Attention! Losing, Seeking and Paying.


(The tea shop in France…)

I was in a coffee shop yesterday with Denis. It was a new one so I was spending some time looking around at the decor, which I liked. Followed by some time looking around at the clientele, which was fun. Then our hot drinks arrived and we chatted until some more people sat down beside us. And you know how sometimes other people’s conversation is much more interesting than anything you think your husband/partner/friend might be going to say? So you stop listening to them and start listening to the other people?


( where the sugar cubes were little hearts…)

Of course, I tend to maintain an air of listening to my companion in these situations, just in case the other people realise I am listening to them and lower their voices. I cannot risk the chance of them lowering their voices because I already have to strain to overhear adjacent conversations… While maintaining this air of listening, I also aim my gaze into the distance. This seems to help my hearing but also indicates to my husband that I am indeed not listening to him and he can and in fact should lower his voice.


( and the cake came in two slices… per person!)

Unfortunately, for some reason though the couple I had my eye/ear on were not very clear in their communication. Well to be precise they did seem to be making sense to each other but not to me. I was tempted to lean in closer but that rarely, in my experience of listening to adjacent conversations, helps. So I didn’t lean in and it was at that moment that my far away gaze fell on another group. I had spotted them earlier. An older couple (actually not that much older than myself…) with a little girl of maybe two years old. Grandparents.


( and where we tested the egg timer to make sure it really was three minutes)

I had noticed them earlier because manoeuvring themselves, the little girl, the buggy, the seats and the table seemed to take up all of their attention. Now I was noticing them for a different reason. The little girl was looking up into her granddad’s face concentrating completely on his every word or movement or… I don’t really know what was holding her attention but it was complete and it was adorable.

So I went back to paying attention to the one I was with… Mairead.