I was having an early breakfast at a McDonalds this morning. I often enjoy the breakfast crowd, because the conversations I overhear are often quite different than other times during the day.

Today I got a treat. A women seated next to me was enjoying a big breakfast platter alone and content, when another woman walked by and recognized her.  They sparked up a full conversation of social chit chat, all the while, the second lady stood in the middle prime travel area of the dining room.

It started with; “Do you come here on your day off,  or are you on break?”

It quickly became obvious that the seated lady worked here, and was happily enjoying her previously quiet break time.  Now she was thrust into a forced polite conversation with someone I assume was not a close acquaintance but rather, just a McDonalds customer that recognized her.

Eventually, the second lady took her seat reasonably distant from the first lady, but continued to chat away at a higher than usual volume voice level, almost yelling across the distance between the two tables.

I noticed the woman on break was giving off social cues and clear body language of being trapped.  The poor woman was on break from this,  and yet still forced to smile and be friendly and social.

As a hobby over-listener,  I too got to hear it all and watch the scene unfold.  Not just me of course. Half the restaurant could hear the conversation. We all got to learn all about this McDonalds staff member’s life.

Eventually she’d had enough. She needed an out. She finished chewing and stood up quickly.  “Well, enjoy your day.” she spoke,  and then dumped her trash and shot outside to smoke.  Whoosh. She was out the door enjoying the rest of her break in peace in the shade of a nearby tree.

The moral of this story, is that smoking has hidden benefits.