I have always been fascinated with people-watching. When I was younger, one of my favorite weekend getaways was San Francisco because there was always something interesting to see. I used to love to listen out of the side of my ear when others were having public conversations. Good for fictional character development and such.
Today I ran across one of those that I transcribed about 12 years ago. I was at a cafe, and two women were chatting with each other over tea. They discussed their younger lives, growing up in England, and many gardening and servant topics...
"...and when we were hunting, she would go over the fences like nothing, holding onto the horse and not afraid of anything; and I would always look for a gate to go 'round, and her with only one hand."
"She could tie her shoes with one hand when she was only three years old; and she's acted on the stage and always was quite graceful. [There never was any doubt that she would live - she was a healthy pink squalling thing right from the start.]."
"We always used to have our morning tea at seven o'clock. I was used to having tea brought to me by our maid, to my bedside, and later wondered how I would ever get used to waking up without my tea. On Sundays, we had chocolate bourbon biscuits with our tea, and it was a treat because during the week we just had plain biscuits with our tea. I do so like a cup of tea in the morning - it's such an eye opener."
These little conversational snippets were full of mystery, intrigue, beauty, inspiration, and all manner of creative seed. I had though I would incorporate the girl discussed into a short story, but the transcript has been buried in an old trunk with many other papers and story ideas. Just as reading blogs offers a glimpse into the lives of others, so does sitting at a cafe or other public venue. Perhaps you are one who thinks this type of eavesdropping is improper, but I have never resorted to covert tactics to watch people. I only overhear when conversations are close and loud enough. No glass to the door here.
I still like it just as is, and I find that it conjures all manner of images for any theatre of the mind...