Voices Carry

9 Sep


Subway platform. Photo by DMT


People say some crazy things.

This summer, while laying by my apartment complex swimming pool I overheard the following exchange between a 20-something couple.  The guy was in surfer shorts, and the heavily tattooed young woman was wearing a very small black bikini.

Guy [confused]: Just tell me why you’re mad.

Girl [annoyed]: Remember when I was down in county jail last year, and I lost all that weight and got really skinny?

Guy [hopefully]: Yeah?

Girl [accusingly]: Well, I expected you to notice!

Guy [slightly relieved]: Okay. [20 second pause]  Are we still going to the fireworks tonight?

I had to bite my lip to keep from laughing out loud.  Ever since then I’ve listened more closely to the conversations that people have when they think that no one is listening, but of course, there are never quite enough of those in the Motor City where everyone commutes in their cars — while pretending to be a rock star.

And then I found the website “Overheard in New York,” a website that collects the conversational snippets overheard by folks in coffee shops, on subways and sidewalks.  The results are both laughable — and a little horrifying.  So far, my favorite has to be this one:

[Overheard on the 6 Train on Labor Day]:

Four-year-old boy: Daddy, why is there no express service today?

Father: Because the government invests all their money in war and killing people and doesn’t wanna invest in public transportation!

Four-year-old boy: Oh. That’s so unfair!

While I’m amused by these overheard conversations, I’ll admit that they’ve got me thinking about the things I say while out in public – sometimes even before I blurt them out! Some might argue that this is a step in the right direction.


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