Life in America

Indecent Conversation

What I like about the USA is the diversity of people you see there. The following short and weird conversation took place a couple of years ago. I wrote about it on my blog, but was shy to publish it not just because of the conversation itself, but also because of what went through my head at the time.

One day at Starbucks, I sat on one of those big tables that seat about six people. I was working on my laptop. A middle-aged woman sat on the opposite side of the table and as soon as she opened her laptop, she started a conversation with me:

Woman: Are you writing a book?

Me: No, I am working on my dissertation.

Woman: I am writing a book. It is difficult to concentrate in public, especially when you are writing something inappropriate.

Me [not paying attention what she meant by inappropriate]: What is your book about?

Woman: It is a novel like Fifty Shades of Gray. My husband told me to write about the events that happened when we went to Las Vegas and Reno.

Fifty Shades of Gray was the bestselling book at that time. Actually, it was a phenomenon not just a bestselling book. Everybody was talking about it in America. I did not read it, but one of our lab mates during our weekly meeting told us what it was about for whatever reason. As I mentioned, the book took unprecedented publicity.

Of course, after she said “It is a novel like Fifty Shades of Gray. My husband told me to write about the events that happened when we went to Las Vegas and Reno.” My brain, sort of, switched off because I cannot recall what she said next or even what I said.

My conservative self felt uncomfortable and I did not want to hear any more. Because of the way she dressed and how open she was about the content of her book, I was afraid our conversation may lead to something I do not like. I thought she might invite me to go with her, we will meet her husband and I will be involved in a Ménage à trois (I learned this from Seinfeld). I thought they wanted materials for their book and this will be it. All this went through my head, seriously. That is why I don’t recall what she said after she mentioned Reno.

I looked at my watch and said, “I have to meet someone. Nice talking to you” and I had the fastest exit from Starbucks. All these weird thoughts popped up in my head without even reading Fifty Shades of Gray. What thoughts would I have had if I read it?

This was one of the weirdest conversations with a stranger I had.

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6 thoughts on “Indecent Conversation

  1. Lol. If that would have happened to me I would have thought to myself “Why do these people always talk to me?”

    I actually did read the book, right before the movie was released. That is not my kind of book at all, but my cousin’s wife and lots of other women on my Facebook were constantly talking about how they were going to see it, how much the loved the book, etc. First things first. It was badly written. I have no idea how that mess made it into print. The fact that it had been edited countless times makes me wonder just how awful the original draft must have been. I also have no idea why women think the idea of being dominated by a man and essentially treated like a prostitute is, in any way, a turn on, but whatever. The “sexy” parts weren’t sexy at all. They were just gross. I actually said “Ew!” out loud at one point.

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    1. When I was in the States, I actually liked when strangers start a conversation with me. It was a way for me to learn about the American culture. Here in Jordan not so much, especially not from taxi drivers. When I moved to Amman I didn’t want to be rude so I chat with them. At some point I coudn’t take it any more and now I always wear my earbuds. Of course this doesn’t deter them to start a chat, but now I don’t care. I just don’t talk to them 🙂
      By the way, I heard from many foreign females in Jordan that they get marriage proposals from taxi drivers either for themselves or for their sons. I don’t know about other Arab countries but this is a reality in Jordan. I thought I will give you a heads up if you are interested in visiting the Middle East and north Africa 🙂

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      1. Haha. I can see you read my Facebook (rants, 😀 ) posts. I’m very honest. I hate getting up at 5:30am, riding the trains and being crammed in like a sardine in a can, getting off the train in one of the worst neighborhoods (there was a shooting in a Burger King right across the street from the train station and the genius tried to make his getaway on a city bus), going to work with snake co-workers who smile to your face and try to get you in trouble/fired behind your back, stressing about not learning things fast enough and making mistakes. I’m better at housewife stuff. Finally my intolerance for dirt and germs, and my love of cooking, would be put to good use. 😀

        About the headphones, that rarely stops the Chatty Cathy types. One time, when I came back from a run, I kept my headphones in so I wouldn’t have to talk to this woman I was waiting with for the elevator. She actually made a gesture for me to take the headphones out so she could talk to me.

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  2. I follow the news of Columbia, MO on my Facebook page. There is at least one shooting incident every week. The college town has a population of 100K only. Here in Jordan we are almost 9 million and we have less shooting incidents. I find it funny when Americans are afraid to travel to the Middle East because it is dangerous. Yes, some countries are a war zone but the rest are way more safe than the States. This issue may be debatable depending on the person’s perspective, but what I want to say the violence in the States is very, very high compared to other countries. I can’t believe how dangerous a college town like Columbia became.

    I like the phrase “Chatty Cathy” 🙂 When someone is wearing their headphones shouldn’t be a sign for others not to talk to them 🙂

    Yes, I do read all your rants on Facebook 🙂 I loved NY but hated its subway by the way. On my second day only, a crazy man sat beside me speaking gibberish loudly and I was afraid to move or do anything. It was scary and the cart was full. No one said anything. In Jordan, people will force him out immediately or silence him for sure. But then in the States he might carry a weapon.

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