Monday, March 27, 2006

overheard in 1369

A blog (well, it's not really a blog, but anyway, you know what I mean) that I periodically visit and think is an absolutely brilliant concept is 'Overheard in New York'. Boston isn't nearly as fertile ground for overherd conversations, partly because I actually do think that there's something about it (and perhaps New England in general) which makes people here relatively taciturn: for example, I've had (and overheard) many more conversations on the subway in New York, and I certainly have never, ever had an actual conversation with a random person in the T, whereas large parts of my trips to NYC seem to be spent with some random old man on a subway train telling me about how his entire family of fourteen is now in the US but really, all he wants is to be back in Sylhet. Or something along those lines.

However - and this was the point of this post - even in reserved Boston there are some places, few and far between though they may be, where it is possible, or even normal, to strike up a conversation with people one doesn't actually know. One such is the cafe where I am sitting right now, 1369 in inman square. it's something of a hipster-meets-hippie-holdover-from-the-sixties-meets-graduate-student-meets-anyone-who-dislikes-starbucks
kinda place, and I have spent many entertaining aftenoons and evenings here, eavesdropping on snippets of intense convo which are often considerably more interesting that the 'duuude, did you see what he, like, was wearing?' type of conversation which is by and large all I ever seem to hear on the street. Have also had several entertaining conversations here myself, including one recently with a very pretty half-Iranian-half-Boston-Irish woman who was doing her Hindi homework (!!) and fed me raspberries and told me about her time in Iran and so forth. She also tried to invent a wholly incorrect Persian etymology for my name, which was amusing.

Then there is the middle-aged Englishwoman, probably lesbian (or at leat reasonably butch, but with a femme past) who is often here and talks A LOT. To random people. Including this very nice middle-aged Dutch lesbian academic (I love the way I'm imputing sexual orientation to people solely based on bits of overheard conversation, sso basically based on their look/style/manner of speaking) who I think is really keen to get some work done but loud Englishwoman is intent on disturbing her every minute or two with some remark or the other about the weather (which is, admittedly, lovely). I suppose some things never change: you can take a woman out of England, but you can't expect her to stop talking about the weather.

And then there are the people who border on slightly freaky (but in a non-threatening way). The very obsese old man who talks like a mix betwen a slightly learning-disabled 10-year-old and Truman Capote (by which, of course, I mean Phillip Seymour Hoffman, since I haven't actually heard Capote speak), dances around on his seat, and writes strange poetry. The other obese man who is here all the time and sort of bounces around to the music. He is eitherhomeless or semi-nomadic, since he always carries many plastic bags with all manner of oddities in them.

There's actually quite a crowd of old people here today, as I suppose must be the case on most weekday afternoons. It's quite charming how they seem to treat this place as an sort of social club. Makes me think Cambridge MA might not be a bad place to retire to.

Trust me to think about retirement before I have a career. If I don't get back to work, I won't have one, either, apart from Perpetual Procastinator, at which career I am now a veteran. I was rather amused the other day when over msn an old friend from school, who knew me in the days when I cared about such things as exam results, said 'Oh, but you always know how to get things done'.

Ha. If only he knew how wrong he was. Still, no excuses. Off to work it is.


Blogger scout said...

I love overheard in new york. It's hilarious.
And I sit in coffee shops and listen to conversations too.. while I pretend to read.
Very amusing post. :D

4:05 AM  

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