I have got to stop listening to other people's conversations. It's creepy. But you get so much great material when you do. This morning I saw this young couple--the usual model nowadays: overweight pretty big-mouthed woman and skinny, spotty-faced, grumpy, quiet, staring-out-of-window male--they were sitting on the bus staring into a big buggy that obviously contained a really new baby and discussing what they should call her. "Winifred!" the male said in a rare moment of involvement in the conversation. It was like watching a fish break the surface of a river and then dive back in. "We certainly will not call her Winifred!" the female insisted. Then they started talking about something else. I couldn't hear what the man was saying because he spoke in a whisper. Either he remembered they were on a bus (at least one of them did), or he'd adjusted the level of his voice since getting together with the woman to let the windows and doors settle back on their hinges after she'd finished her latest peroration.(You see it so often in male/ female relationship politics now.) But in response to one of his comments she boomed out, "Well, you can't help that, you've got a short attention span!" "No I haven't," he said, embarrassed into audibility. "Yes you have," she insisted. "You can't keep your mind on anything for more than a few minutes." "Yes I can," he said. And then he lost interest in discussing it and turned his face to the window.
For the rest of the journey I was trying to concentrate on something other than the size of her stomach. It's fascinating how being massively overweight doesn't seem to affect the confidence of some of these women in the way it would have done thirty, twenty, even ten years ago. And a good thing too, although everybody--woman, man or beast--should know when to shut their trap occasionally and give everybody else in the room a chance.