One of the best things about my job is that it's directly across the parking lot from a Panera (and of course that I get to work with wonderful people, and help people in pain, and work for the betterment of the common good, blah, blah, blah). So, sometimes when it's slow, I will head over in search of a cappucino and an open plug. The open plug is actually much harder to find than one would think. Ideally, I would camp out in my own studio and just harness the powers of wireless networking to tap into Panera's signal. But as if there was an invisible, electric doggy fence around the cafe, there is no borrowing of Panera's internet access. It's a cool trick and I'm glad that it hasn't caught on in other places - like Kelly's neighbors in Palatine or the people who live across the street from my Dad. Otherwise, there could be several hours, or God forbid days, without internet access and I think that could have devastating effects. With the attitude that I was going to Panera to do real, honest-to-goodness work and not just design my next diamond ring on BlueNile.com, I was sure there would be a place to plug in (this is really only important because the battery life on my laptop has been reduced to 1/287th of a minute). No plug. But there was a lovely little table in the back...next to the door...with gusts of 187 mph every time someone entered...which was approximately every 20 seconds (Panera beats Starbucks because you can get espresso AND a bear claw). So, I settled in, made some notes, watched people enter and exit AT&T and wondered how many of them could afford a massage and then the cell phone of the lady sitting next to me started to ring. Or more accurately, it began a mini rock concert. I guess she didn't want the entire cafe to hear her Nokia belt out "Mmm Bopp" so she picked it up quickly. And then it began. Now...I don't intentionally set out to eavesdrop on people but I had no real work to do because Panera apparently couldn't afford for the electrician to stick around an extra day. So, there I sat with two eyes on my Muscular System Manual and two ears on her. I didn't hear all of it...mostly because it was said within a sob..but it included "He has just given up on me", "Sometimes it's good and sometimes it's not", "I don't want to go that route, but I'm not sure I have a choice", "How did this happen?" and "I'm just not sure I can try anymore." Obviously the lady is waist-deep in some sort of man-drama (but really, aren't we all at one point or another). But I am just not sure that this is the conversation that needs to be had in an alcove full of laptop junkies who are within an arm's reach of the soda pop dispenser. Besides, everyone knows that tears are just salty enough to completely ruin the taste of a perfectly good latte. I feel for her...I really, really do. However, would it have been too much to ask for her to take her conversation (and her plugged-in laptop) outside?
And if you are not amused by my little story, check out www.overheardeverywhere.com which is a continuous post of conversations that are overhead by others. I keep meaning to add my own little posting:
Overhead outside of the Nicholasville Road Target
Lady 1: Oh and we went to that party last night.
Lady 2: How was it?
Lady 1: Very nice. Well, everyone knows about that barn and what a perfect place it is for parties.
Right...I'm pretty sure the folks in NYC don't party in barns. Only in Kentucky, folks.