Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Murder she wrote

I quite like old ladies. I find them very sweet. They remind me of my grandmother, which brings an occasional tear to my eye. If I can help them, I will and if I can make them feel good by listening to them, I normally don’t mind. Normally.

The other day, I was coming back from having a facial, all relaxed and happy, when husband called.

‘Do you fancy a coffee?’ He asked.

I never say no to a coffee, no matter who is asking.

‘Sure’, I said ‘I am just on my way back’.

It was a sunny morning and we sat outside the cafe in the middle of the village, watching the world go by.

That is when this old lady noticed us.

She had a newspaper in her hand with a big section dedicated to Russia Today. It made her think of me, she said. Of course it did.

We know the old lady pretty well. She lives nearby and is very pleasant. Once, about two years ago, I stopped on the street to chat to her. I was in a good mood. She started telling me about her ongoing war with the local authorities. Something to do with some chimney that got taken down, something to do with her garden...something that I stopped focusing on after about 2,5 minutes.

Husband did not know that story. Neither did he know that by asking any questions he would encourage the old lady to tell it all over again.

'Is that the same war you told me about two years ago?' I asked her, kicking husband under the table. What that question was meant to imply was that I had already once endured her storytelling, and do not deserve to go through it again.

‘Oh yes, indeed!’ She said, and pulled the free chair out.

After a few long minutes, my eyes glazed over. After five more minutes, I put my shades on- I was worried she would recognize the growing desire in my eyes. The desire to kill.

After ten more minutes, I decided I had to urgently learn about Russia today.
Every time she paused, I prayed for husband to just keep silent and stop encouraging her in her tirade. I tried to mentally communicate a message to him, but he was not getting it.

Husband seemed to be enjoying it. He told her a story, too. She laughed, and ordered a cup of tea. She then continued with her local authorities and developers saga. All in all, it took roughly forty minutes. I know that for a fact, because I kept glancing at my watch. Yes, I was rude. But don’t worry- she did not notice.

And I thought: this is what we must be like right now, with our saga with school allocation. Soon, we will have no friends left. But it happens to all of us when we are obsessed with something or somebody. I remember this girl I knew, who kept talking about her ex-husband. You would do your best to divert the conversation but it would never last more than a minute.

‘It is so sunny today’ you could be saying, only for her to sigh: ‘Oh, yes and it was just as sunny on the day Michael left me’....

So I was just thinking that we should try hard to never become like that girl I knew. Or the old lady who I wanted to kill that day. Me, who adores old ladies.


  1. What bugs you about another person is simply something about yourself that you either don't like or don't see. Don't worry...we're all boring sometimes and we mostly don't chase our friends away for it! Nice piece.

  2. @Tricia: Hmm.A truly scary thought. Especially the "don't see" bit. But you are probably right.

  3. Here is how I know when I’m annoying someone:
    1. Their eyes glaze over
    2. They start looking at their watch
    3. They remember they had an urgent meeting/call or they are late for something

    I try to stop when I see the first sign, unless I really want to annoy them so they leave me alone next time :)

  4. I know a very nice old guy, he is retired from the Air Force. Whenever I come across him, he has news to tell... always about his struggles with the district council for this or for that. After a little while, all of his stories are very much alike. So, I kind of understand you.

  5. Wonderful story, and you write it so well! Made me smile. We all know people like that, I'm sure.

    We have a lonely old drunk in the neighborhood, a sweet guy, really, and when he stops by he doesn't tell us a story about himself, no, he talks at nauseum about how wonderful I am, what a great thing I'm doing with the garden. He tells my dh what a lucky guy he is to have such a wonderful wife doing such magic with the garden and when it snows he will come and clear our driveway (but never does) and so on and so forth ...

    Never thought I'd get sick of someone singing my praises, but hey, it happened!

    It's time again to move, far away. Ecuador, Italy, East Timor. Hey, it could happen, really.

  6. @Miss Footloose: It sounds to me like the old guy is in love. :)

    @Nata: Yes, well.. at least you notice. I wonder if as we get older and reach that older babushka's age, we stop noticing signs? Or do we get so desperate for a decent conversation that we simply dont care anymore, as long as we can force someone to listen?