People watching is the best show on earth...

Sep 15, 2007

Minimum Rage

. Sep 15, 2007


I am at the University bookstore picking up my text, thank goodness for Saturday store hours. The campus is scarcely populated; a few students read and chat on the lawns. I park on a sunlit bench and crack open my new $80 (modest paperback) text. Three young boys race up on mountain bikes. All wear helmets and shorts. Two carry Coke cans, one does not. They are white, brown-haired and perhaps 11 or 12 years old. They drop their bikes and climb on the modern art structure behind me which looks like a giant orange slide minus the ladder up:

Coke 1: Yeah! This is so cool!
Cokeless: This whole place is cool. I could spend all day here! All these hills -
Coke 2: Me and my dad ride bikes here a lot. It's awesome.
Coke 1: Hey you guys! Watch this! (slides down the ramp squatting on his tennis shoes)
Cokeless: Whoooo! Sweet! I'll do it!
Coke 2: I love this campus. I'm gonna go here. My dad wants me to go here, too.
Coke 1: Yeah, I'm going here, too. I'm going to engineering.
Coke 2: Where are you going, Justin?
Cokeless: I dunno.
Coke 2: Why not? Where do you wanna go?
Cokeless: I dunno. Nowhere.
Coke 1: What? You have to go somewhere. Otherwise you won't get a job. You'll be poor.
Cokeless: No I won't! You will. College is expensive. I'm gonna work and I'll make money before you guys even.
Coke 1: Yeah, five bucks an hour!

Cokeless doesn't reply. Instead he kicks one of the other's Coke cans clear across the lawn.

20 Whispers:

Happily Anonymous said...

There may be a morsel of wisdom in the cokeless kid's response. Depends on the job of course.

iriegal said...

Cokeless is right. By the time they get out of college and repay their student loans, even at 5 dollars and hour he will be better off.

I love Pepsi..

Anna said...

Another great dialogue. I am not sure how can you remember everytime. This one reminds me sometimes when kids talk about what they are going to do when they grow up. Its cool to listen. Anna :)

Nature Nut /JJ Loch said...

I loved this eavesdropping. :D The sad truth is that some kids who finish college won't make as much as those who start working right away. Education sometimes is the upside down owl.
Hugs, JJ

Vienne said...

Thanks for speaking, everybody! I saw Cokeless's point, too. But I also wondered if he might already have enough resentment stuffed in him to become an angry boy. Hope not. I hope he has someone he can admire who brings out the best in him.

Anna - it is sometimes hard to remember the conversations, especially when more than 2 people are talking. But, I have some tricks. First, I've been doing it so long, it's become a fine-tuned science for me. I start by describing the environment, then recall what the people looked like, their dress and physical features. That literally transports me back to the scene. Then it's very much like a favorite song that's stuck in your head. The words just come to life again in my mind. I can't remember every word, so I do have to interject a few transitions here and there. But mostly, I do retain the main dialogue in my memory, which continues to surprise and delight me! Also, I confess I carry around a small handheld recorder in my bag. If it doesn't look too weird, I whip it out and whisper some key notes into it after the fact. Vienne

Agnes Mildew said...

Thanks for dropping by my blog today as it gave me the chance to read yours - I have been utterly transfixed and read all your posts from the very beginning. I was so disappointed when it got to the end!

Your writing is mesmeric - if you compiled these observations into a book, I would be one of the first to buy it.

Thanks so much - I have had a wonderful visit!

Vienne said...

Thank you, Agnes. What generous compliments you give me! I'm so pleased you enjoyed my eavesdropping and to read ALL the posts, wow. I am toying with writing a book where I might finish these conversations as short stories, or not. Perhaps leaving them as they are is more meaningful to others. What's most dear to me is that readers explore their own endings in their imaginations. I just love it.

Phalanx said...

Hey, I haven't commented before but I would like to say that I have read of all your post and they are quite intriguing. Some of them are more revealing than others, but hey, what can you do. Anyway, the blog is great, I come here often hoping for new posts, you need to listen in on conversations more often, I can't get enough of it, it's like an addiction or something.

Also, a book shouldn't be out of the question. You would just need quite a handful more.

Anna said...

lol good idea with the recorder. I do that to my family members, especially grand uncles and grand parents or parents, especially when they are in the mood of telling us their life stories. I actually do it with my digital camera, so I not only get the audio, but video also. Its great for archives. Thanks for your explanation - appreciated. Anna :)

Vienne said...

Thanks, Phalanx. I'm addicted to eavesdropping, myself! I appreciate your readership.

kml said...

Whatever your system for remembering the conversations - it works well. Certainly has me addicted!

bob said...

i was a math major so let me answer this quandry through the use of numbers. let's see 5 times 40 times 52 times 4 years. adjust for cost of living increase. carry the 9, that's $47,899. Take 100,000 times interest rate, divide by 8,867 a year. go back and multiply cokeless by another bunch of years, consider future value of the euro. factor in stock options cokeless owns and ... um ... oh forget about numbers.

they should all drink snapple. then we wouldn't have these problems!

Incurable Insomniac said...

Cokeless is right. My partner got $45k in student loans and now that she's got her masters degree in music performance and pedagogy she's working a $8.25 an hour as a receptionist at a real estate company. We'll be retired before that's paid off.

Vienne said...

Hi kml, I'm glad you enjoy the conversations! See my reply to Anna above and you'll be on to my memory tricks :)

Vienne said...

Bob that's hilarious. I was actually following along hoping for a real statistic at the end there...could you please just work on it at home and report back...! Just kidding, of course. You have better things to do, like blog, right!

Vienne said...

Incurable, so true. There's something to be said for following your passion but it sure can be costly - in the monetary sense, anyway. I'm still seething about my $80 flimsy, instructor-written text book, let alone tuition fees. Barf.

Leann I Am said...

So...YOU'RE the lady with the voice recorder!!!!


If those kids only knew...

Lynn Emery said...

Cokeless may be trying to make the best of what he sees as his limited prospects, maybe his father doesn't spend time giving him hope for a future. I think his reaction was about way more than earning potential.

As for the value of an education- sad to think it is only thought of in terms of money. Malcome Forbes, "Education's purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one."

Vienne said...

Hi Leann, I must say I love to see that little baby's cute face in my comments! Also, perhaps I should clarify I don't actually record people talking, just my own recollections directly after. Don't want to be seen as a creepy snoop!

Hello Lynn, I agree with you about his reaction. There was a lot of frustration behind that kick. That's why I renamed my post 'minimum rage' after initially publishing it. When I recall the moment, I can see his little face all scrunched up in anger while kicking the can.

ONwebCHECK said...

I would like to have a wood like thad .-) and look forward to the harvest!


Gas Money Tip Jar. Promote Your Site Here!

Listening In

Eavesdroppers Speak

Stand Out!
Thank you for visiting! Eavesdrop again soon. Subscribe for instant updates.

| Creative Commons License | Powered by  MyPagerank.Net
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 License.
Eavesdropping Blogger is proudly powered by | Template by | Customized by blog author Vienne with excellent hacks from Blogger Buster