I came to Panera super early because I had a lot of articles and blogs to write. I can’t focus at my house because there are too many soft blankets and Netflix devices, so I have to go elsewhere to get anything done. This morning I am here at 7am because I have a ton of work to do this weekend…but that is clearly not going to happen.
An older couple have just taken up the booth beside me. They sat in awkward silence for a moment before they realized they had nothing to say to each other and they pulled out their phones to dial in more people. Because loud skype calls in quiet public places is apparently a thing now. Who knew?
They chose to call their son, because who wouldn’t appreciate an early morning face chat with their parents and the complete strangers in the restaurant around them.
Their son has a baby. The baby is screaming. I don’t mean lightly fussy, I mean SCREAMING across the line that is pushed up to full volume.
They are doing that yell-talk thing that people who don’t understand cell phones do, because apparently they don’t understand that they aren’t on a walkie-talkie in a war zone. But I will let you in on a little known fact: that tiny little super computer in your hand is hooked up to satellites and mysterious internet things that enable you to talk in a normal clear voice and be heard perfectly by the other person. You are not holding two cans attached to a string. You do not have to yell.
I can’t see what the baby is doing but luckily his father is giving me the play by play and Grandma-Inconsiderate is echoing his words:
“He’s reaching for a ball” – “Are you reaching for a ball? Grandma sees you!”
“He’s a little fussy” – “Oh Mr. Grumpy pants, are you being fussy?”
“He thinks this conversation is pissing off the girl in the booth behind us” – “Oooh, he’s so cute with his basic social considerations and manners.”
Now they are literally just blowing raspberries at each other. Both grandparents in this booth, both parents on the phone, all blowing raspberries. The baby isn’t participating because even he thinks this is weird.
Grandpa in the booth just said the following sentence and I have to admit it’s making me re-evaluate him: “After you’ve been married for as long as we have you just high five…and then I have a cigarette.” I’m torn, because I generally don’t like them for their rudeness, but at the same time that was the perfect sentence and now I think I want to be friends with him. Also, I will never high five anyone again without thinking “was it as good for you as it was for me”. That makes this all worthwhile.
They say they are going golfing if it doesn’t rain. I wonder if they know it isn’t raining now. I wonder if they know we aren’t being held hostage here and they are free to leave any time that they choose.
Nana is going to have to be moved into a temporary home. They all say they’re real worried about it. I’m not going to lie, they don’t seem worried. Poor Nana. Is somebody checking on Nana? Nana, are you in a safe place?
Oh geez, now they are just talking about golf. I want to be there for you guys as a responsible blogger and keep eavesdropping for you, but I can’t force myself to listen to a conversation about golf. I don’t hate myself enough. Until they are done I will be watching this:
I called my mom just to see if somebody else speaking out loud in a quiet room would alert them to how loud they are being. It turns out NO, but they did get louder to talk over me. So I suppose that got away from me a little bit.
Okay, I’d really like to get back to work so I need them to go ahead and leave. If my calculations are correct than the way to get them to leave would be to play this song:
Nope, it backfired again. They got louder. Apparently there IS a decibel above “obnoxious” and “are you f**king kidding me, you are still talking?”.
They are still talking about golf. They think that what’s-his-face at the club cheated because he beat them, and who could ever defeat their perfection without teaming up with sinister forces?
Whooo, they finally ended the call and are getting ready to leave, but wait they stopped? Why have they stopped? No please keep going!!!
They just stopped to apologize to the booth behind me for being rude, so apparently they aren’t completely unaware that they are bothering the world, they just don’t give a f**k!
They were supposed to be leaving…but now they have decided to stay and talk to the couple in this booth…because they hate me and they don’t want me to finish these articles and get them submitted so I can make some cash-money and not have to live on the street. Wow random couple, way to go the extra mile to ruin a young girls dreams of a better life.
They finally left and not even 2 MINUTES AFTER THEY STEPPED OUT their new best friends in the booth behind me turned on their phone navigations and started typing in different scenarios to see if this was a trip they might ever want to take. Please note that I did not say “a trip that they ARE taking”. They are just typing in random destinations out of curiosity to see how far away they are. If you are interested they have decided to not go to Boston, New Mexico, Quebec, and Japan on road trips.
Jeepers mother of craptastic mornings, a 3rd person just arrived that is friends with this second couple. Confused yet by the changing cast? Me too because they all look the same. Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Tracy, that is ageist. You can’t just say that they all look the same to you.” Um, I can and I will. Don’t you judge me while I’m judging!
Also, what is this place that everybody knows each other so well? When I try to leave are they going to throw stones at me because I’m an outsider?
They’re now all arguing about the proper way to say “Sudoku”. I suppose I wasn’t aware that there was controversy over that, but there certainly is. They have settled on SUDAKA (pronounced soo-dah-kah) and they all feel pretty confident that sounds right. And honest to God I have forgotten how to properly say it after this conversation.
Okay, I am literally biting my lip as I try not to laugh out loud. They are now all huddled around one phone trying as a team to try to figure out how to send an email.
Oh for frick’s sake! Three more people just showed up! We are now up to 6 people in that booth, now all trying to figure out an email. And I will never stop laughing.
They just hit reply all. I know because now they are trying to undo it. I’m going to give them a few minutes of hope before I go over and explain to them how the internet works.
Frank has lost some weight. Doris thinks that she has found them. They all think they are hilarious. I think I have to get off my early bird schedule and start waking up at noon when they are all having dinner so I can avoid this in the future.
Do road’s not lead out of this town? Is that why everybody knows everybody? Once you enter are you not allowed to leave again? If you don’t see me again it’s because I am being held at a Panera and not allowed to leave.
I came here to do something right? I feel like I was working on something before my stories started.
I kid you not, another person just showed up. Seven people huddled in this booth. Our newcomer is pretty sure that if you just shut the phone off all together and then turn it back on that the email will work properly. I’m just waiting for someone to suggest blowing on it. Also, the scene looks like this:
It’s like the last supper, if Jesus and the apostles were totally baffled by the concept of a phone.
You won’t believe me but I promise to you that I will never lie to you, and I am not lying to you now…another person just arrived. It’s possible that I am wrong about this whole situation and I am actually at their 70th high school reunion.
I want to stay and keep chronicaling this for you, but not as badly as I need to get out of here before I have a rage stroke from listening to them discussing the “new fangled technology these days” and “why are there so many buttons” (spoiler alert, the iphone you are holding only has one button), and “why does siri never understand what I’m saying” and “maybe if you talk louder it will work” and “I remember when you just had one phone hanging in the kitchen and you didn’t need this nonsense” and “why is the screen blurry…no, my eyes are fine, it’s the damn phone that’s blurry”. I wish I was exaggerating.
Thank you for joining us for this second installment of Tracy eavesdropping on loud people in public places. You can find the first installment here: FIRST DATE EAVESDROPPING