I get distracted very easily. If I’m in a public setting like an airport or restaurant, forget it. I have no chance of carrying on a conversation without ignoring my friend at least once to stare at and judge somebody. Perhaps it’s the PDA couple that finds nothing wrong with a little over-the-clothing action while waiting to board our plane. Or it might be the grandpa who refuses to cover his mouth while hacking up a lung and then hands back his contaminated menu that will be touched by twenty-five more people before the day is up.

I have solid reasons for judging others.

Trying to work in a public place is even worse. Everything annoys me. I’m sitting under a draft. My chair is squeaky. The ice in my chai is melting too quickly. Not to mention that everyone is talking way too loudly. I mean, really, why should I leave the comfort of my home and pajamas to sit in a crowded café and be forced to listen to whatever CD they’re trying to hawk? That said, sometimes you need a change of pace. Or you need to get out of the house because your bed is looking awfully cozy for a nap right about now…

I heard them before I saw them: four young women who weren’t chatting together so much as yelling over each other, and of course they decided to sit at the table directly next to me. Normally, this would have been my cue to either move or leave, but something stopped me. I think it might have been the one friend telling another, “Why don’t you drag your chair a little more loudly, okay?” Dang, what a b*tch.

I was intrigued.

One of the girls didn’t even wait to sit down before she launched into a longwinded story about some guy who never called her back and should she call him but what if he blows her off again and she doesn’t want to look like an idiot but she really likes him and thought they maybe had something… To which the bossy friend replied, “Can you please keep it down? You’re being so dramatic.” Hmm, I liked this girl.

That’s when another went off on some rant about how expensive her classes were, which completely shocked me because I had assumed these chicks were still in high school. Not only did they look young, but they acted like it as well. My jaw dropped even lower when one of them mentioned applying to medical school. Then she began to loudly discuss how she couldn’t afford her $17,000 per semester tuition because her parents had just filed for bankruptcy. Why exactly had her parents gone broke? Because her bipolar mother had been handling their financial records and screwed up a few tax returns, so now the IRS was coming after them. Wow.

First of all, who are these people that feel the need to publicly share their extremely personal problems? This chick was talking so loudly that I guarantee the barista on the other side of the café could hear her over the cappuccino maker. I blame reality TV. If the Kardashian sisters can give each other anal waxings on national television, then no wonder this girl thought that airing her dirty laundry was no big deal. Secondly, that sucks. I can’t imagine having to contend with those problems while trying to go to school. Apparently the other girls couldn’t imagine it either because instead of consoling their friend over her mentally imbalanced mother or legal entanglements with the government, they called her out as a liar. “That’s so not true! You are not paying seventeen grand a semester!” Broke girl then went on the defensive, insisting that she absolutely was shelling out that much money for school. Two of the friends vehemently shook their heads no. The third offered up this sage advice: “If you’re paying $17,000 per semester, then you are stupid. Either you don’t know what you’re talking about, or the school is scamming you. None of us are paying that much.” The two who had been shaking their heads immediately nodded them in agreement. Then came an awkward pause in the conversation. It was the first time their table had been quiet in an hour.

Eventually their chat shifted to the usual topics: boys and clothes. In both cases each of the girls took turns berating the others about their bad taste in men, fashion or both. Though pretending to be hard at work, I was secretly glued to every single thing they said. It was like watching a National Geographic special about rival lion tribes or something equally violent only way better. Finally, bossy girl ordered her friends to finish their drinks because she had to get back to studying. Quickly slurping down the remainder of their Frappuccinos, the other three got up and proceeded to shove their chairs back into place. Gathering their belongings and heading toward the door, I strained to hear any final bits of conversation.

“Do you have to be so freakin’ loud with that stupid chair?”

I knew I wouldn’t be left disappointed.

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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