I do like this time of year. I like the cold, the days getting shorter, blustery winds and leaves falling. Oh yes, and the nights drawing in. One of the benefits of this is being able to look into other people’s houses as they are lit from within. I know, I am incurably nosy. Telling one of my friends about this little hobby (or perhaps hobby is too strong a word and makes me sound really weird), he asks what sort of things I see. It’s all very mundane, really. The interior, so I can see what sort of furniture and decor people have. It’s just interesting to see people going about their daily lives. And before I sound like a serial killer in the making, I only indulge in this pastime as and when the opportunity presents itself – from a car, a bus or train.
Today is a good day for spying. I am off to Liverpool for a 3 day conference and people watching a-plenty. I travel First Class on the train because otherwise it means taking a bus service part way through my journey which sounds hellish. I am looking forward to breakfast on the train with plenty of piping hot coffee. Alas, not today. They can only manage a rather sulky young woman who hands out breakfast boxes which consist of a squashed and overly-sweet chelsea bun, a biscuit and a miniscule packet of dried fruit. Oh, and we get coffee in a paper cup. And no topping up of the said coffee. Given that the weather is cold, coffee or any other hot beverage of your choice, is essential. I am miffed and a bit grumpy by the time I arrive at Stockport. It is freezing and there is a 20 minute wait for the train to Liverpool. A young man sitting next to me is re-joined by his friend who is immediately asked if he has been to have a shit. In case you are on the edge of your seat wondering, no, he hasn’t. He has been doing something else I couldn’t catch.
I do love other people’s conversations, as well. One of my favourites was a man at an airport, talking to someone, presumably his wife/girlfriend/partner, on the phone. It may have been in Amsterdam, for those of you who like to hear every detail. He was having a full-on shouting match with someone and it didn’t just last a minute or two. No, he shouts obscenities into the phone for about 10 minutes and Mr Mason and I are so intrigued by his behaviour, we follow him, like the ninjas we are. Alas, our flight is called and he is not on it so we don’t get to properly make sense of his argument which we were hoping to do. I am always slightly intrigued by people who have loud conversations and/or full-on arguments with people on a mobile phone. I quite understand how valuable the mobile phone is and indeed, make use of one myself, but I cannot imagine Mr Mason would conduct himself in such a way that I think the only recourse is to yell at him whilst on my mobile in a public place. I am not short of incidents or people I find irritating but it’s the public display I am both interested in and repelled by.
I was once told by a friend that she was in a queue at a supermarket and the man behind her was holding a long and very loud conversation on his mobile. She turned round to ask him if he would speak more quietly to see he was, in fact, talking to a can of orange Fanta. She turned around again and let him get on with it.
My colleagues at the conference are plentiful and I am not hampered by knowing many so I will have sufficient time to scrutinise them and do a bit of eavesdropping. Do be careful if you are planning to have a major row on your mobile in the Liverpool area. You never know who may be listening.