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Friday, January 9, 2009

Rinse, Lather, Repeat

I’m a sneaky little thing, I am, prone to listening in.

The bus is the perfect place to practice this art.

And it is an art. Don’t let the iPod fool you. Sure it looks like I’m listening to music, but I don't listen to it loud; and if it looks like you’re having an interesting time of it, I just may turn it off and see what's up with you…

What? Is that wrong? It’s a public space, for cryin’ out loud! If you don’t want everyone to hear about how that stain got on your living room couch, I suggest you speak in lower tones.

Which brings me to yesterday morning.

Join me on the bus, won’t you, where we keep our eyes ahead and our ears on scan…

It’s 7:14 a.m. Still dark. The bus is semi-full of heavy-lidded, blanket-coated folk who want nothing more than to be back in their beds.

That’s how it normally is. Except for when it’s summer, of course, when the bus is semi-full of heavy-lidded, cotton-clad folk who want nothing more than to be at the beach.

But back to our bus. And it is our bus, iddin it? Look how cozy we are! So cozy, in fact, that some of us have forgotten that we’re not alone…

The man directly across from us, a young, skinny man in a heavy, puffy jacket is speaking loudly enough that I can hear him over my music.

Yay! Eavesdropping! My favorite bus-bound early-morning activity.

I reach into my bag, turn my iPod off, and pull out my notebook.

“Dryer sheets? Yeah – what? No, dryer sheets!”

Brief pause.

“What? You know they are! What are you on? What do you mean, where do you put them? You put them in the dryer!”

Brief pause while our man briefly loses it.

Yeah with the clothes!! They go in the dryer! That’s why they call them “dryer sheets”! Where do you think you’d put them, woman?!”

That's enough for me. I go back to listening to The Black Keys.

But now that I've heard this, I feel as if I've somehow been charged with doing something with it. But what? I’m torn between pity for someone who has been called, during their commute, to explain where the dryer sheet goes and concern for the one who has made a call to determine what to do with said dryer sheet.

Hmmm. I may have to give up listening in for a bit. This one’s going to give me wrinkles.

31 comments:

Diane said...

I am the consumate eavesdropper. I can't help it. My daughter has picked up the trait (maybe it's genetic?).

The dryer sheet conversation, though? Yeah, that's one for the books.

Blue Eyes said...

You must have heard the David Beckham joke?

DB goes into a hairdresser and says "the usual thanks", and sits back. The hairdresser says "no problem but could you take off your headphones?". "No, work around them".

So the hairdresser works around them for a while and eventually Becks falls asleep. The hairdresser, seeing her moment, takes the headphones off and is shocked when Beckham immediately slumps to the floor.

The hairdresser puts the headphones to her ear and hears a soft voice: "breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out..."

EskimoBob said...

The best eavesdropping was done at the the Starbucks in Target. For some reason a church tribunal met to discuss the removal of a Priest, because of disparaging remarks made over the pulpit about another Priest.

My client and I would actually take breaks from our meeting discussing confidential financial information to listen in. Now that I think about it, the Dr. and his patient would stop talking while my client and I were talking. Do you think they were listening to us?!?

Braja said...

Does anyone mind if I whistle?

Kavi said...

Hmm..the conclusion is valid. I guess you may have to give it up for a while...!!

Things like a drier can cause many a wrinkle !!

:)

Skywalker said...

My bus rarely has good conversations although metro on a Friday nite or a special event nite around Verizon ALWAYS has good entertainment

Vic said...

Heard a guy in Barnes and Noble say on the phone, "You won't go out with me because I'm prettier than you!" The guy had giant dreads and bare feet.
I always accidentally eavesdrop because I think people wearing blue tooth ear pieces are talking to me.

darsden said...

I love it when we ride the bus together Pearl it is so cheevil! Sorry, did you say something? I was listening to laundry man! LOL

Steve said...

Few pleasures in life are free - eavesdropping is one of them. It's especially pleasurable to discover people who are less interesting than I am.

mbuna53 said...

I agree if you don't want people to know your biz-nis, don't talk so loud in public.

I also use the headphone trick. I frequently have the earbuds in to listen to music, but I can turn it down if it looks like somebody is going to say something interesting, or juicy.

darsden said...

Passing on the message from Derfina she and IB are okay. Don't know if ya'll new but there was an earthquake over in Costa Rica this morning early. I received the word the internet is crappola over there but, they are fine! Can't wait to read about this vacation!

Sweet Cheeks said...

Pearl...I was the person on the other end of that phone call. That idiot! I was askng him...Do you hang them on the line or dry yer sheets?
Honeslty! :)

Susan said...

I think you should devote at least one bus ride a week to having your own loud but fake conversations. You could really screw with some people...

EskimoBob said...

I second Susan's motion. That's always a fun game to play. I often have fake conversations with myself.

What's that? . . . yes, yes I would like to try the Bavarian beluga caviar. I'm sorry, but I have to get back to Pearl now. Love Ya!

It's a hoot!

Jess said...

You never know when you can learn something new...and you can never underestimate the feeling of "thank god I am not THAT stupid" or "thank god I am not married to THAT idiot". LMAO!

KMcJoseph said...

I thought dryer sheets kept ants away...

Who knew?

Smart Mouth Broad said...

The problem with eavesdropping is that with knowledge comes responsibility. Now what are you going to do about these dryer sheets?

floreta said...

hahaha. i miss riding public transport sometimes just to have interesting stories to write about! one particular moment that stands out to me is the time a obese woman was talking on the phone very loudly about her sex life and how she was the hottest bitch in town (or something to that effect). i was amused coming from her but also like: you go girl!

or, you know, the schizophrenic trying to convince me that he talked with jesus. always fun too.

Pearl said...

Diane, it positively begged to be written down.

Blue Eyes, actually, no! But now that you mention it, I suspect that there are a number of people on the bus -- particularly the ones who bob their heads with the music, their lips moving -- who probably have family members who could use that recording...

EskimoBob I have no doubt that we're all secretly listening to each other -- when of course, what we really need to do is listen to each other openly. :-)
That's been my Brotherhood of Man speech for the day.

Braja, you whistle, nonchalantly, while I listen in. They'll never suspect.

Kavi, but the bus makes it so difficult! I sat in the back on my way home from work Friday night and overheard three men discuss how one of them was arrested the night before for stealing a car! How am I supposed to mind my own business when they make it so hard?!

Skywalker, Verizon? As in the mobile phone? Another really good place for listening in is any line into the bathroom at a pub...

Vic, I do the same thing! SO many people on those lousy blue teeth things. They just look like they're insane...

Darsden! 1. The ride just goes so much faster when we take the same bus, don't you think?
2. I'm glad to hear it. :-)

Steve, are you kidding me?! You don't think Laundry Boy and his tweaked out girlfriend weren't interesting?! :-)

mbuna, a man after my own heart.

Now THAT was clever, Sweet Cheeks!
And now I can't wait for spring, cuz I hang my sheets on the line!

Susan, that's a great idea.
"What do you mean contagious? Like it could spread? No, no, man, it's cool. I'm just on the bus!"

EskimoBob, you're a silly man. :-)

Jess, the bus is the perfect place to be reminded of our blessings!

KMcJ, nicely done.

SMart Mouth Broad, this is what tortures me so! THe responsibility!

Floreta, that reminds me of the guy that sat next to me and told me that he was "tight with the Chili Peppers".

Pearl

The Wife O Riley said...

My very favorite pass time on the bus next to giving tourist the wrong directions!

Not The Rockefellers said...

Oh man Pearl, Thank God it wasn't dryer balls.

Peace - Rene

Pearl said...

Wife O Reilly, I had a suspicion that you were naughty!

Rene, We bought dryer balls for Christmas!! :-)

Jeanne said...

I don't think of it as eavesdropping. I think of it as gathering knowledge of what dialogue should sound like.

Pearl said...

Jeanne, I concur. It's more of a learning experience, really...

Douglas said...

I am really glad my town does not have any bus service. Not that I would be using it if it did. Not after reading this...

It's bad enough the only conversations in this town revolve around Medicare and the latest gall bladder operation. I'd have said prostate but those only happen on the golf course.

Michelle said...

You should put on a blue tooth and just pretend your having a phone convo real loud like!!! Have a fight or describe your latest sexual escapades!!! Or what you ate last night or how you have constipation!!!

Ok i am done!!!

Happy almost Saturday girlie!!!!

Gadjo Dilo said...

When I'm on a bus I can get a bit paranoid and start thinking that everybody there is listening to me. To make them stop this I talk incessantly, in an increasingly loud voice, until I'm shouting at people only a few inches from their faces. I'm banned now from using trains as well.

Pearl said...

Douglas, why does that not sound fun?!

Michelle, you have quite an imagination. :-)

Gadjo Dilo, you've opened my eyes. :-)

June Saville said...

iPod eavesdropping - love it. The bus and train are just the best places for inspiration for short stories. Get yourself into the groove of an overheard conversation and you've got dialogue for the next writing session - no trouble!
June in Oz

Jenn and Den said...

My favorite line is: "Where do you think you’d put them, woman?!" Ha. ("Yeah, woman. What's up with you? And when you're done with the laundry, we'll tackle a few other stereotypically female chores you can't seem to -- hold up...I think someone's listening.")

Conversations like this make you wish you could hear the indignant protests coming from the other person, invariably ending with, "Don't talk to me like I'm stupid!"

Out of curiosity...how long is this bus? Just saying....

Dennis

BTW...This is great stuff. I look forward to poking around the rest of the site.

colleen4 said...

My favourite place to eavesdrop is the pub. You don't even need to fake the iPod.

My favourite from last week? A guy walking out of the pub, obviously talking to the little woman at home. "Hey, huh....no...ya....no, I'm just leaving Greg's house now. Be home soon.