Café Chronicles

Calling All Ears

If eavesdropping were an occupation, I would easily be a professional. It is not a skill I prefer to possess nor is it one of much value. Typically it ends with me either infuriated at what I have overheard or putting my two-cents where it doesn’t belong.

I didn’t quite realize how often I find myself eavesdropping until I had been living overseas in Korea for almost a year. I don’t speak Korean so you can imagine the opportunities to eavesdrop are limited. I found myself returning home for a wedding, standing in a baggage line at the Chicago O’Hare airport – unconscious of the fact that I could actually understand everything being said around me.

Oops at O’Hare

My connection was tight and the line was moving slowly causing me internal stress that I was not fond of – something the woman standing in front of me was also experiencing. She, unlike me, had a friend to express her worries of missing her connection with. Girl, I feel you. At this point I still don’t recognize that I am absorbing all of this conversation. That is, until the gentleman behind me decides now is the time to make a rude, unnecessary comment under his breath.

Something to the effect of the woman being an idiot for booking a connection with such a tight schedule, etc.

Whipping my head around, words flying out before I even register I am speaking – you could say it wasn’t my finest moment – but I provided him my thoughts on his remarks.

“Well sir, we can’t all be you, now can we? If you have a thought to share, don’t bother keeping it to yourself. Some of us ensured we left hours between flights and yet, like myself, we are still standing in line waiting and now in a predicament of having less than 30 minutes before boarding.”

Oops. Welcome back to America, Ell!

Bite Your Tongue

So, now you understand how I react to eavesdropping on conversations that upset me. You could say I have had to be a bit more diligent at not responding since then. Imagine how it pains me to bite my tongue when I am stuck listening to conversations by fellow service members that fill me with such disgust that I am sick to my stomach and have to quietly exit the café of which I am a regular.


That being said, because I like my job, my uniform and my rank, I prefer not to express my opinions to conversations I wasn’t actively invited into. But I thought maybe you could join me this week in being a smidge infuriated at what I have been forced to stomach.

From the Mouth of a Field Grade

  1. You are less than if you take command as an unmarried officer.

– Because having a spouse determines if you can command effectively

or not right?

  1. But, if you are married, you will be rated based on your spouse given your spouse is a direct reflection of your potential as an officer.

– Because it doesn’t matter if you do good things, if the boss man doesn’t think

you’re wife or husband is up to par, than neither are you? Who needs love


The Guys Leading Your Joes

  1. Your appearance – physically – determines if you are going to be competent and capable of doing your job.

– You don’t look nerdy enough to be able to fix my computer, Sarge.

  1. If you work for the Vice President you are “D Team” because you weren’t good enough to work for the POTUS.

– Secret Service detail overseas, assigned to the White House, just automatically

makes you sub-par, you could probably do their job better, right?

Needless to say, it’s only Wednesday.

What have you overheard lately that infuriated you to your core? I can’t be the only one listening in. Happy Hump Day, friends!


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