Monday, 28 October 2013

"No, I do not speak

Spanish but yes I did understand your half of the conversation."
I said this to the man in the library. He had been sitting there in one of the carrels with his laptop and was, presumably, having a conversation on Skype or some such thing. Is that possible? I suppose it must be. He was not talking on his phone. 
He was talking rather slowly. If he had been speaking at a more normal speed I would not have understood a word he was saying. This conversation however was slow and, without intending to, I discovered I was picking up a word here and another there and that, somehow, it was making some sense. 
I tried not to listen but he was also speaking quite loudly and it was hard not to listen. 
"Oh, I didn't think anyone in here would understand anything I was saying."
He seemed to think that was an excuse for talking sufficiently loudly to be heard. 
Yes, I know people don't whisper in libraries any more but they do tend to have conversations quietly - unless it is the knitting group!
"Well, most people won't understand but there are several people in the district who might. I wasn't trying to listen you understand and I didn't understand everything you were saying. You just made it hard not to hear you."
He shrugged and then said, "My father is old and getting very deaf."
Yes, I had worked out he was speaking to his father. I just wish he had gone into the little room at the side which is set aside for such things. It is uncomfortable being able to hear someone's private conversation - even if you can only understand part of it.

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