I Heard What You Said
I WISH TO MAKE A CONFESSION. I am an eavesdropper. I may look like I’m totally focused on the book in front of me or this blank page as I write, but I also have an ear turned to the world around me. I listen in on what other people are saying and I hear some incredibly inane interesting things sometimes.
Listening in is how I am able to do blog posts like that one from last week about the Real Estate mavens at the next table. I should be ashamed, but I’m not. I’m a “Listening Tom.”
“So I said, ‘Go ahead and kiss him if you want to. He’s your horse.’”
I have heard people say things I wish I hadn’t heard – people sharing tragic events in their lives or an immense sadness. When it is like that I get out my earbuds and plug in some music. Fortunately those moments are rare.
Once, several years ago I did hear two idiots discussing their plan to rob a store. Like I said, they were idiots. I heard all of their details about where and when the robbery was going down. I knew the store they were planning to hit so I called them and gave the manager all the details. I heard later that the two dummies got about a foot inside the store before they were chewing the carpet.
Ninety-nine percent of what I overhear is just plain silly – bits and pieces out of context snatched from the din. It is like mishearing the lyrics from a song on the radio. Who can forget that Creedence Clearwater hit “There’s a Bathroom on the Right,” or the lyrics to “Louie, Louie” by the Kingsmen. Y’know, I still think they recorded that while trying to swallow a pair of sweatsocks. It was virtually unintelligible so everybody made up their own lyrics.
Just last week I heard something that almost made me drop my fork. My wife, the lovely and articulate, Dawn, and I were having lunch with our son Alex. They were tinkering with a Kindle, looking at something Dawn had downloaded when I heard Dawn say, “Why is that dog dressed like a nun?”
I asked for clarification on that one. Did I hear that correctly? Had I misheard her? Was that a “Louie, Louie” moment? No, that was exactly what she had said. “Why is that dog dressed like a nun?” I didn’t inquire any deeper. My only reaction was to try to contribute to the conversation. I said, “Oh, that must be Sister Mary Fido.”
I felt that I could get away with that because I went 8 years to Catholic Grade School with nuns everywhere as teachers and keepers. We made up worse names than Sister Mary Fido for them.
I think that one of these days I’m going to put together a story composed entirely of misheard eaves droppings. It might be quite interesting or it might end up as completely incoherent – like much of the other stories I write!
God gave me two ears and only one mouth, so I figure I should listen twice as much as I talk. At least I use that as my justification for eavesdropping the way that I do.