When I don’t have anyone to talk to, except myself, and having nothing good to read either, I tend to eavesdrop on other people’s conversations. This is a long-standing habit, not necessarily one I’m particularly proud of – but I figure that as long as I don’t mention names or give descriptions that would land anyone into a police line-up, it’s a free world.
There’s nothing quite like a holiday to bring out the best (or worst) in people and from my lonely vantage point – Zone 7 of Playa de las Canteras – I was quite happy that I didn’t have a sparring partner to hand.
People say the most idiotic things. And, loathe though I am to admit it, women are the worst culprits. This need to fill the silence and say something just to check to be sure that their man is still alive must drive many a sane man, mad. Mind you, I know a couple or four men who can’t stand the sound of silence, either.
‘Isn’t that a lovely beach, John’.
Where’s poor John to take that opening volley?
‘It is, love.’
‘Should I read my book or my mag, Dave?’
‘Your book – you’ve been wanting to finish it for ages.’
‘You’re right – I’ll just have a flick through the mag first though…’
Deep sigh from Dave masked by rustling of his newspaper…
You see all sorts of couples. Those who are on their first holiday abroad together and on their best behaviour, their conversation is punctuated with lots of ‘I don’t mind… ‘ and ‘Whatever you like….’ Those who know each other inside and out who don’t need to talk but communicate rather with raised eyebrows, shrugs, and nods of the head. Those who are on the brink of breaking up and are using the holiday as a last effort at holding it all together. Conversation here is punctuated by digs in ribs, derisive snorts, and rattling ice cubes.
It’s the couples who laugh that are the most amusing to watch – and funnily enough, they were mostly Spanish. Subsequent investigation has revealed that the Spanish are quite famous for their sense of humour. And depending on which blogs you read, you’ll find this described as everything from cheesy to genius. And back in 1957, a sense of humour was actually put on trial.
If you’re in Las Palmas, drop by the Museo Elder de la Ciencia y la Tecnología whose motto is ‘it is forbidden not to touch’ and check out their humour commentary exhibition outside.