One of our locals has a ‘Thursday Night Curry Club’ where you can buy cheap-and-cheerful food and a pint and spend a wonderful evening with friends without breaking the bank.
We arrived in dribs and drabs and cheered each time our number was added to. The place was packed with gnarly men, still tatty from Halloween decor and there were 3 members of staff serving, so everything was v-e-r-y slow. And while we waited, we talked.
Food, holidays, books, spacecraft, films, games, friends, babies-of-friends, recipes, work, baths, sports, shopping, clothes, jokes…finally the food.
It was great. Conversations were zipping around all over the place, and because of the level of ambient noise, we all had to focus quite intently on each speaker to discern what they were saying. Such levels of listening seem rare these days. We looked each other in the eye, we caught facial expressions, we lip-read as well as listening.
The contrast now the three of us (Husby and I have a guest to stay – The Catholic Shinobi) have got home is astonishing. We’re all plugged into our various computers, headphones on, sat in close proximity in our tiny living room, to all intents and purposes ignoring each other (apart from the minor irritation caused by one or another of us laughing about what we’re watching/reading and interrupting the others’ enjoyment). If any of us makes a comment, it is vaguely heard and acknowledged with a grunt or a smile (which is not seen as the commenter is invariably glued to their own screen) and there are great tracts where we do not engage with one another at all.
Sounds like I need to go to the pub more.