Be good

Short conversation overheard in a department store, between a woman and a little girl about five years old.

‘Emily, please be good.’ The mother asked calmly.

‘I can’t’ said Emily, sounding as if being good was a skill beyond her ability.

‘Yes you can, please try.’

I loved the considerate way in which they talked to each other and Emily’s answer just made me smile.

Skinny or Regular?

I love listening to other people’s conversations (I’m bad, I know).

This morning as I was waiting to be served at the coffee bar in my office building, I overhead an amusing conversation.


The young woman in front of me asked the barrista for a cappuccino, to which he replied:

‘Do you only have skinny when you are with your friend?’

‘I change my mind sometimes. When we order together it’s easier just to ask for the same thing’, she replied.

‘If you want I’ll do the normal one when you come’, he said, implying that in future when she is with her friend and both ask for the skinny cappuccino he could give her the regular one.

‘No, that’s OK. It’s probably better for me in the long run…’

I couldn’t help smiling.

A small dose of kindness

Early this morning as I seat in my doctor’s waiting room, I notice a couple sitting a few seats away from me.  They are both elderly and at first I assume they are a couple but, when I observe and hear them more closely, I think the woman must be a relative or carer accompanying the man.

The man is very elderly, possibly in his eighties and comments quite loudly about random topics, mostly about the people walking in or the staff in the clinic.

“They all look cold.” He says about people coming in.  She replies “Yes, it is cold.”

He says things like “She must be a doctor”, “I don’t know what time the nurses start” and so on.

A woman rushes in and goes to the screen next to the reception, to tap in her details.

The man says: “She’s late”.  The woman glances over in his direction with a quick smile.  She then sits down, waiting to be called.

After a short while he says: “The way she rushed in I thought she was tight for time”. Then he asks his companion if she heard him.  She says “Yes, I heard you”.

The man says: “No, do you think did she heard me?”

The woman looks at him with kindness in her eyes and says: “No she did not hear you”.

“I’ve never read a book”


In a bookshop this afternoon I overhead a conversation between two teen girls as they approached the music book section. It went something like this:

Girl 1 – Do you think it is around here?

Girl 2 – I don’t know, I have never been here.

Girl 1 – Really?

Girl 2 – I don’t read books.

Girl 1 – Really?  Why not?

Girl 2 – I’m not interested.  (short pause) Well, I’ve read 2 books…

Unfortunately I don’t know if she said what those two books were as the girls moved away and I couldn’t hear them anymore.

Maybe some kids are not lucky enough to be read bed time stories or get books as gifts, but surely they are still learning literature and reading books in school. Or does that not happen anymore?

How can a 15-16 year old girl never have read a book? I know that compared to when I was a child there are many more sources of entertainment – computers, computer games, (spending the day) instant messaging friends and so on, but I cannot imagine how it is possible to go through those first years of life without books…