While this could be quite a list, I guess I'll just start with a recent conversation I heard on the 22 bus. It doesn't quite have enough dramatic interest to be a dramatic scene, even when reworked as a monologue, but it might make a decent poem ("Queen of the monkeys," perhaps). In general, I know when I am coming out of a funk or a period of intense misanthropy (where I have been dwelling a lot lately, unfortunately) when I start to listen to bus and train conversations, with at least half an ear for recycling the material.
There were two women -- one older, probably late 50s and a younger woman, roughly 30. They knew each other well and were heading to a retirement party (perhaps for the older woman, though I don't believe so). They were facing a young man in his late 20s.
He was telling them about how he was a yoga teacher that led classes in power yoga. They actually talked about this for quite a while, which wasn't that interesting. He did say that this was the best job he had ever had, and that he wasn't sure where it would lead next, but he was enjoying it. The older woman said that you never know, maybe he would teach in California next.
The younger woman asked if he had been to India? The man replied no, but that his teacher was there right now. He hoped to go, as nearly all the yoga instructors end up visiting India at some point.
Apparently, this was really just a set up for her next line, as she was practically jumping out of her skin to talk about her upcoming trip to India where she was going to be the go-between for her boss, who had been to India loads of times and the rest of the group (of some type of social workers perhaps). It seemed like she was working at an NGO. They were going to fly into Mumbai, and then head north after a few days. She went on at some length about how excited she was even though there were so many potential dangers, even tigers.
While the man said there were few tigers in the cities, she said that was true, but she tended to space out and could see herself following a butterfly for an hour and ending up in the wilderness somewhere. (While this seemed unlikely in Mumbai, it might happen in a smaller village in the north.)
Anyway, there was a somewhat interesting discussion about how hard it would be to adjust to the crowding and the smells of India, but that she was looking forward to it anyway. They talked a bit how it would then be fascinating coming back to Vancouver and seeing it in a different light (why is it so empty) for at least a few days.
Finally, the young woman started talking about how creeped out she was by monkeys. And how they would be everywhere (along with the cows), and that she would just have to remember not to carry food outside.
Especially bananas, the young man interjected.
The older woman said you generally were ok with monkeys with longer tails but monkeys with short tails were mean.
The young woman kept going on about monkeys for a while, finally finishing by saying that the trip would be worth it, even if she was attacked by a pack of banana-hungry monkeys. She would just write it down in her diary that "Yep, she forgot and she went outside with a banana."
That is the gist of the conversation, which lasted a lot longer than I imagined. It was a weird mix of intriguing and banal. But that's better than most transit conversations, which are largely or entirely banal. I don't think this will be a regular feature of this blog, but I'll probably return to the theme from time to time.
BTW, this blog hit 15,000 views. I think that is a cool milestone, even though at least some of these are "false hits" due to my somewhat obsessive attempts at tinkering with older posts to polish them, and a lot (half?) are from search engine "spiders." But that's still a lot of actual people viewing these posts over the past couple of years. I've noticed the most popular posts are the Beckmann and Kurelek overviews, as well as some of my early Atwood reviews, particularly the one for Cat's Eye. I don't think I have any posts that I think need to be pinned, but maybe some day.