Friday, January 22, 2010
People from other states think that we are ignoramuses. On Saturday, while seated next to a couple, I noticed a regional speech difference and I asked if they were from New York or New Jersey. They both stated that they were from New Jersey. In further conversation, the man said that he'd gone to college in New Jersey at the state university. Knowing that New Jersey has only ONE state university, I said, "Oh, the Scarlet Knights of Rutgers." He was obviously surprised that I knew Rutgers University, let alone the teams' name, as he asked, with a note of condescention, "You know Rutgers?" I asked, increduously, "WHY would you think that I wouldn't know the STATE University of New Jersey?" He said, "Most Ohioans we've met don't know it." I said, "I guess I would expect you to know that Ohio has a number of state universities so I would think that you would expect Ohioans to know your state university." He could tell that I was irritated and he tried to mollify it by saying how Ohioans had been so "friendly", but being a poor sport, I actually said, "New Joisey" instead of New Jersey in my next sentence but I wasn't about to tell him that I only learned about Rutgers being the state university because of the Don Imus scandal with the women's basketball team.
Telling the story to my husband later in a restaurant, a man in the next booth turned around and said, "I couldn't help overhearing your conversation and I wanted to know if you'd heard that because of the terrible economic conditions they are going to combine Ohio University and Indiana University and move them to the state lines (I knew that a joke was imminent) and they are going to call it I.O.U." We all groaned at the joke and then shared some of my own "overheard conversations" (O.K., it's eavesdropping!):
AT A LOCAL RESTAURANT: When smoking in restaurants was still legal, my husband and I were sitting in a local restaurant and my husband lit a cigarette. An older couple were sitting at a table adjacent to ours and I heard her complain to her husband about the cigarette smoke. I tapped my husband on the hand and asked him to put out the cigarette. Later on, the woman was telling her husband that she wished that she could take a Lifesaving class. I leaned over and said, "I couldn't help overhearing your conversation about the lifesaving and I wanted you to know that the American Red Cross offers those classes and here's the number of the local Red Cross office." She thanked me profusely and within a few seconds, she realized that if I'd heard about the lifesaving class, then I had heard her complaining about the cigarette. She said, "I didn't mean anything by saying that about the cigarettes." I told her I was trying to get him to quit anyway!
AT A COLUMBUS RESTAURANT: We were sitting in a restaurant and the tables were very close. From the conversation, I could tell that the couple beside us were gay. During their conversation, one complained about the War Sui Gai and the other said that he wished that they had gone to Schmidt's in German Village. I leaned across and asked, "Did you ever eat Chinese-German food?" They looked at me as if I were crazy and I gave the punch line: "It's good, but an hour later you're hungry for power!" They laughed but said, "That's terrible." I said, "I know it's not politically correct, but how many Chinese-German jokes are there?" It was about a minute later when they called for their check and obviously they realized that if I'd heard the Chinese-German conversation,, then I'd probably heard the other--intimate--details they had been sharing!
DOCTOR'S OFFICE: I was sitting beside a woman in the doctor's office. She was busy talking to the man next to her, but it was no normal conversation. She was talking through clenched teeth and it became apparent that the two were having an affair and that the wife was having him followed so the doctor's office was the only safe place for them to meet to talk. She was giving him an ultimatum, "Either you leave her--OR........ "He was giving the usual excuses which she didn't want to hear and then I became so UPSET because my name was called and I had to go into see the doctor--so I never learned the outcome of it!