the words as I breathe in. I watch that happen, then I'll start seeing clouds of blue."

Is this dude supposed to be some sort of advisor, or did he set up this meeting just to talk about how awesome he is?

1 comment:

  1. I found this as I was researching some book ideas for my own blog, and I thought you might like to check it out: I take lines overheard at Starbucks and turn them into poems :-).