Tag Archives: overheard

529. Overheard conversation VI

529tomboy

(This the final in this little series of “Overheard conversations”. I’ve just spent a week in a hospital ward – a mixed ward, men and women. It can become tedious, so I jotted down some overheard conversations; some on the phone, some with visitors, some with other patients, some seemingly spoken into thin audienceless air. Slightly edited!)

Before I had the kiddies I always imagined I’d be Conan the Barbarian or something. Going round shooting up everything. The kiddies put a stop to that. Diapers stop everything. We gave Jarrod a gun for Christmas. Everyone said you don’t give boys guns anymore, and we gave Charlotte a doll. Give Jarrod the doll, they said, and Charlotte the gun. But I still think boys are blue and girls are pink, don’t you? I’m sorry, but that’s the way I was brought up. Some people dress them in yellow, but that’s cowardly. It didn’t matter anyway, because Charlotte played with the gun and rode motor bikes and Jarrod played Doctors and Nurses with the doll. He’s left home. We never hear from him now – where he is or what he’s doing. I think he might be in Auckland. He never brought his friends home. He might be married now, for all I know. But surely not. Surely we’d be asked to the wedding. Or he could be living in sin. Wouldn’t that be nice? At least he’d be happy. Living with a girl. A very pretty girl. I hope she’s pretty. They don’t call it living in sin anymore, but, my God, it would be better than anything – but he’s not. He won’t be. Once bitten twice shy. But once bitten and you’re dead, O Lord, you’re dead. Caught! Like a fish in a net. Caught! Caught! You’re trapped. Before I had the kiddies. Before I had the kiddies. Before I had the kiddies. Would you shut up, Barbara. Before I had the kiddies. Shut up, Barbara! Oh, the things I would get up to! Climbing trees, and riding horses. I was a regular Tom Boy. “You’re a regular little Tom Boy”, my grandmother used to say. “A regular little Tom Boy”. Isn’t that funny?

528. Overheard conversation V

528fishnchips

(This is the 5th of 6 in this “Overheard conversation” series. I’ve just spent a week in a hospital ward – a mixed ward, men and women. It can become tedious, so I jotted down some overheard conversations; some on the phone, some with visitors, some with other patients, some seemingly spoken into thin audienceless air. Slightly edited!)

Margaret (to visitor #1): You wouldn’t believe what they served us for dinner two nights ago! Fish and chips! That’s fish with batter! Batter! And fried chips! That’s the last thing Lydia over there wants. She’s in here to have a pacemaker put in! Fish and chips in the coronary care unit! Take a good look at Lydia. You’ll never see one like her again. She’s as rare as hen’s teeth. Her heart’s on the wrong side. It only happens in one in millions. Have a good look! And they gave her fish and chips! And Andrew in the corner. He’s in for angioplasty. And they gave him fish and chips! That won’t help his bowel movements. I heard him tell the nurse this morning that had hasn’t had a crap for two days. They’re thinking of giving him a pill so the stool can pass easily. And then there’s…

Margaret (to visitor #2): You wouldn’t believe what they served us for dinner two nights ago! Fish and chips! That’s fish with batter! Batter! And fried chips! That’s the last thing Lydia over there wants. She’s in here to have a pacemaker put in! Fish and chips in the coronary care unit! Take a good look at Lydia. You’ll never see one like her again. She’s as rare as hen’s teeth. Her heart’s on the wrong side. It only happens in one in millions. Have a good look! And they gave her fish and chips! And Andrew in the corner. He’s in for angioplasty. And they gave him fish and chips! That won’t help his bowel movements. I heard him tell the nurse this morning that had hasn’t had a crap for two days. They’re thinking of giving him a pill so the stool can pass easily. And then there’s…

Margaret (to visitor #3): You wouldn’t believe what they served us for dinner two nights ago! Fish and chips! That’s fish with batter! Batter! And fried chips! That’s the last thing Lydia over there wants. She’s in here to have a pacemaker put in! Fish and chips in the coronary care unit! Take a good look at Lydia. You’ll never see one like her again. She’s as rare as hen’s teeth. Her heart’s on the wrong side. It only happens in one in millions. Have a good look! And they gave her fish and chips! And Andrew in the corner. He’s in for angioplasty. And they gave him fish and chips! That won’t help his bowel movements. I heard him tell the nurse this morning that had hasn’t had a crap for two days. They’re thinking of giving him a pill so the stool can pass easily. And then there’s…

Margaret (to visitor #4): You wouldn’t believe what they served us…

527. Overheard conversation IV

527pansy

(This is the 4th of 6 in this “Overheard conversation” series. I’ve just spent a week in a hospital ward – a mixed ward, men and women. It can become tedious, so I jotted down some overheard conversations; some on the phone, some with visitors, some with other patients, some seemingly spoken into thin audienceless air. Slightly edited!)

When I first got married – well when I was married for the first time – it was to – no – not married – just engaged – to a Territorial – yeah – no – he wasn’t a Territorial – I think he was in the army – it doesn’t matter – he’d come home on leave – and – in between I’d spend my time driving up and down the road looking for young men hitch-hiking in army shirts so that I could pick them up. “Do you perhaps know him?” I’d ask. “I just happen to be going where you’re going”. God knows how much money I spent, driving all over the country. Oh to be young again.

My second husband was a bit of a pansy. I don’t know why we ever married. He used to cook. There’s nothing more sexy than a man who cooks. But if you’re a man who cooks you have to be macho. He wasn’t macho at all – he was a pansy. He used to do things like boil potatoes. Anyone can boil potatoes. A real man does shrimp cocktails and garlic bread. No, no. Not my Arnold. He’d usually end up having to mash the spuds anyway. Over done. Over boiled.

526. Overheard conversation III

526cambridge

(I’ve just spent a week in a hospital ward – a mixed ward, men and women. It can become tedious, so I jotted down some overheard conversations; some on the phone, some with visitors, some with other patients. Slightly edited!)

Yes! These potatoes ARE new – of course – even though it’s past the season for new potatoes. I like them cooked with just a little mint. A quick scrub and into the pot. That’s it. That’s all. And asparagus. Just a light boil and then butter. These asparaguses here must be out of a tin. It’s not the season. Or imported. I don’t know what the hospital is doing spending all that money buying imported vegetables. Vegies are very reasonable at New World. The meat’s sometimes a bit tough, but… well, I’m sorry…

How do you think I felt? Cold, she said. Have it cold… That’s Marjorie… That’s Marjorie… Well I can’t help it. If you think I’m going to go to her place after all I’ve been through. If that’s the way you want it you can take the pickup and go. I’ll keep the kids. They can get to school on the bus. I’ll manage. I’ll manage all on my own as I have in the past. Don’t go making a big thing of it. The faults all on my side, oh yes, all on my side, it’s always on my side, whenever you’re not pleased, it’s all on my side, my side of the family, my relations, not yours, oh no not your relations, next thing you’ll be related to the Duchess of Cambridge.

525. Overheard conversation II

525gossip

(I’ve just spent a week in a hospital ward – a mixed ward, men and women. It can become tedious, so I jotted down some overheard conversations. Slightly edited!)

Barbara: That was my grandson, Juan. It’s pronounced “Jay-wharn”. You wouldn’t know, but it’s Spanish. Even though he’s only four he has the IQ of a seven year old. I reckon he’s gay because he’s not interested in boys’ toys like trucks and stuff. I call him “my little gay boy”. Of course, I wouldn’t say that to his face; that would be cruel. I am very good with kids. I have two of my own and nine foster children that I call mine. If I won the lottery I would buy an orphanage. My youngest daughter she Chinese. She 17. She come see me this afternoon. She reliable. I ask her who at my house. She tell me. I ask her to water pot plant. She also very bright. Not as bright as “Jay-wharn”. Do you have any children, Naomi, and what do you do?

Naomi: Well, I’m 84, so I’m retired and I…

Barbara: I said to my daughter-in-law that India, that’s another granddaughter, she’s 2, has a “big mouth”. I didn’t mean that she was a blabber-mouth; I meant she could put a lot of food in her mouth at once when she was eating. Of course my daughter-in-law took it the wrong way didn’t she? She’s so sensitive. Too sensitive if you ask me. So do you work, Naomi?

Naomi: Well, I’m 84, so I’m retired and I…

Barbara: Then there’s Riley. He went off the rails. He got his girlfriend pregnant when he was 15. He’s 26 now, and…

Naomi: … and I lectured in Russian at the university.

524. Overheard conversation I

524phone

(I’ve just spent a week in a hospital ward – a mixed ward, men and women. It can become tedious, so I jotted down some overheard conversations. Slightly edited!)

Yes, why yes, of course, we’re so lucky to have Pope Francis. He leads by example. He’s not just words words words. I mean, he lives in that hotel room, and drives around in an old car. He challenges us all, does he not? It’s lovely. And he eats his meals with everyone else. Which reminds me…

We’re having the Hickson-Barker’s over for dinner on Friday evening. I thought we would have snapper crudo with chilies and sesame served on slices of cucumber for hor d’oeuvres, but I can’t think what wine to have with it. Any suggestions? And do you think that it would be too much to serve Portuguese pork and clams after that? That’s pork and clams marinated in a mix of wine, garlic, oregano, bay leaves and cumin, and then sautéed with potatoes, tender cannellini beans and cayenne pepper. I think that’ll be alright. The Hickson-Barker’s are such picky eaters. Do you think there’s too much fish in all that? But after all, it is Friday in Lent.