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The Things You Hear

washing instructions with crossed-out mouth

I live on a boat. While that knowledge isn’t directly relevant to this tale, it’s the reason why I was where I was yesterday. Allow me to explain.

My boat is moored near to the accommodation blocks for the local university and the uni very kindly allows boaters to use the student’s laundry facilities. I was, therefore, sitting watching my smalls rotating yesterday when a young chap wandered in with his washing.

He had a good look around the room, which was empty of people except we two, selected a washer and stuffed his laundry in. Having set the machine going he left the room, to return a few minutes later conducting a loud and animated conversation on his phone, in a remarkably phony, Mockney accent (I was born a Cockney and know about these things).

I should make it clear at this point that I don’t make a habit of listening to private conversations, but the confined circumstances, added to the volume of his voice and the general acoustics made it difficult to do otherwise. The lad was very aware that I was there, as he kept glancing over as he talked.

‘Yeah mate, I had a f*****g brilliant night last night. Great party – got totally f*****g rat-a***d. Got off with this gorgeous girl and went back to her place after the party.

I really tried to stop listening at this point, but mind-humming only blocks out so much.

‘Yeah mate, she was fantastic, totally up for f*****g anything.’

Hum, hum, hum.

‘… did everything then did it again. She couldn’t f*****g get enough.’

Hum, hum, HUM.

‘Yeah mate, went out after and scored some weed. Got totally stoned and went back to her place again with a couple of her friends …‘


‘… at it all night. Totally f*****g knackered this morning mate. Mind you, those girls could hardly walk…’

By this time, the mind-humming wasn’t helping one bit and there were no signs of the conversation ending. I was feeling more than uncomfortable and was about to get up and leave, as the lad continued to talk.

'Yeah mate, I...'

And then his phone rang...



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