Plastic cups and lesbians

16 August 2009

Even if I am not eavesdropping, at least not intentionally, sometimes I overhear bits of other people’s conversations, and remember them because they are just odd or somehow funny. Such a conversation took place on the 22 bus today: two gentlemen of a certain class, age, stature, and girth boarded the bus somewhere in Chelsea and alighted at Green Park.

The gentlemen in question had a series of long conversations, and two bits I couldn’t rid from my head.

The first was about plastic cups. They were talking either about caterers or a cafe.

Gentleman no. 1: Do you know, these people, they serve tea in plastic cups. Would you believe it?

Gentleman no. 2: [A gasp almost audible] How ghastly!

The use of the word ghastly for some reason really made a huge impression.

Then the gentlemen were talking about their mutual acquaintances and professional connections.

G2: Erm ... Yes [a woman’s name], you know her, don’t you?

G1: Yes, I do, indeed. In actual fact, she used to work for us in the 1980s, until she turned lesbian.

I have to wonder, if that was the end of their cordial acquaintance. Social mores perhaps were different then: the tone and way it was phrased both seemed somewhat discomforting and incongruous, for taking place on a bus.