Retire Mechanical engineer. Student at California State university Channel Island studiyingAbout Me

July 25, 2015

The Conversation

I think it safe to say that I am good in observing what is around me, especially in restaurants and other public places, and I have this habit of listening to other people's conversations.

When I lived in England, my landlady, given the title of Lady by the Queen, continually reminded me that it was rude to listen to what others were talking about.

I tried not to, but I just couldn't stop.  Whenever I was sitting next to someone engaged in conversation, it was impossible for me not to eavesdrop.

Years later, in one of my acting classes, I learned that listening is part of the writing; actually the very essence of writing. Why is it important to know that listening matters? It is for writers to be better writers.

On a side note, my mother-in law, who was an accomplished writer, also loved to observe and listen to conversations wherever she was. I now firmly believe that all writers are listeners and observers of what is around them.

During our recent transatlantic crossing, I witnessed and became caught up in a forgotten memory.

I must first explain that my wife is a very systematic, organized woman. Her routine is to retire early and get up early. My habits are just the opposite. It is very seldom that I get to bed before midnight and usually do not wake before eight in the morning.

During our cruise, after my wife was in bed, I enjoyed listening to guitar music in one of the many lounges onboard. One evening I ended up sitting next to a couple, or at least I thought they were a couple.

The lady was perhaps in her mid-forties and she was trying to persuade her male companion to go up on deck, which would have been mostly deserted and this late hour. It was not hard to imagine what she had in mind. For some reason, I guessed that they were both married, but not to each other.

As I sat and listened to their conversation, I was transported back to another cruise not too long ago. I was sitting next to a younger woman listening to a trio play classical music. After the session was over, to my surprise, the woman leaned over towards me and started a conversation.

"Oh, what a beautiful night," she said, demurely.

"It is, indeed," I replied.

"Do you want to go up on deck?" she asked.

Uh oh. Does this woman think she knows me? That we are friends and have some kind of history together?

"Oh, well, why not. To do what, though?"  I decided to play along, curious as to what she had in mind.

"To watch the moon, silly."

Before I could respond, she continued, apparently irritated with me for some reason, or perhaps she had had too many glasses of wine.

"I don't care. I just want to go watch the moon. All men are alike."

"What do you mean?"

"Men just don't understand." She sipped her red wine. "Here I am offering you the very essence of my being. What else could I possibly mean?"

"Am I supposed to guess what you mean?"

"Really! What do you think I mean?"

"Look, Miss.  I know that women are more intuitive then men; sometimes they are much smarter than men. I get that, but I think, since we are not teenagers, why don't we come out and say what we mean. Why beat around the bush?"

"That is so typical of a man. I told you, men don't understand."

"I think I understand, but you want to stay on the safe side, in case."

"In case what?"

"Contrary to what you believe about men, some men are intuitive too."

"I am glad to hear that."

"Okay. You stay on the safe side and let me tell you what I think."

"Go right ahead."

"I am assuming that you have a partner or spouse or someone; you are not alone in this cruise. For some reason, he is not here right now and your body wants something. For you to invite me up on deck, you want same romantic action."

"You hit the nail on the head."

With that, she crossed her leg, exposing her tiny bikini underwear. I tried not to pay any attention, continuing my thought before it slipped completely out of my head.

"Here is the difference between men and women. I would have said, 'Let's go up on deck. Maybe, who knows, things will progress to a new level and we may make love under the moon. That is, if your marriage is strong enough to take a little spice.'"

"Wow! That is so romantic."

"But, if I had said that, I would have made myself vulnerable. You could have said, 'You perverted, sick son-of-a-bitch.'  I think you want men to guess what you mean. To women, no means maybe and maybe means yes. You know, play it safe."

"You are cute!"

"You see what I mean? What you are really saying is, 'Let’s go up on deck, watch the moon, and have sex."

"What's wrong with that? I say, life is short, so take what you can."

"Very philosophical and realistic. But, I have a wife who is my soulmate, who still electrifies me whenever she is close to me and my feelings have not changed towards her. No offense, you are a good looking woman, but I must let this opportunity go. My woman is sleeping in her bed and I am going to join her. How I desire to make love to her, you have no clue."

To be quite honest, this woman did not interest me and when she initiated the conversation, I was immediately turned off. In reality I have never liked women who are hard and brassy, have never been attracted them. I will know it, especially now, I can see right through them.

I watched as a look of surprise and then embarrassment crossed her face. With that, I stood, turned and walked away.