I have a great view of a busy street and people often stop in front of my window to do a variety of things, such as to have a smoke. Or eat a foot long sub. Or have an entire cell phone conversation/ argument with their business partner over an unknown issue that is only alluded to by repetition of the words “sorry” and “tax evasion“.
And I am not complaining. Maybe I am bored or easily distracted, but I love it.
I like to listen to other peoples conversations, not just from my living room, but wherever I go. Great words like ‘inquisitive’ and ‘observant’ are nicer ways of saying ‘nosy’, but I will take all with a grain of salt. Working as a bartender requires the ability to assess and navigate a very thin line. Sometimes people want you to be a part of their conversation or night, sometimes they want you to disappear. I have heard some very intimate words spoken while literally standing right in front of people. And they don’t even realize I am there. Or they have some inherent belief that I am trained to only hear phrases that are pertinent to my busywork.
Nope. I hear it all. I am highly ‘observant’.
I went to a show the other night, and went outside for a dart. Standing a few feet from the door, I overheard a great conversation between the security guards and a couple of young fellas. Young fellas trying to get wristbands for booze with no ID. The security guards refused, and one called the guys Hipsters. The young fellas protested with mild irritation, and asked one of the security guards to define a hipster.
“Someone who makes trends. Who create whats cool.”
I do not second this definition, Mr. Security Guard. Hmmm. Finger scratches head. Aren’t they ones who do things and wear things because it’s so uncool that it could be cool? If the ironic mustache morphs into the ironic soul patch, I will be very disappointed. And sadly, I think I just announced the next trend.
Anyway, the young fellas are quite satisfied with this and elaborate further.
“And take things that are mundane and make them chic.”
Hey, hey, wait a minute guys. You just said ‘chic’. You just motioned to your own wool scarf, worn with confidence on the only 18 degree day this month. One of you is wearing Crocs. Mundane, yes. Chic, no. And I dress for comfort 97% of the time, so I have Croc empathy but no support. My friend Wanda* wears Crocs around her house and she is a very stylish lass.
The conversation went on and the Security Guards and the Hipsters started telling Hipster jokes. They were having a great time. A real connection.
It’s interesting to hear peoples perspectives, especially when defending a group that they somehow belong to. I feel that way when someone calls me a Newfie. Overhearing that conversation made me think about how we immediately focus on the negative. I thought that the Security Guards were making fun of the guys. But they actually think Hipsters are cool. Someone really thought these two dudes were cool. The young fellas felt great. The Security Guards were genuine. Perspectives shifted.
When it’s slow at work, I polish glasses that I have already polished and sometimes try to sneak a read of the Longos Magazine from the grocery store downstairs. The second action only happens if my bar is clear and I can hide it in the dishwasher. During a short slow spurt, I heard the word ‘Newfie’ said from a lady down the bar, and tried to stall my initial reaction of irritation and listen to what she was actually saying.
All lovely things. About her childhood, growing up in Newfoundland.
I may never like the word, I may never say it myself, but context is key. We need to ask questions and pay attention. And not be so hard on each other. Crocs aren’t that bad. Who really cares?*
Like the old yarn about the Hipster and The Security Guard.
I think I would be quite bored if I wasn’t so nosy.
I am going to go look out the window.
*Name nonetheless changed to protect the guilty