Back from a two week dry spell, I’m back to discussing all the people I’ve met. The lack of writing might be because I was out there: on the street, in the trains, listening intently to their conversations. While I did meet some interesting characters in those two weeks, one of them is almost too painful to talk about – I’ll have to wait until I can fully process his persona. So the focus of this post is on those that I never actually met – I can only just imagine their spunk.
Hearing snippets of the conversation of strangers often times feelings like your trespassing. Invasive, to an extent. A few years ago, when cell phones were just coming out, I remember my mom getting home from the grocery store. She was horrified at a woman talking on her cell phone in public. Apparently, she exposed my mother to some of her intimacies that she would have rather never heard. “You wouldn’t believe this woman’s conversation! She was on her cell phone, as if no one else is around. People talk on those things like no one is listening,” my mom reported.
Unlike my mother, I relish hearing the personal details of someone’s last big dump. Or perhaps the reason why they haven’t told their mother-in-law exactly why they weren’t late for dinner last week. For three months in Melbourne, it’s an understatement I’m disappointed at the lack of outrageous things I’ve heard. It’s no La Gente Anda Diciendo, overheard conversations in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where the sarcastic, quick witted and often outright ridiculously thought out logic creates out of context hilarity.
I’ve purposely left my headphones out of my ears on public transportation and been especially observant to those on phones. The weirdest thing to happen to me (besides everything that’s ever happened on the 57 tram- more to come soon) was watching an elderly man with black hair and tanned skin occasionally raise his arm and maintain it for no shorter than 10 seconds. Each time he raised his hands, he put his fingers in different positions: once in an alien hands position, another as if he was doing Indian classical dance, once more with all but the thumb raised.
No speech. No weird noises. No intimate details or inappropriate slander. Just finger raising for no apparent reason. They’re a silent bunch, these Melbournians. For those who did find it in themselves to speak in public, they said great things:
1- I got invited to a 90s themed party, but everyone in Melbourne already dresses like it’s the 90s…
I couldn’t agree more. And in fact, how on earth do you have any sort of themed party here, as everyone dresses so creatively all the time? Ah, the stress of being on the tram going to party.
2- I’ve seen nuns do bad things in movies
They’re more than just just your typical cookie-cutter, “shut up and dance b****” party goers, now aren’t they? You would say such a thing, you movie critic with a beard in Fitzroy, you!
3- Suck mi’ cock!
Best said by a 75-year-old feisty drunk…on where else? The 57. I told you, more stories to come.
4- I’m never having sex again!
Despite my concerns for this young girl’s sexual health, I couldn’t help but be highly curious as to WHY, WHAT HAPPENED? If I wasn’t walking out of my hostel in Carlton with a suitcase made for judgement from other “light packing backpackers” I would have chased her down, or at least followed her for a few blocks.
5- You’re wearing sunnies on a train you dumb c***!
The least annoying thing to come out of a group of 18-year-old boys’ mouths on the Sandringham line and thus made it to this list. Other annoying things boys this age do: pick up pants on the side of the tracks and wear them. Take selfies with those pants. Do pull up on the train’s bars. Stroke their long, greasy hair. Sidenote: If the c-word bothers you, move to Australia, and you’ll soon feel like it was meant to be part of your daily vocabulary all along.
6- This bathroom smells like cucumber!
Honey, yes you, 13-year-old girl in a school uniform at Federation Square, put down your survey and realize this: If the bathroom smells like cucumber, count your blessings. Based on the bathrooms I’ve frequented, and even the outside toilets I refer to as my second home, cucumber is the best thing that could have exploded in those stalls. (The girl did, by the way, use the term “bathroom.” I know this is correct because I immediately wrote it down while I was in the stall next to her.)
What have you overheard? What’s the most outrageous?
This post is part of weekly series titled Character Tuesday, where every Tuesday I bring you a story about (a) unique individual(s) I’ve encountered. Like I always say, life can be good or bad, but as long as it’s entertaining, that’s all you need. This series is meant to celebrate our quirks and idiosyncrasies