Another valuable skill that my writing courses have emphasized over and over again is to have all one’s senses attuned to the everyday.
Being a naturally nosey eaves-dropper I find this one skill very easy to do. I can't do maths but I sure can listen and remember!
So here are actual bits of conversations heard in the last 24 hours. In my writer-ly way I have filed them mentally under, "s for snippets".
1. On the train going to work:
Woman using her mobile phone in the packed train: “Ok, don’t tell anyone right? Just between you and me, ok? Promise not to tell anyone ok? It’s so a secret, ok? Just us knowing, right? Just you and me…. Promise? Ok, here it is… Oh. My. God. Susie’s having an… you ready for this.. yeah, yeah, Susie! She’s havin' it off with.. yeah, that’s the one, yeah, oh my God. But it’s a secret ok? No-one knows but us!”
2. Queuing for my coffee:
Daughter: But I don’t want to go the toilet.
Dad: Yes you do, now go on
Daughter: but I don’t feel like going.
Dad: You may not now but you know you will once we get on that train, so go now.
3. Waiting for the tube train:
Teenager speaking on her mobile phone, crying: It hurts though, it really does… well I don’t know… well that’s what he said… he said he just couldn’t see the point… he said that he tried but that… I wasn’t… yeah, yeah… but… he… yeah, oh I don’t know, I love him and I didn’t… he said he just wanted a break, but I don’t understand… yeah, I know, I know… yeah… yeah… but why does it hurt so much?
4. Shopping in Waitrose:
Man (holding basket, full)standing by the veg counter: Why do we need more potatoes?
Woman (with trolley, full)standing further down by the meat counter: What do you mean why?
Man: We’ve already got potatoes
Woman: Well we need some more.
Man: Why do we need some more?
Woman: I just need more potatoes ok?
Man (voice rising): We’ve got potatoes
Woman (voice rising): I need more potatoes for God’s sakes why are you arguing about the bloody potatoes
Man: Because we’ve already got some, so stop yelling
Woman: This is going to be a special dinner, for a special occasion and I need more bloody potatoes!