Saturday, 6 February 2016

Overheard and harrowing

The young woman was walking down the road, a distraught expression on her face, her phone held out in front of her, and on speaker, for reasons I still can’t fathom. As our paths crossed, I heard a remark that explained her expression.

“Just remember,” a woman’s voice was saying, “no one likes you very much.”

Tough, tough words. And the only ones I overheard.

Communications are great
But the news isn’t always good
For the rest of my walk, with Luci–the-poodle faithfully trotting along next to me, I speculated on the back story. 

Was it a matter of unrequited love?

“Well, if you really can’t give up on Mark, by all means come to the party tonight. But he’s absolutely not right for you and Alice has got her hooks into him. So you could end up spending the evening miserable, surrounded by people you don’t get on with. Just remember, no one likes you very much.”

Or was it a work-related thing?

“What’s the point in keeping on pushing the idea, when no one likes it and Joan’s already decided to concentrate on the South.? Why are you so dead set against the job in HR? You’d be much better off in a group that obviously appreciates you. Why would you try to stick with a team that keeps pushing you away? Just remember, no one likes you very much.”

Then again, might it have been purely social?

“But you hate bowling! Why would you insist on coming? It’ll just stir up all the tensions with Henry again. You should have apologised to him, and you never did. Now they spend all their time bad-mouthing you. Why would you want to hang out with anyone like that? Just remember, no one likes you very much.”

All dismal scenarios. No wonder she was upset. I couldn’t help feeling sorry for her.

But I also had to wonder why she was having a conversation that harrowing on speaker? Was it a cry for help? Did she want passers-by to share it with her, if only in fragments?

And what sort of friends did she have? Had she really chosen the right person to confide in? Did it make sense to turn for comfort to a woman who would make quite so cruel a remark to her?

Of course, it’s just possible I’ve got entirely the wrong end of the stick. Maybe with a little more context, I’d have found there was nothing quite so agonising in the comment. It might have been just a perfectly ordinary bit of gossipy conversation between friends.

Alternatively, it may be that I’m choosing entirely the wrong person to feel sorry for. Maybe she really isn’t all that likeable. The only information I have about her is that people don’t like her very much. So she may not be very nice, after all.

On the other hand, I may simply have misheard the whole thing.


Awoogamuffin said...

Maybe a director explaining her character's role: "You've just been brought in by the government to sort the situation out. You're nervous because you need to gain their trust but maintain a sense of authority and competence. Just remember: no one likes you very much".

Also, was she as pretty as the girl in the picture?

David Beeson said...

No, she wasn't, Michael. That was a stock photo, using a model.

I like your suggestion for the conversation. Works as well as the ones I came up with.