We ALL listen into stranger’s conversations………… don’t we?
I am a people watcher by nature, I was going to write aren’t we all? But I know for a fact some people are so self absorbed they are oblivious to what goes on around them, perhaps a little unfair of me. So yes guilty as charged I can’t help watching people go about their normal lives, nothing creepy mind it’s just that if you find human nature fascinating well you have to observe! Oh and I should qualify that statement with I have a terrible habit for eavesdropping, perhaps an unsavoury character trait but if you’re going to chat to your friend about sexually transmitted diseases, then what’s a guy to do except listen in?
I really can’t help myself however I’m far from blameless in fact I blame this new phenomenon of telling the world your private business fairly and squarely on mobile phones! I can stand next to someone in a bus queue and they’ll happily chat about their lives to a friend consequently I’ve become very attuned to conversations going on around me, and I’ve heard some corkers when sitting on the bus enduring the awful evening commute out of Oxford. But what’s to do? For some unknown reason people seem totally comfortable having intimate mobile phone conversations out loud, however the eavesdropper only hears half the conversation so has to fill in the pauses while the other person answers, but don’t you think eavesdropping is just human nature?
(I’m not a gossip though, oh no tell me a secret in confidence and my lips are sealed)
Recently I overheard a lady explaining to a friend on the phone, how she’d just left a solicitor’s office after a meeting with her ex husband, a guy she described in these glowing terms,
“Thankfully I’ll never have to see his stupid little face ever again”, you get the idea they were divorcing.
I should add the half of the conversation I was listening to was the lady gleefully taking her ex hubby to the proverbial cleaners, the alimony, the furniture, the house she got the lot! Although she had to give him a token lump sum, and by the time she’d hung up I both felt sorry for the poor guy and thanked my lucky stars I am single! Mind you she had a pleasant well spoken voice and a personality you could call ‘bitchy’ but then again she was divorcing an ex hubby so perhaps her attitude was understandable……………….. 😀 hmm do I really want to ever marry?
I’ve lost count of the shear number of Court case conversations I’ve eavesdropped on, you see our County’s Crown Court (second highest Court in the land) resides in the city I commute out of, consequently all I can imagine is people leaving Court at 4pm are SO excited and intellectually stimulated, or are so frigging relieved, they jump on the bus, whip out their mobile and tell friends mothers or girlfriends what went on in Court and the outcome of the case, and again I fill in the gaps. I’ve overheard defendants discuss their knife crimes, wounding, robbery convictions and often accompanied with foul language, not forgetting drug abuse and all absolutely staggering conversations so much more entertaining than reading tabloid newspapers, or soap operas on the TV (I don’t watch TV!) Btw I’m not joking the stories I have heard!!
I’ve also overheard conversations that are so sad and upsetting, bare in mind they’re impossible not to overhear, perhaps when someone sits in their comfy Italian leather reclining seat they’re totally aware the person in the seat behind can hear every word? The other week a young woman from the seat in front of me was chatting to her mother in tears, letting her heart out as daughters do explaining how she could no longer afford the mortgage payments on her house and other bills, and by the time I’d descended the double decker stairs to get off believe me when I tell you 20minutes of sadness and upset had left me in bits. I almost felt like giving the young lady a gift of money (but is that patronising to admit), I’ve even felt guilty that I am lucky to be relatively well off!
I don’t know some people seem do get the rough end of life, so far I haven’t, but I’m afraid I’m unsure I could emotionally handle having my life turned upside down? Perhaps the consequence for my timidity is I’m a guy who doesn’t take a risk……. is still single…… a little unhappy lol.
The most entertaining eavesdrop I’ve had by far lol was again sitting on a bus! A jaw dropping tale where the girl behind who was retelling lurid stories of her slutty behaviour while being on holiday with friends in some Spanish holiday resort, fabulously entertaining that was! You’ll get the gist when I say she was a ‘sleep all day, drink party and sex all night girl’, well turns out she’d slept with a different guy every SINGLE night, good for her, you’re a long time dead!
Jeeze I was so envious………… why didn’t I go to Spain in my twenties? 😀
(Btw I’ll skip the conversation where three girls were comparing their shopping purchases and discussing the pitfalls of wearing bras that are tooo small……………….. honestly I ask you!!! And just the other week the girl sitting next to me was regaling tales of her first leg waxing session to her friend………….. after five minutes or so I had to turn and look at her, I smiled with raised eyebrows, she went red and her friend couldn’t stop laughing………….. either I’ve never noticed this before or times have changed and I’m getting old?)
Oh yes back to the entertaining eavesdrop!
Well on another journey home two teenage (@15) girls were seated across the aisle on the other side of the bus, a row in front of me, and suddenly my attention was pricked so to speak because the two young ladies were chatting about relationships and sex, oh and loudly with plenty of passengers within earshot. Well as you can imagine I’m listening into the conversation and I’d guess all the other commuters would have turned down their mp3 media, stopped reading their paperback novels all ears drawn to the girl’s sex talk. Then mid chatting about their love lives, one girl earnestly said to her friend and I could tell she was rather concerned worried and confused, saying in hushed tones,
“Can you catch STD’s from sleeping with another woman?”
Well I’m all frigging ears mulling over questions like ‘well can a woman catch an STD from sex with another woman?’ ‘And if so which ones?’ And I must admit I was as confused as the two girls! Well to cut a short story even shorter, her friend wasn’t much help and didn’t seem to know?
Then all of a sudden a middle age woman sitting a few rows in front of me, turned around from her seat, leant across to the two girls and answered,
“Yes you can my dear, you can catch STD’s.”
And having shared her caring advice she returned to her seat as if nothing had ever happened, then the worried girl turned to her friend and rather seriously said,
“I’d better get myself checked out then” and with that their conversation stopped or changed subject I cannot remember?………….. Hmm I wonder if she did get checked or have an STI.
Well as you can imagine I was in my element listening in (wouldn’t you be? Btw we all were), however I couldn’t help wondering who the rather brave knowledgeable helpful woman was? I remember thinking she must be a lovely person to bravely come to the rescue of a troubled teenager, perhaps she was a mother with daughters? A school teacher? Or just an example of someone with such great empathy, devoid of embarrassment, that she could no longer remain quiet knowing both the correct STI answer and how important the teenagers understood diseases are exchanged skin to skin.
I was truly touched.
I wouldn’t have had the nerve to speak up possibly because I was pretty confused myself! My brain was listing any number of sexual diseases before settling on Genital Herpes, I’m reliably informed Herpes is very easy to pick up from skin to skin sexual contact, but either way I wouldn’t have had the nerve to pipe up and neither did all the other commuters within earshot…………. hmm perhaps men should never get involved #MeToo and all that.
In life there are those who get involved and help others, and there are those who watch and do nothing? So I’m left wondering which one am I?
(Stating the obvious boys talk loudly over their mobile phones………………. but for some reason I only remember lurid tales told by young ladies 😀 probably because lady’s conversations are FAR more interesting engaging and darn right entertaining!)
©A. Shepherdson 2018.