Saturday, 28 November 2015

The next table

We're having a meal down the pub, when I'm aware that two couples, 60s-ish, typical middle Englander types, are seating themselves at the table next to us. Over the following hour or so, without any effort on our part, we learn so much. All about the A14, for a start. And the finer details of waiting for trains. My chips are far more interesting, they could have waxed lyrically about the pleasures of nestling next to a portion of peas, but the loud voice to my right is a dominating force and I am unwillingly but unavoidably pulled to its endless, know-it-all monologues about roads, Sainsbury's and weddings. Why are boring people invariably SO loud, too?

“And the Americans, they can't spell, can they?” the diner says to his companions, whom I suspect are there under sufferance, even (or perhaps especially?) his wife. “Like the way they spell 'colour'” he continues. “C – O – L – O - R.  No 'U'!  And centre! They spell it C – E – N – T – E - R... ”

I mean, he actually has to spell the words out proudly, and with great emphasis... like he needs to... like anyone wouldn't know?

I can't see the man himself; he is to my immediate right and to clock him would require me to make an obvious 90 degree turn of the head. It's enough that my ears are being assaulted, so I save my eyes for appreciating the alpine peaks on my lemon meringue pie and exchanging knowing glances with Mr SDS.

Yes, it could be so much worse – he isn't spouting abusively nor expressing his allegiance to right wing extremism – however, it's just so tiresome, and by the end of the evening I really have had enough. As I turn around to pull on my jacket I come face to face with this verbaliser of inane, high volume tedium and, maybe you had to be there, plus it may not be much at all, but that's when I find some very small degree of consolation.  It's the moment when I notice his huge napkin – and it's tucked into his collar widthways, with corners pointing out jauntily to each side, like a stupid comedy bow-tie.



11 comments:

  1. They just can't seem to help themselves, as if we all want to know their shit opinions. That Morrissey has filled out a bit, hasn't he? I know how he feels.

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    1. Exactly - you have to wonder if they ever shut up. Morrissey might have something to say to him!

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  2. A few years back I house sat for some friends in Buckinghamshire. It was one of those rare long hot summers and so I spent quite a bit of time in the garden... well, in the first few weeks at any rate. As the Summer wore on I took to spending the balmy days indoors with either cotton wool in my ears of music blaring through my headphones to drown out the neighbours. I had forgotten my friends warning about the "dulls" that lived at the end of the terrace, 4 houses away. The wife's voice was always muffled and timid, like a Dormouse in a biscuit tin, while the husband had that exact same high decibel "estuary" monotone that I imagine spoiled your meal. He had an opinion on every subject under the sun and held forth in tedious never ending monologues that would waft over the hedgerows, drown out the murmur of bees and somehow sour the scent of the flower beds.

    Even worse, he had been Something in the Music Industry back in the day and so also played what he obviously imagined to be rebellious Prog Rock at full blast out on his patio. So yes, he did annoy the neighbours but for entirely different reasons to the ones he imagined. I later found out that he had been inside one of the large furry suits of a gang of well known vintage children's TV characters and had appeared on Top of the Pops in the 70's.... bet he doesn't bray about that so loudly anymore!

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    1. Brilliant, Yve, he sounds like a right prat and I'm wondering who it is - I've a couple of names in mind...(like Wellington, or Orinoco...!)

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  3. I can relate to your pain, C, but what really drives me INSANE is when two or more under-30 people sit anywhere near me and subject me to the filler word "like" after every three words. ("It was like amazing how they like . . . I couldn't believe it like . . .!) Maybe it's a North American thing - Arrrghhh!

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    1. I know what you mean, Marie. Once you latch onto these irritating (to us!) conversational habits in others they become difficult to ignore, don't they?! It's not just a North American thing - it's very prevalent over here too - often used in place of 'said' or 'thought', such as "So he was, like, where are you going? And I was, like, I'm just going to the shop" But no doubt it will be replaced by something else in time, such is the constant evolution of language!

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  4. Well I have to say that at least they were talking. Have you noticed how many couples just sit and seem to stare into space and have nothing left to say to each other. I suppose the 'price of baked beans' is better than nothing at all.....or is it?

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    1. Oh yes that's the other side of it, isn't it? Also the couples who go out to eat and spend all evening on their mobile phones...

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  5. Hell is other people...sometimes...and they've stopped us going to the cinema all together!

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  6. I somehow managed to miss this post altogether until today, but I think Robin Tomens' comment (via JPS) sums it all up rather nicely. A perfectly pleasant evening (be it at the cinema, pub or at a gig) can so easily be adversely affected by just a couple of irritating dullards.

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  7. Robin and The Swede: I couldn't agree more.

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