“Do you eavesdrop on people in public places?”

– Plinky prompt, 20th October 2012

Why yes, yes indeed.

There are some public spaces where people are very much in close proximity. My view is if you’re going to have a conversation in public, especially somewhere like public transport, then you’ve got to accept that most of the people near you are going to hear it, whether they want to or not. I guess that makes it overhearing rather than secretly eavesdropping, if it’s out in a public place like that.

I take the bus to and from work, and the more interesting conversations tend to happen on the way home, when everyone’s awake and the bus is more crowded. I don’t usually have my earphones in when I’m on the bus or walking, so I usually hear the chat around me. I don’t actively listen out for conversations on the bus, as I’m usually reading my book or internetting on my phone, but sometimes I hear something interesting and pay attention for a bit.

Sometimes it’s students discussing lectures or something going on at uni, and I get a little nostalgic. One time, on the Megabus, there was a girl going on about this roast chicken she’d cooked, and that seemed to go on from Aberdeen all the way to about Dundee…I didn’t think there was that much to be said about a roast chicken, but clearly there was. Of course, I couldn’t tell you what exactly she was saying, because conversations overheard in public aren’t the sort of thing you put any effort into remembering; they’re more like random moments of mild amusement. Often some of the more interesting conversations are between parents and their little children, such as today’s participants, a father and his son, say about 4 years old.

The little boy has been chattering on about something or other, and has already stated his need to get home right away, because it’s time for dinner. Then his Mum phones, and the Dad gives the boy the phone.

“Mummy, what’s for dinner?” is swiftly followed by “What’s for dessert?” at which point I decide I like this kid.

As if that wasn’t enough, after they hang up father and son continue chatting a bit more, and I stop paying attention, until I hear his little voice, very clearly and firmly state, “I like cous cous.”

I am very impressed and will be happy to hand over the world to his generation.

2 thoughts on “Eavesdropping

  1. Hehe, I love overheard conversations! My dad was recently in hospital and the room he was in had a broken door and was opposite the nurses’ station. He said one night he listened to one of the nurses telling another (I was going to say ‘talking to another’ but he said really it was more of a monologue) about false eyelashes for HALF AN HOUR. He was a bit irritated initially but then decided it was better to be entertained about it :-D.

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