December 2, 2022 | CULTURE | By Anya Jones | Illustration by Rowan Kempen

“So I’m thinking tomorrow morning…” – man in 20s talking to man in 50s/60s. 

It is not even 8:30 am and this gentleman is already thinking about the plan for tomorrow. Just by the nature of his strut, I can tell that he is with his fiancé’s family–not the other way around.

She is walking ahead of him while he hangs back a few paces in front of the father. His hat is on backwards despite definitely being over the age of 25. The father seems quite uninterested to hear the future son-in-law’s already-formulated plans for the following day. Probably because it is not yet 8:30 a.m. in the morning of the current day. The father thinks to himself that the future son-in-law will eventually learn to appreciate living in the present, but for now he is just wondering why exactly the man has joined what was supposed to be a family vacation.

It occurs to me that the son-in-law is at such a loss for conversation starters that this is the only thing he could think of. Lame guy honestly. Fiancé can do better.   

“All sand is natural.” – middle-aged man talking to another middle-aged man. 

I would love to know what they were actually talking about before I heard this come out of that man’s mouth. But I didn’t. So here is how I imagine the conversation must have gone:  

Man 1: “I’ve been trying to get more in touch with nature recently.” 

Man 2: “Really?” 

Man 1: “Yes. I try to only surround myself with natural, non-man-made things.” 

Man 2: “That’s great dude.” 

Man 1: “Like…this sand for example. So natural!” 

Man 2: “All sand is natural.” 

“We need more pictures of us in water.” – 60ish-year-old man in tight speedo swimsuit speaking to two other 60ish-year-old men also in tight speedo swimsuits. 

Because of the affectionate touching and the repeated use of pet names baby, babe, and honey used by all three men towards all three men, I am inclined to believe that these men are in a beautiful throuple. They have traveled the world together. One of them is from Germany. He speaks German to the other two and they respond in English. It is actually quite a wonderful call and response they have going. The one thing that is missing in this picture-perfect polyamory is pictures of them in water.  

“I don’t like any nuts except macadamia” – 5-year-old girl. 

This little girl is going to grow up to be a pain in the ass. Most nuts taste the same. It’s not about what they taste like, it’s about the quality of the crunch. That aside, of all the nuts to choose as the only tolerable one, who in their mind chooses a macadamia nut? Who, in their household, has macadamia nuts as an accessible snack? Who goes to the grocery store, stares at all the options for nuts, and says you know what, I’m really craving macadamia nuts?  

“Hello? Hello? Can you hear me…? Hello? Hello? Hello? Hello?” – man in airport on his phone.

Buddy, they are not going to answer. Despite what you clearly believe, saying “hello” one more time is not going to mend the fact that we are in a crowded airport with foul service. Your boss can wait. You don’t look like much of a finance guy anyway. Try city tour guide? Or, like, dog trainer.  

“Hey you how are you I miss you let’s get lunch soon.” (said like that: in one long, strung-together sentence) 

“Yesssss, text me.” – college students in passing. 

I listened to this podcast once about lying and honesty.

In the podcast, this man/researcher decided to make a revolutionary lifestyle change and started to only say exactly what he meant. If he didn’t actually like the dress his wife was wearing, instead of saying, “yes baby serve — love the dress,” he might say “That dress isn’t my favorite, but I think you look great.” If he bumped into someone he is friendly with at the local coffee shop, instead of saying, “It is so great to see you! You know what, you should really come over for dinner at some point,” he might say “It was so great to see you! Take care.”

His conclusion from these adjustments was that his quality of life profoundly improved.

These college students said this to each other in motion as they walked through a crosswalk. Neither of them even attempted to slow down. I’ll venture a guess and say that they don’t feel particularly strongly about actually grabbing lunch together. Maybe their quality of life would also profoundly improve if they stopped doing that. (If we all stopped doing that?)  

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