You're walking through the shopping centre.
You're minding your own business.
You're probably even in a hurry.
As you walk you hear snatched moments of conversation. You don't hear the beginning, you don't hear the end. You sometimes don't even hear a complete sentence, or you may hear a couple of sentences as you approach, pass and walk away.
Yesterday I was walking through The Orchard shopping centre in Taunton. It used to be called The Old Pig Market. I liked it when it was The Old Pig Market, it had character and paid just a little homage to what had gone before. Now, even though many of the shops are the same (the ones that aren't closing down because of the 'tough times') and the people in it are the same, The Orchard seems pretentious, unnecessarily branded and more than slightly ridiculous. There was never an orchard there, it was a pig market. Now it's a shopping centre, so why not call it The Shops?
Anyway, I digress - which I seem to do a lot of these days. I was walking through The Orchard. Ahead of me, and more or less in my path, were a lady of 'middle years' and a child, a boy of about six or seven. I took them to be, in the way that we all make assumptions, grandmother and grandson. As I approached, passed and went on my way I overheard this conversation.
Grandmother: Well, you really do know a lot, don't you? What else do you know?
Grandson: Meerkats can't tap-dance.
I was still smiling when I got back into the office.