Overheard in the customs lineup in Sydney this weekend: 3 ex-pat Brit fifty-somethings join the lineup, immediately behind me. It’s important you hear the Yorkshire accent here.
WOMAN: (deep sigh) Ok, now, I don’t want you two making any smart-arse remarks about the security arrangements. They don’t take too kindly to that sort of thing here.
MEN: Okay.
Pause – as the sniffer dog passes along the line.
WOMAN: Are they looking for food or drugs?
MAN 1: (pause)…Probably both.
MAN 2: (pause)…Clever pup.
Pause – the dog has passed
MAN 2: I don’t know why they choose labradors for that sort of job. They’ve done studies. Labradors are considered the most likely to take a bite out of you. The most vicious dogs. Apparently.
WOMAN: I don’t think that’s right.
MAN 2: It’s true.
MAN 1: That’s just not right. They’re the most easy-going, placid dogs you can get.
MAN 2: No, they’re really nasty if you get on the wrong side of them.
MAN1: You’re talking generally, though. That’s a generalisation.
MAN 2: … well, yeah.
MAN 1: Well, there you go. You’re generalising.
Very long pause.
MAN 2: (under his breath) … vicious, bloodsucking fiends….
I don’t know what it was about that exchange, but it kept me smiling all through the customs process. I think it was all about the timing of the pauses. Either that, or the fact I’d just come off a 15-hour flight, literally surrounded by a horde of pre-teen American ‘goodwill ambassadors’ en route to some camp in Homebush. My judgement was clouded.
Coincidentally enough, soon afterwards at the baggage claim, it was a beagle who started shouting at one of his fellow sniffers, a labrador, while I was waiting for my bag. Maybe it was a union demarcation issue. Who knows.

One thought on “Eavesdroppings

  1. I overheard a much shorter conversation a couple of days ago.
    A pimply young guy in his school uniform suddenly said to the young girl walking by his side, “So – do you like George W Bush?”
    Not the sort of phrase I’d expect to hear from a young guy like that.

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