I went to McDonalds this morning with my youngest son. He’s still in his twenties and has spent most of the last five years living in Asia. I don’t think he realizes how interesting stories he tells about Asia and its culture and people are.
Sometimes as he talked, he lapsed into Chinese hand gestures for numbers. Their gesture for number 7 is nothing like ours and I giggled as he held up two fingers to indicate the number 7.
When he first came home, he would lapse into Chinese when he was talking to me and I’d remind him that I didn’t understand that language. He’s taught me a few phrases, but unless he’s using those, I have no idea what he’s saying. Still I listen.
The older men in McDonalds were listening today too. I usually sit where a group of them sit in the morning as they enjoy their breakfast together. I miss a male voice and sitting there I hear many of them. However, today as my son talked about some of his experiences in China, the men fell quiet and later my son said they were listening to him. That makes sense.
We listened to them some too. One older man kept circling McDonalds looking for a parking place. I’d had the same problem, so as the other men watched his car go past over and over, they joked about his inability to find a parking space. When the man finally made his way through McDonalds doors, one of the men already there hollered out, “Where did you park?” The man entering replied the name of a town fifteen miles away. My son and I joined in the laughter at the idea of parking that far away and walking back.
I think all of us may easedrop whether we intend to or not from time to time. Some people have more interesting lives. Some people talk about their problems and it makes ours seem smaller by comparision. One lady behind me one day loudly remarked that she had changed her password that morning and then said what she’d changed it to. I grinned at my son and said, “Now, if we only had her ID”, ha, ha.
Sometimes I wonder if people realize others are listening as they talk in public? My son realized the older men were listening to him. Maybe you had to be there, but it was something to think about. Here was a young man with tales and knowledge that the older men hadn’t experienced. And they listened.