Tuesday 7 April 2009

Eavesdropping 2

The difficulty for a professional eavesdropper, nosey-parker and interferer is summoning restraint. When I was talking about my Chinese retaurant experience last time I side-tracked myself in to the Japanese experience and didn't get round to telling you the most tantalising bit. At one moment, my three 'companions' were talking about the star sign of the man one of them was 'seeing'. He is a Libran. The ladies were clear that this was a good thing. It made him well-balanced and stable. Now, this is not the case. I have it on the best authority that a Libran does love balance. However, there is a sneaky caveat hidden in this statement. A Libran does not just love balance, per se, so much as crave it, therefore he/she has continually to engender chaos in order to be able to achieve the balance which is essential. With me, so far? In other words, the drive, the raison d'etre, is not in having straightforward balance, but in the achieving of it. Balance is actually the end product. If there were no mess you wouldn't have the satisfaction of clearing it up. Right? How do I know this? Because, as a life-long Libran, I was thoroughly confused by my seeming contrariness to this balance thing. Although I was for ever tidying up, my life was for ever defined by piles of this and files of that, most of them on the floor or waiting to be ironed. Anyway, fate flung an astrologist in my path and the above explanation, Dear Reader, saved my sanity.

Its relevance to the three ladies was that I was so strongly tempted to lean across and explain all this that I had to get up and take a pit stop to remove myself from danger. Invisible is one thing: too high a profile quite another. Still, there was some amusement in imagining how they might have reacted. What would you have done if a dotty old lady had suddenly felt impelled to make a contribution to your lunchtime conversation with friends? (I suspect I am always half waiting for' les blouses blancs'). There was a time when I did butt in. How to tell you succintly. Again in a restaurant: an elderly lady - another elderly lady - was seated at a large table clearly waiting for others, since she forbore to order. Presently, in came a young woman carrying a stunningly beautiful baby around nine months, I'd say. She was followed by a girl holding the hand of a three year old boy. The resemblance between the elderly lady and the young woman was such that no white-witchery was needed to identify them as Mother and Daughter, thus, Grandma to the littles. I should also say that, while Grandma was waiting, sitting as if next to me, I was seriously overwhelmed by her powerful scent. Mother distributed her party, assigning the small boy to a seat next to Grandma, although he expressed a wish to sit at the head of the table. At that place she put the baby, seating herself opposite Grandma and , incidentally, next to the baby. The young girl, who turned out to be an Englishless au-pair, she placed next to herself and opposite the boy, who was, thus, furthest from his Mother. The tantrum that ensued will not be a surprise to you. I was ready to pay and leave, anyway, but the noise was a meal-stopper of mammoth proportions. Mother threatened the boy with excommunication to the car and, indeed, eventually leaned over, dragged him right across the table from his place next to Grandma and transported him out of the door. I followed to see her standing, red -faced, beside a car in which a purple-faced little man was desperately trying to pull open the door. Approaching her, I said that she may hit me for interfering if she wished, but, before she did, I wanted to say that her small son had had to put up with a coup d'etat for her affection, without prior consultation with him, from a contender who had, literally, taken his place, a Grandma whose perfume he might find overwhelming and the frustration of not being able to say any of this, his only resource being a tantrum. Her eyes filled with tears, she said she had never thought of that and she didnt want to hit me. I made off, in case she changed her mind, but I did look back and see her lift the boy, tenderly, out of the car and carry him back in to the restaurant. My heart was thumping. I shan't interfere in a hurry, again, you may count on it, except, perhaps, in fantasy. But if you happen to know a lady who is going out with a Libran, perhaps you could warn her of the hidden danger.


Anonymous said...

What a beautiful story. Wish I had known then what I know now. I probably wouldn't have taken my seriously misbehaving young son out to the car and _left_ him there until we finished our meal! That was 37 years ago and I still think about it. Son has forgiven me.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the explanation about Librans, too, Liz. I, for my sins, was married to one for 20 years or so, and, having got rid of him (well, no, of course, it's a long story) was seriously surprised to find myself in another sort-of relationship with ... yes, he turns out to be a Libran, too. The husband was always creating chaos, I see now, and swooping in to solve the problem. Knight in shining armour stuff, until the chaos he created got too much. So what about my present friend? Very laid back, I thought for quite a while, but I'm beginning to wonder...!