Public transport is really the most amazing invention in the world ever*. (*Probably not.) But it’s one of the best places to people watch, and eavesdrop on their conversations. I mean, not eavesdrop, I mean..
Nope, there’s no good way of saying that.
You guys remember that time I overheard some epic teenage wisdom? Yeah..that was highly enjoyable:
Boy 2: Driving’s so complicated though. You have to put your foot down-
Boy 1 (eager to display his knowledge): On the gas!
Boy 2 (patient, long-suffering): No, on the clutch pedal. And then you have to use the gear lever-
Boy 1: And the gas!
Boy 2: No – then it’s- [Having got confused, he switches to a different tack.] Manuals are so complicated though. You have to do it all again when you change to a different gear, and then as soon as you’ve done that you have to go up to a different gear, and then again, all the way up to sixth! No… [a world-weary sigh] I much prefer automatics.
Boy 1 (rather lost): Yeah…
Last weekend I overheard more amazingness from the mouths of fellow travellers in this fine city.
I was on the train, and about to press Play on my iPod, when I decided to listen in to the loud phone conversation occurring in the seat behind me. The speaker is a guy who’s probably about 19. He’s a student, not a racist (yaysers), and has a few problems with his possible future father-in-law.
‘Yeah, I’ll probably work until April, then concentrate on my exams.’
A man with a plan: this is good.
‘No, I’m fine, I just need to get some more work – I’ll probably go back to the pub for a bit.’
I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt, and assume he means go back to working in the pub. Not drinking in the pub.
‘It’s just…it’s really tough, you know? All the other people on the course have been studying Classics since they were, like, eleven. And I didn’t do that well in my last essay. Well, it was ok, but it wasn’t great.’
We’re about to find out where he stands on the great divide that separates all people: what they consider to be an ‘ok’ essay mark and what they deem ‘great’.
Essay excuses for the student of today
‘I was doing another essay at the same time, you see, and…’
*cough* EXCUSES *cough*
‘They said it was good, like the actual content was good, but it wasn’t properly structured. Like, they liked the points I made but thought they weren’t developed enough.’
This sounds plausible. Definitely something a university lecturer would say.
‘So I got a 59. A 60 is a 2:1, and I got a 59, so they were saying I was just under 2:1 standard.’
Ditto. Also, see above re ok vs great marks. Interesting.
‘No, honestly Nan, I’ll be fine.’
Nan! This surprises me. I am very prejudiced, obvi, and don’t expect a 19-year-old student to be having such a candid conversation with his grandmother. Unless he..has a girlfriend called Nan? That would be weird.
‘No, she’s ok, her father will sort it out. Yeah, yeah, great. It’s still a bit awkward with her dad though.’
INTRIGUED. Tell me more. (He is probs talking to his grandmother not his girlfriend.)
Mysteries of universe solved, whew
‘I just don’t really..it’s hard to have a normal chat, you know?’
I do know. But what is normal, anyway? Let us ponder existentialism and shiz for a while.
‘I don’t..I don’t know what makes him laugh.’
Oh, ok, that’s what normal is. Existentialism? Forget I said anything.
‘Her mum’s fine, I’ve got her sussed out.’
Excuse me while I try to cover up an exclamation along the lines of TCHAH. You think you have your future mother-in-law sussed out? I’ve never met the woman (or you) but I think the likelihood of this being true is slim to none. Actually, none.
‘But her dad..it’s not that he doesn’t like me, he does, but it’s just that he’s young and I’m old.’
Reactions to this: a) Mystery of the universe solved, erryone, look no further; and b) You’re talking to your Nan, who is presumably old..but it’s kinda sweet that you don’t put her in the same bracket as your future father-in-law, who is OLD.
Racists = bad
‘You know Liam’s in the EDL? I don’t know what’s wrong with him.’
ME NEITHER. Liam = rubbish. Get rid of him. Do. Not. Want.
‘They’re all just..they don’t get it do they Nan. They don’t see the world, they’re so narrow-minded, they just don’t get it.’
And then my delightful conversationalist got off the train at Clapham Junction.
The moral of this story, kids, is three-fold:
- Drinking in pubs can seriously damage your essay grades,
- Mothers in law are harder to understand than fathers in law. You just don’t think they are,
- Never listen to music on public transport, otherwise you’ll miss inspiration for a blog post.