Diner Conversations

The waitress is looking for a screwdriver. A Phillips screwdriver in particular. Thankfully, there is a group of what can only be described as “good ol’ boys” sitting behind me. One of them gets up because he has a screwdriver in the truck. 

The day has been saved. 

Now one of them is regaling the group with a horrifying story of a seventeen year old “punk” who shot and killed a Marine. Apparently, when the boy was questioned he had a “shit-eating grin,” and then he confessed. The boy’s parents were charged as accessories to the crime. There is something about a car that was stolen. This car is now “sitting on my lot.” 

These guys are now discussing the price of holding a car in impound. Apparently, it costs $111 to hookup to a car and only $18 per day. If you are overcharged you have to pay the bill then turn in the impound lot that overcharged. 

Now, the story is starting over and his friends are loudly telling him to “shut the hell up.” They don’t remember this incident and I don’t think they are buying his story. 

Now they are discussing John and Adam Walsh. This is proving to be a pretty interesting conversation. 

He got sidetracked. He wants to talk about Dan Brown books now. This is apparently the most literary conversation these guys have. 

Wait for it…. He just said “I shit you not.” 

My day has been made. 

PS: forgot to post this back in August when it was relevant. So, now it’s just a hilarious memory from Oklahoma. 

Stranger Conversations

When you are far away from everyone you love, you find ways to be part of humanity. Sometimes it is just eavesdropping on conversations while you are sitting alone in a booth having your spinach and mushroom omelette. 

The two men over my left shoulder are talking about baseball. Correction: they are discussing baseball with a fervor and passion I usually reserve for music, movies, and my beloved Texas Tech Red Raiders. I’m not going to lie, I have no idea where all these ideas are coming from. They sound like scholars who have spent an extraordinary amount of time dedicated to studying the diamond. 

I have purposefully not turned to put a face to the voices. I am enjoying the mystery. I imagine them in jeans, baseball caps, and work boots of some sort. They both have booming, resonate voices which makes me feel like they are not small men. Graying goatees and hair that is just a touch too long to be fussy. 

It’s early on a Saturday morning so they are not so young that they can’t control how much they drink on Friday night, so they are not hungover. One of them probably has a pack of cigarettes in his shirt pocket. The other one is a non-smoker. 

They speak with an intimacy and have many shared memories and reference points, perhaps they are brothers who meet up once a week for breakfast. That’s a nice thought. 

Trades, pitchers, ball fields, Red Socks, Dodgers, Angels, and Rangers. Injuries and errors. The Draft. College. Batting stance and the eye. National League and the other one. Fourteen at bats. Cleveland’s outfielders. 

Maybe I should start learning more about baseball. You can carry on quite a conversation about first base. I don’t even think they are using it as a euphemism. 

I am nearly finished with my meal. Soon, I will need to stand up to leave. Do I avoid glancing to my left, or do I scope my entertainment out? The suspense is killing me. Maybe I will drop something so I can see if my mind’s eye is close. Maybe I should continue to build the mystery. 

Should I give these men names? Tom and Steve. (Those sound like fairly unassuming names for strangers you will never meet.) Toronto… They are talking about Canada! I love Canada. Oh, there is a baseball team there. I wish they would talk about something else. 

Ack! Now, they are talking more quietly! The conversation must be more interesting. Nope, it was the Yankees. Is there some conspiracy involving stolen bases and a World Series? What the hell are these dudes talking about? Now, back to the Red Socks. Math and numbers. Agents and contracts. 

Manning??? Isn’t he a football dude? Both of them! What the hell? You can’t switch sports in the middle of the conversation. Right handed hitter. Must not have said Manning. Arm span and height. Gee. There are so many boring things to say about America’s favorite pastime.

These guys are baseball spies! Insider trading! Stolen bases and laundered uniforms. Who do you call to report these crimes? 

Okay, I know. I’m not that funny. They sure talk about a lot of aspects about the game. They must watch SportsCenter. 

Update: I looked. Very average older gentleman. No goatees. Baseball caps in place. Hair DOES look a smidge shaggy. They look nice.