I’m Listening to Your Conversations and Writing Down Your Words

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One of my favorite pastimes is people watching. It began as a simple pleasure.

Dining alone at a restaurant allowed me to play games in which I guessed everything about you, from your relationship status to the reason you ordered the salad or the steak. I’d watch carefully as you tucked that strand of hair behind your ear 15 times or as you hugged your girlfriend, wife, mother, child goodbye at the door. I’d create a story about you in my head that made sense. Sometimes it was a funny story, and sometimes it was sad. But it always felt real.

Sometimes, I’d pen a few words in a notebook as I watched you. Write your story down, to remember it. To change it and tell it later. Maybe you’d be the hero in my future fiction best seller. Or the villain in a screenplay I’ll write one day.

And then something changed. I started carrying this mini computer everywhere. I got lost in Facebook. Twitter. Instagram. Snapchat. Blogging. E-mails. Everything but what truly surrounded me. Scrolling through an endless stream of what people I “know” are up to. What they’re eating. Where they’re vacationing. When they go to work. How they go to work. I discovered I could people watch without watching anyone. I could see their lives unfold without being anywhere near them. I didn’t need to make up a story, because it was all right there on my screen.

You were forgotten.

Instead of watching you argue with the cashier at LOFT about a coupon, I was staring down at my phone in a trance. Watching them talk about their most recent Amazon purchase or what their kids ate for breakfast. Laughing about a meme that everyone was sharing.

Once in a while, I’m reminded of you. Your screaming is so loud, I’m drawn back into the real world. I see you. I hear you. And everything you say is absolute gold. And now, with this tiny computer, I can capture it. Whether I’m recording you on Snapchat like an asshole (I’m the asshole, not you) or sending myself your words for posterity in an email, I’m there. Listening to everything you say. I promise.

I'm Listening to Your Words

In case you don’t believe me, here are some of my favorite things you’ve said.

Middle Schoolers on an air plane trip to Washington DC

“I feel bad for all these people.”

To be fair, we were warned that it was a full plane and the back half of the plane was going to fill up with tweens.

“You have to pay $8 for Facebook!?”

Technically, it’s $8 for the whole Internet, but you know…tomato, tomahto.

“I’m attracted to a 7th grader.”

I’m assuming you’re in 8th grade, and it’s probably not going to work out for you, my friend.

“Wow, they’re really pooping those things [luggage at baggage claim] out.”

You’re not wrong, my young friend. You’re not wrong.

[bctt tweet=”In case the Internet isn’t creepy enough, whatever you say in public has become fair game.”]

Lady on the train without a ticket

“My sister died! My sister died! They didn’t even let me see her! You know who my grandfather was? Al Capone. Could you hold this [coffee]?”

I feel really sorry for you, lady, even though you’re lying…at least about Al Capone. But I also feel sorry for the women to whom you passed your coffee cup. We shared a sympathetic look as she set your coffee cup on the floor while you went to take a crap in the train bathroom.

Business guys at a hot dog joint

“What is she Croatian? Is she Romanian? I know she’s not Greek, ’cause I insulted the Greeks in a meeting and she didn’t flinch.”

Oh boy, gentleman. Your deep Chicago accents are making this way more entertaining than it should be.

“He dead?”

You sound so flip. At least train lady was obviously distressed.

“Just like that guy who got his arm stuck in a boulder and had to cut it off.”

You guys are a train wreck. Please don’t leave. I want to listen to you for hours.

You left.

What juicy conversations have you overheard in your world? What are your favorite people-watching places?

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19 Responses

  1. I think my favorite overheard tidbit of all time has to be when I was leaving the mall and a woman standing with her friend under a hanging basket of flowers felt some water drip on her and screamed, “Shit on a stick, that plant just peed on me!”

  2. This post is pure gold! What a great idea…however I have ADD, and I suspect before I would finish listening to the person’s statement, I’d be all, “Look! Squirrel!” I’m glad you’re doing this though. I’m a creeper too. You need to do a “creeper post” at least once a week…like a feature!

  3. This made me laugh because today I had to resist the temptation to take a sneaky photo of a woman who came into the coffee shop I was working at. I wasn’t close enough to hear her conversation (oh how I wish I was) but she was dressed in a way that I can only call Kick ass grandma meets Indiana Jones. I didn’t take the picture, but it was SO TEMPTING and with computers it is sometime possible. (My computer no longer has an outward facing camera, that’s probably a good thing).

  4. I love listening to other people’s conversations. Unfortunately, I’m a little deaf in one ear, so I also have to be able to see their faces (lip reading helps me catch words I otherwise would miss). Even more unfortunately, staring intently at a stranger’s face makes me look like a total creeper.

  5. This is beautiful, I love that you record things being said…ok maybe not record like Snapchat but like writing it down to laugh about later. That’s good stuff right there.

  6. Restaurants are good. I have a friend on facebook who I went to high school with over 30 years ago. He’s an air marshal and he sometimes posts shit he overhears and it’s hilarious.

  7. Hi Chrissy. One time when I was at Panera Bread working on my blog (and was supposed to be writing), I heard a woman at a table near me on her cell phone. I could see she was marking things off on sheets of paper as she called people. She was doing phone interviews with women for her maid service … her topless maid service.

    Thanks for putting up your photo so I can watch what I say if I ever see you near me. 😉

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