Assignment 1-1: spend an hour alone in your favorite restaurant (or a restaurant you've always wanted to check out); eavesdrop without being obvious; write notes (on the setting, characters you see and hear; speculate about what came before or after that conversation; imagine their home lives)
I didn't mind that Marla talked more than I. But the reason for that changed over time.
"He worked at the Salvation Army store and although he's going to University and everything, it was just like he was going no where. I couldn't take that, so I told him so."
"A lot of friends I went to University with had extra jobs," I said, irrationally defending Marla's latest victim. "He was going to University, right? He had a future." Irrational not because he wasn't necessarily worth it but because disagreeing with Marla generally encouraged her.
"Maybe in comic books. I mean, he thought wearing Spiderman underwear was cute. Yah, I'm real in the mood."
At first I didn't mind hearing Marla's tales because they were interesting.
"Well what else was he like?" I prompted. Now her tales just saved me from having to speak, myself.
I had realized the difference between Marla and I when one day we ended up talking about our periods (these things just happened with Marla). I'm the type to use euphamisms if I have to discuss it at all. Marla's the type to complain loudly and graphically.
Two years ago when we met at a friend's party I had been intrigued by her. The way she seemed so fearless. Now all I wanted to do was go home. Be anywhere else than listen to her latest tale of her latest failed three month tryst. But it was more than just that. It was realizing you hate pink after buying twelve cans of paint, but using it anyway.
"You know what I mean?" she suddenly asked, mid-ramble. I had no idea what she was talking about.
"MmmHmm," I nodded. How long had I not been paying attention?
But she continued on.
Until she finally looked at her watch some ten minutes later. "Oh shit. I've got to get going." Rising from her chair she collected her jacket. "See you later tonight though, right?"
"Sure." I nodded and she left the small café we'd been lunching at.
As she walked out the door she gave a slight wave backwards.
Why couldn't I do that?