Are You A Professional Eavesdropper?

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As a writer, I’m fairly certain I have an inalienable right to eavesdrop.  At least that’s what I tell myself, and my mother if she asks, or that girl in the health food store giving me the evil eye.  Yes, inalienable right, indeed.  Watching as well as listening, it’s all part of the job description.  With every race, creed, color, and mental illness accounted for New York city is of course the perfect place to exercise these abilities.  Like that time in my yoga class when we all sat, eyes shut, beginning our first few meditations.  Suddenly the door slammed open jolting everyone from their reverie.  The soles of a pair of noisy feet slapped along the wood flooring, grunts and mutters ensued, blocks tumbled, a mat rolled and thumped loudly to the ground.  It was difficult to imagine anyone could generate that much sound with soft rubber objects and blankets.  When I opened my eyes to study in the most zen of ways exactly who this noisy perpetrator was she wore, I kid you not, a t-shirt that read, I have issues.  As I said, NYC, the perfect breeding ground for eavesdropping and observation.

Last night for example, I was lucky enough to go to the opening of a Broadway play.  Famous New Yorkers and theater industry types filled the place, a colorful lot to say the least.  My trip to the ladies room proved illuminating when standing behind me I discovered a very blond, very bejeweled woman with a thick accent.  I don’t want to be disrespectful by mentioning who it was, but let’s just say she’s the ex-wife of someone famous who may or may to have a last name that rhymes with jump.  To begin with, she didn’t actually stand behind me, more to the left of me.  In hindsight I think someone with her did the actual standing in line part.  (Will I one day be wealthy enough to have an assistant stand in line at the bathroom for me?  I have to assume she still does the peeing part herself.  I mean, surely wealthy people have the same bodily functions as us flea-bitten ordinary folks, don’t they?)

She began searching through her large purse for something and well, moaning.  Not loud moans, really.  Just tiny ones.  Like a kitten mewling for its mother.  She plowed through her satchel dismissing what I imagined to be its contents: some Kleenex, moan, a lipstick, moan, her switchblade, moan, a Hale & Hearty buy-ten-get-one-free soup card, moan.  The sound grew faster and more insistent until finally a handheld device of some sort was retrieved.  Remember, I was hearing most of this since I couldn’t actually turn around and stare without being carted off by security.  I believe it was a hand held device because one assumes a woman of this stature would not go to all that trouble over a game boy.  Whatever she pulled out it made sounds.  High pitched beeping noises that caused everyone in line to begin turning around and smirking.  This is where my story ends as I headed into the anonymity of my stall, while she-who-shall-not-be-named continued to type a Tchaikovsky concerto on her tiny keyboard.

If you’re still doubting that Manhattan fuels the fire of my cracked, fiction riddled mind, let me describe some highlights from the after-party.  A rooftop restaurant I’ve never heard of obviously too exclusive for the likes of me.  At its entrance, a life-sized stuffed Tiger.  A dark room filled with hot pink spotlights and chic boney-assed model types serving drinks followed.  Outside, on the roof, rows of blood-red terrycloth robes hung on racks waiting to be donned.  The idea being, I suppose, that on a windy October evening people wearing pretty frocks might catch a chill.  Many were confused by the robes.  A person nearby asked if we were going to be reenacting the orgy scene from Eyes Wide Shut.  To which I replied, “If I’d known, I would have stretched first.”

In the fictional account of this evening which will surely make its way into something I’m writing one day, I feel certain everyone will actually be wearing the robes, perhaps a few of the guests will have tails and someone will be playing a harpsichord.  Which reminds me, in case anyone’s wondering my character Hugo Von Strummer has offered up a clue.  Apparently the invention uses parts of several instruments, and to start it one has to play an eerie melody on a clavichord.  Maybe I should offer Hugo a robe, perhaps then he’ll tell me the rest of it.

Oh, and one more thing about last night, the person seated to my right actually turned to me and said, “Are you someone important that I ought to know?”

Well dear, not yet.  But trust me, some day soon with enough eavesdropping, I’ll become a force to be reckoned with.

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About Madame Paradox

Heidi David is a writer and freelance producer. She is the author of an as yet unpublished novel, THE FLYING JEWEL; the tale of a traveling circus where the price of admission is one's free will.
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5 Responses to Are You A Professional Eavesdropper?

  1. Miles David says:

    Good work. Stream of thoughts. Good way to build interest.

  2. Paddy Giordano says:

    I love this article! So enjoyable and true. Being a professional eavesdropper myself I can truly appreciate the art and science as well as the inspiration and horror that can come from observing other human beings and sometimes even listening to them.

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed it my kindred eavesdropper. Today, for example I walked behind a couple whose discussion went something like:
      “I think reindeer are out.”
      “Yeah, probably.”
      “Of course we could always use the elephant, you know with that long distance runner guy and all.”
      “Yeah.”
      “Maybe we should just use Louie the Bison, you know?”
      “At least we have the scraps.”
      My guess is animators, but it’s still pretty darn entertaining.

  3. julie says:

    Can’t believe you were in the bathroom line in front of me and didn’t say Hi!
    (Oh wait. You meant…ah…okay. Well, I am blonde. And I moan a lot, so I thought….)
    If I had to stand in line for anyone, it would be you.
    Thanks for the laugh.
    And yes, I always eavesdrop. It’s like poetic license except it’s for novelists. We have a get out of stalker’s jail free card.
    So don’t worry about it.

    Besides – those celebrities you’re talking about? They don’t read.

    • You know, if I could hire someone to gain weight for me while I eat anything I damn well please, then we’d really be on to something! I’m so glad I made you laugh. Thanks for stopping by Julie.

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