A Good Ear for Dialogue?

I have been told that I have a good ear for dialogue.  And perhaps I do.  But I think sometimes what passes for a good ear is really a matter of bad hearing.

Not so very long ago my wife and I had dinner at a stylish Mediterranean restaurant.  There was an elderly couple at the next table, seventyish, the man moving slowly, stoop shouldered, an aging academic and his date/wife? with her perfect posture and her infinite patience.

At one point, the aging gentleman spilled a bit of salmon with pomegranate glaze on his shirt.

Elderly gentlemen: We should buy a Tide Stick.
Date/wife: We have one.
Elderly gentlemen: You should have brought it to the restaurant..

Now, let’s be honest, there’s nothing about that exchange that’s worthy of great literature (or even genre fiction).  But that’s not what I  heard the old gentleman say.  The scene takes on a whole new meaning when you hear it this way:

Elderly gentleman: We should buy a Thai Stick.
Date/wife: We have one.
Elderly gentleman: You should have brought it to the restaurant.

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2 thoughts on “A Good Ear for Dialogue?

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