Spontaneous conversation observations

I was having an early breakfast at a McDonalds this morning. I often enjoy the breakfast crowd, because the conversations I overhear are often quite different than other times during the day.

Today I got a treat. A women seated next to me was enjoying a big breakfast platter alone and content, when another woman walked by and recognized her.  They sparked up a full conversation of social chit chat, all the while, the second lady stood in the middle prime travel area of the dining room.

It started with; “Do you come here on your day off,  or are you on break?”

It quickly became obvious that the seated lady worked here, and was happily enjoying her previously quiet break time.  Now she was thrust into a forced polite conversation with someone I assume was not a close acquaintance but rather, just a McDonalds customer that recognized her.

Eventually, the second lady took her seat reasonably distant from the first lady, but continued to chat away at a higher than usual volume voice level, almost yelling across the distance between the two tables.

I noticed the woman on break was giving off social cues and clear body language of being trapped.  The poor woman was on break from this,  and yet still forced to smile and be friendly and social.

As a hobby over-listener,  I too got to hear it all and watch the scene unfold.  Not just me of course. Half the restaurant could hear the conversation. We all got to learn all about this McDonalds staff member’s life.

Eventually she’d had enough. She needed an out. She finished chewing and stood up quickly.  “Well, enjoy your day.” she spoke,  and then dumped her trash and shot outside to smoke.  Whoosh. She was out the door enjoying the rest of her break in peace in the shade of a nearby tree.

The moral of this story, is that smoking has hidden benefits.

Eating Alone at McDonalds

Eating alone is something you get used to after a while.  You find ways to amuse yourself, or feel less self conscious. I used to only ever eat alone at counter-pay places, but never at restaurant where I sit and order from wait staff.

Today, I was eating breakfast at McDonalds.

One of my favourite things to do us just sit,  watch and listen. This is especially fun at breakfast time.  McDonalds in the morning is dominated by old people. Seniors sitting around eating their McDonalds breakfast are entertaining.

Today,  on my way to a business meeting,  I stopped off at a McDonalds. I feel no shame in admitting I enjoy their breakfasts, both in taste, and environment.

Today was a Saturday, and the place packed to capacity. I actually had to wait for a table,  but sadly the location was in a Chinese neighborhood and the restaurant was fully packed with people,  both young and old, all speaking Chinese.

That’s no fun. Overhearing people speaking a different language is not entertaining at all. To an English speaker, people speaking Chinese sound exactly like another English speaker mocking it.  Gibberish words and lots of ahhh sounds.

Zeppelin: I have lived almost 50 years and today is the first day ever,  that I discovered gibberish is spelled with a g, not a j. To me, the Chinese language seems a little louder than English, and so from my table,  I could overhear conversations from no less than four tables. Sadly,  I could not understand a word.

Sometimes when you listen to foreigners talking in their language, you can still pick out newer words, or technology words they may not know the translations for.  Your ears trigger on terms like APPLE or iPHONE or MICROSOFT WINDOWS in between the other words.  Todays restaurant cliental were all these were seniors, so they were probably not discussing much modern technology. No random English words crept in.  Nothing. Just Chinese.

I felt alone in a crowd.

I suppose I am supposed to understand what it might feel like to be a foreigner in a regular English speaking McDonalds.