Girls Write Out
Sunday, October 08, 2006

My best friend and I totally love to go to restaurants and just eavesdrop on other conversations. We know each other so well, we don't have much to say to each other, but boy, can we have fun with OTHER people's conversations. The way it works is we sit in a booth and listen to the people behind us, then the other narrates the visual. Oh I know, it's sick, but it is hilarious because I love to make up stories about what's really happening and how their background is so much more dramatic than it appears.

Another girlfriend and I were in Seattle, and these guys were sitting across from us. One was military-looking, dressed in khakis, married, upstanding citizen-like. The other was artsy, worn-out canvas tennis shoes, self-painted T-shirt. (This was a fancy restaurant). So my friend goes, "So what's their story?" Oh let me at it. They're childhood friends. Guy #1 is out of the military and college, now working at Microsoft and preparing to start a family. Guy #2 is in town for the music festival going on, trying to make it as a musician and basically your starving artist. Guy #1 will pick up the tab (though we don't wait to see). I did make my friend take their picture under the ruse of the view though I think sharing it could get me into trouble.

Anyway, if you play these sick games in a restaurant, you too can be a writer -- or at least entertained through your meal. But it explains why I'm perfectly content to be in a restaurant alone, which Colleen thinks is weird. If this doesn't prove I'm weird, hey, I don't know what kind of proof you need.

P.S. Any soccer moms out there? What's the worst thing you heard on the field yesterday? There's this one overzealous dad, whose kid is a hot dog. Can't play team soccer with a hot dog. Anyway, the dad is YELLING like these kids are professionals but not what normal coach-y dads yell, "Get in position! Spread out!" No, he thinks the bunch-ball is fine if his kid is forward, and he yells "Get it to XX!" (his son) and my 6-year old daughter goes, "That guy is weird." Out of the mouth of babes.
Kristin Billerbeck  
posted at 12:21 PM  
  Comments (17)
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At 3:41 PM, Blogger Sabrina L. Fox said...

I was at a fourth grade football game yesterday. This guy behind me was screaming at the ref about a bad call. I leaned over to my brother in law and said "just think what this guys going to be like when his boy's in high school?" Sheesh. I can't imagine the pressure his kid feels.

At 4:07 PM, Blogger Reese said...

I was at a game last week, proud as the American flag because my son had made two goals (just thought I'd mention that! LOL!), when the coach put one of the heavier-set, slower kids in a forward position. One of the other parents, a middle school teacher and coach, enthused to the kid's dad, "Hey! They're putting Little Johnny up front!" The dad grumbled, "He's not gonna know what to do." The teacher/coach just shrugged with a big ole smile on his face and said, "But he has a chance!" During the next few minutes "Little Johnny" fumbled around and I heard the dad mutter with irritation, "Oh, Little Johnny." I stood there feeling sick for the poor kid, who was giving his all, coming up short, and who would face a dad who was ashamed of him after it was all over. Right about then the kid got a clear shot at the goal and scored. Everyone was cheering and screaming for him, slapping him high-fives. The dad suddenly sat up a little straighter and smiled for the first time all evening. It was sad on one hand, that a parent would place value on a child based on their performance, but at the same time I had the feeling Little Johnny had just experienced something that would stay with him as a highlight of his young life. And he certainly didn't go home with a dad who was ashamed of him.

At 5:05 PM, Blogger els said...

No crazy parents at games stories...BUT, a couple of years back my mum and i were in italy having dinner, and both of us were silent to each other nearly the whole dinner because we were too busy listening in to the table behind us, and laughing at their stories etc. I think it became so bad that at one point i leaned in closer to hear, and was captured in their picture :) I completely agree with you kristen about listening to ppl's stories and creating their life stories -- it works not only at dinner, but when you have to stand in line for a long time too!!!

At 6:22 PM, Anonymous Suzanne Schaffer said...

Not really a game that we play but once in a while when we got to a restaurant and there is a wait & we have to give a name I will tell the kids we're pretending to be someone else and give a fake name. The kids giggle as we become the Johnsons or the Smiths. I really want to be the "Fardalatta" family sometime but my husband just shakes his head and rolls his eyes at me. Can't you just see it now when the hostess hollers out for the Fardalotta family? tee hee hee

At 6:28 PM, Blogger eileen said...

Oh man...I'm SO glad to know this isn't just MY weirdness, that it IS truly writing related! (some of the time) whew. Took a load off of my mind.

I created a whole new personality for a hotel visitor. His actions reeked of witness-protection program gone wrong!

LOL We are a sick bunch sometimes.

At 7:06 PM, Blogger Kristin Billerbeck said...

Well, I feel better knowing that other parents have to deal with sports Dads. I feel so badly for their wives, who you have to notice, usually just stay home. LOL Suzanne, that absolutely cracked me up. We always say Hank because my husband's name is Bryed (pronounced Bryed) and we've had to spell Bob before, but I'm definitely going to try that just to entertain my boys. LOL

Reese, that poor little boy. Now I'm feeling bad for all the little boys like him all over the country. I'm really proud of my husband that way. All our kids are athletic in soccer, but he really forces them to be team players because he says that's what translates into business, not this hot dog world.

At 8:44 PM, Blogger allen said...

One of my best friends coaches a local girl's basketball team at my old high school...Well, my sisters doesn't like his coaching style at all (her daughter is on the team) and her husband likes my friend even less. Well, after hearing them gripe about the coach and listening to her ex-husband cuss out the coach, I mentioned to her that this team hadn't won a game in years until my friend took over. Now they're winning half of the games they play. Her jae dropped and the conversation was over. But what's sadder than them yelling at the coach is the moms and dads screaming at their kids to do better and cursing when they make a mistake...I almost punched out a dad at the last game for screaming at his daughter. My wife doesn't want me to go to any more games...I call it my SAMSON CONDITION.

At 9:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Over at Charis Connection today, Brandilyn writes about suspicious things that happen to her when she's out in public, and how she makes stories out of these tidbits.

Then I come here, and Kristin's eavesdropping. That's ME. I did it for three hours in Starbucks yesterday. Wrote down all kinds of mannerisms and bits of conversation. SO much fun--and I was alone, too. I may do it again, today.... :)

Katy McKenna

At 9:14 AM, Blogger Tina said...

So glad it's not just me. My hubby often asks, "Why does everything have to have a story?"
"Um, well honey," I say, "You married a writer..."

At 9:36 AM, Blogger Kristy Dykes said...

Shoot, I don't have to go in restaurants to crawl into people's lives. I just go to church. I live the kaleidoscopic life of a pastor's wife, and boy, do I hear some tales! Some hilarious, some so sad I cry. This week, I gave two dinner parties in my home for winners of our Sept. Bring the Most Visitors Contest; I attended a funeral my husband preached; and I attended a posh wedding at the beach my husband officiated at. Talk about fodder? Oowee. Lots.

Thanks for a great post, K.

At 10:56 AM, Blogger Heather said...

I never thought I'd be perfectly content to be alone in a restaurant. . . then I had 3 kids and a husband who travels a lot. Now I leave the 4 of them at home, grab a book, and hit my favorite restaurant .. . just for some time alone.

Soccer . . .Oh my goodness! The worst stories I have involve coaches on teams my son has played against. One was a husband/wife pair. They yelled, screamed, and cussed out their team of 3rd/4th (we played them both years) grade boys. Last year when our coaches actually heard that lovely "f" word, they contacted the commissioner. The other horrible coach . . .he'd hurl his whistle to the ground anytime he didn't like a ref call . . .and he too was a cusser. @@

Me. . . I'm frequently embarassed at games. My husband only yells positive/coachy things .. . but does it so loud he sounds like he's screaming at the kids!

At 12:35 PM, Blogger Kristin Billerbeck said...

I thought my husband was yelling nasty things once, but it was only a kid's name: Auchit. : ) It's no wonder other cultures develop American names after awhile. We SO botch their names, but that one is said just like it's spelled. : )

At 12:46 PM, Blogger Robin Caroll said...

LOL...add me to the list of "weird"! Last week, I took Heather to the airport and we had time to catch a bite in the restaurant. These people are sitting behind me, and OH MY GOSH....can you say HILLBILLY?! Me being, well, me, I filled Heather in on their convo and she looked at me, deadpan, and said "Lets talk about ducks". I nearly hurt myself. Now, you'd have to have seen/heard that routine to catch it, but oh my, it was hilarous! :)

At 2:46 PM, Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Oh, funny... I just did a post on Eavesdropping today... guess that little habit runs in the writer genes. :)

At 2:24 PM, Blogger Heather said...

ROFL on thinking your husband was cussing! I used to teach high school and I had a lot of unusual names. Think my 2 favorite were U.S. (as a first name) and Dang Thong. tehehe . . . that one just struck me as funny!

At 4:50 PM, Blogger Janet Rubin said...

We were living out a New England post card scene this weekend-- my husband and I picking apples in a local orchard with our young girls. A woman's angry voice ripped across the orchard. "What did I tell you?! You'd better knock it off!" etc. etc. It was a wretched sound amidst all the happy, fruit-picking families. "Poor kid," said my husband. I shook my head and said, "She's probably yelling at her husband."
I haven't done the resteraunt thing, but I'm obsessed with scrutinizing what other people buy at the grocery store. It's fascinating what people eat. If a guy is alone, buying steaks and sald makin's, I imagine the woman he's cooking for, etc.

At 5:53 PM, Blogger Pam S. said...

Many years ago I lived with a Japanese family in Tokyo. I had to watch a lot of sit-coms and b-grade movies in Japanese. 99% of the time I couldn't understand what was being said, so I made up my own dialogues as I was watching. It was hilarious--to me, anyway. My Japanese family could never understand why I'd be laughing when in their minds it was a "tear-jerker."


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The Authors
Kristin Billerbeck
Kristin Billerbeck is a proud Californian, wife, mother of four, and connoisseur of the irrelevant. She writes Christian Chick Lit; where she finds need for most of the useless facts lulling about in her head.

Colleen Coble

Colleen Coble writes romantic suspense with a strong atmospheric element. A lovable animal of some kind--usually a dog--always populates her novels. She can be bribed with DeBrand mocha truffles.

Denise Hunter

Denise Hunter writes women's fiction and love stories with a strong emotional element. Her husband says he provides her with all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too.

Diann Hunt

Diann Hunt writes romantic comedy and humorous women's fiction. She has been happily married forever, loves her family, chocolate, her friends, chocolate, her dog, and well, chocolate.

Hannah Alexander

Cheryl Hodde writes romantic medical suspense under the pen name of Hannah Alexander, using all the input she can get from her husband, Mel, for the medical expertise. For fun she hikes and reads. Out of guilt, she rescues discarded cats. She and Mel are presently taking orders from four pampered strays.

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