A Disturbing Conversation

This week I am going to share a conversation that I had the privilege of hearing while sitting in a coffee shop. The challenge of sharing this idea presents grammar obstacles that only screenwriters will appreciate. I have quickly decided not to use quotations marks for this eavesdropping dialogue for a couple of reasons. First the shift key on my computer is a little wonky.  Second if this story gets turned into a block buster movie, very little editing will be necessary for the script.

I fear I cannot give the location of this overheard dialogue because eavesdropping is considered kind of rude. In certain parts of our world, this can be labeled as a crime unless you where a badge or have your own YouTube station.

I have changed the names, because that is so much fun to do. What is even more fun to do is add my own dialogue to their conversation, and elevate the quality of this dull two-person exchange to a much more uninteresting three-person exchange.


Ethel:   Are you going to play bridge Tuesday night?

Gertrude: I will, is it at Bertha’s house this month?

Me:   I sure like the new names I have given these little old ladies.

Ethel:   Yes, Bertha said her husband Bartholomew will be at his bowling league so we won’t have to hear the same jokes he tells every time we go there.

Gertrude: Well thank heaven for small mercies. I heard Bartholomew Is on the social committee for this year’s bowling banquet.

Me: Ladies can we just call him Bart, my computer keeps making me spell check Bartholomew.

Ethel: Bart is responsible for the d.j. and the party napkins, it should be a great night.

Gertrude: Last year was so much fun. I hope Bertha dusts that trophy case with all his awards, I noticed last time we were there, the dust was everywhere.

Me: Ladies, lighten up on Bertha’s dusting capabilities, remember she has to cut all the crusts off the sandwiches for the bridge night.  Priorities ladies, priorities.

Ethel:   I sure hope Agnes isn’t my partner this time.

Gertrude: Agnes is the worst player every week, and she always wears the same blouse.

Me: Ladies blouse is just another name for shirt. Men wear shirts not blouses. I bet Bart has a bowling shirt with his name on it.

Ethel: My son got a promotion at the bank.

Gertrude: My daughter just won another award at her company.

Me:   My kids are thinking of moving out of the house.

Ethel: This is his third promotion in the past five years.

Gertrude: My daughter has more awards than Bart, and she doesn’t even bowl.

Me: Your children sound annoying.

Ethel: My son is the Prime Minister of England.

Gertrude: My Daughter is the CEO of Apple.

Me: My kids really like Masters of the Universe.

Ethel: Can you believe this weather?

Gertrude: I can’t believe this weather!

Me: I can’t believe this conversation.

Ethel: My husband Euripides bought a new hammer yesterday.

Gertrude: My Husband Horatio greased the hinges of our garage door this morning.

Me: I am assuming your husbands don’t play bridge.  Oh I just remembered my wife told me to bring her a coffee?

Ethel: Your husband is becoming a grumpy old man.

Gertrude: Your husband drinks too much.

Me: Ladies be nice. I will go get my wife her coffee to go, ladies stop talking for a minute, I don’t want to miss a thing.

Ethel: I think that weird man sitting beside us is listening to our conversation.

Gertrude: I think you’re right, he’ll get his comeuppance when he returns.

Ethel: He probably doesn’t even know what comeuppance means.

Gertrude: He will know very soon.

Me: Okay I am back did I miss anything?

Ethel: You know what I really don’t like?

Gertrude: Belgians?

Me: Hey lay off the Belgians, they made vast improvements to truffles and waffles.

Ethel: No, but a good guess.

Gertrude: Let me try again this is fun.

Me:   Fun is in the eye of the beholder.

Ethel: So any other guesses Gertrude?

Gertrude: Shoelaces?

Me:   Shoelaces???

Ethel: Absolutely right!  Oh Gertrude you know me too well.

Gertrude: That is why we have been friends for over sixty years.

Me: Well your hair certainly has sixty shades of grey

Ethel: Your turn.

Gertrude: Okay you know what I really don’t like?

Me:   I am going to guess belt buckles.

Ethel: Okay if Belgians are not in play here um… Shoehorns?

Gertrude: Very good Ethel, but that was too easy as we did discuss this on the phone yesterday.

Me: Say it ain’t so Joe.  I thought I would add a Shoeless Joe Jackson quote to stay within this new, interesting theme.

Ethel: But you know what we both agree on as our number one thing we despise?

Gertrude: Of course Ethel, it is the core of our friendship.

Me: I am guessing shoe boxes, but I can hardly wait.

Ethel: People who write blogs, but have run out of ideas, so they hang around coffee shops hoping poor little old ladies on a fixed income will inspire them.  I don’t like those people at all and of course the Belgians.

Gertrude: Well said Ethel

Ethel:  Oh I just got a text from my son he got another promotion…He is now the King of England.

Comeuppance complete.

Before you go all “Freedom of Information Act” on me let me suggest there are some conversations that should remain private for the sake of the public.

Perhaps to compensate for the lazy approach this week, I will, with forced effort, extract two lessons from this quotation markless text.

Little Lesson: Little old ladies in coffee shops have earned their right to their privacy.  

Big Lesson:  Sometimes the most disturbing participant in a disturbing conversation is you.

Next week:  Update on the bridge tournament at Bertha’s place.


Cue the Blong:  The Things I say to Ethel.  Yes I actually had an Aunt Ethel.  We tried to write a pretty song for an old lady with a not so pretty name.


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