Tuesday, August 15, 2006

An intimate conversation with 20 people

The Piccadilly line train heading westward out of London was fairly full last Friday. I was fortunate to have a seat; several people were standing around me. I had my mp3 player on but it was a radio show and at a low volume so I could also hear everything that was going on in the carriage. I became aware of one woman speaking quite loudly into a mobile, and found that not only was she effortlessly overriding the voices in my headphones, but several others were listening, and reacting, too.

She was talking to a husband or lover. She wanted him to take her out but it seemed he wanted to play rugby with his mates. If he came in late there was some food in the fridge.

The woman was aware that gradually we were all paying attention to her. She said something like “everyone’s listening, this is embarrassing” and a woman seated opposite interjected “Tell him to take you out”. The caller handed the phone across and said “you tell him”. The second woman spoke into the phone “take her out”. At this point everyone close enough to see was agog. The caller said “As a black woman I don’t go red very easily but I am now”. Then she said to us all “He’s got all his mates listening”.

I suggested we take a vote on it and there seemed to be general support for her position. The second woman handed the phone back and the caller invited us all to say goodbye to her boyfriend, which we did with a rousing cheer.

Nice to be able to sort the social lives of total strangers.

No comments:

Post a Comment