Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Always Listening



Every so often, my wife and I find ourselves back down at the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri. We usually make it down there for three or four day holidays during the summer. Once a year I find myself heading the 40 minutes from her parents lake house to the outlet mall. I typically wander over to the wholesale bookstore to see if they have some new books on art or oddly enough illustrated children's books. Even though I don't have children I collect picture books that I find interesting and engaging. However, I'm usually in and out of every store in the mall within 20 minutes. If I'm lucky I’ve picked up two new books.

Unfortunately, my wife isn't as quick to dismiss the shopping experience. So, I tend to look for a table near a densely populated group of people and start sketching. People are the easiest targets, but every once in a while I will start on something that is somewhat time consuming. This allows me to eavesdrop into the mindless conversations people have. It's funny that people think they are in a bubble where no one can hear about their vaginas, how that girl was a total bitch at that party, how some guy had sex with someone who is a whore, and my true favorite, angry political rants.

Political conversations are never quiet. In fact I'm typically 30 feet away from the conversation and can hear ever passionate barking. Most recently on vacation in the Caribbean I heard a set of couples talking about how biased one cable news channel was in comparison to another. While only 30 feet the opposite direction, a different couple discussed how much they hated what the government was doing. Considering how close they were to the beach, I feared that the two groups would collide and create a hurricane of useless bitching.

None the less, I happen upon gems like the one above from outside a chocolate store back in the Lake of the Ozarks. A father and his husky seven-year-old son rounded a corner in an odd conversation. His father was obviously trying to quell his son's angry prejudice and teach him the values he himself lived by. But it was no use, it was, and always will be, fudge that wins the attention and admiration of a fat child.

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