Category Archives: Eavesdropping

Disney, My Heart’s Devotion! Let It Sink Back in the Ocean!—Another Eavesdropping Story

Last Friday evening, before Fresh Hell played “It’s Fun to Smoke Dust” (see post below), you could have found us at a packed bar in Union Square. There we had discussed, among other things, Florida. Specifically, how much we hate Florida. “See,” Fresh said, “when I think about Florida, I don’t feel so bad about global warming . . . Florida is just going to go away.”

I shook my head. “Ah, Fresh. You really do know how to push buttons, don’t you?”

“Come on, now!”

She had a point, I suppose. Maybe part of a point.

Anyhow, like I said, the bar was crowded. A birthday party had gathered at the end, and the hostess asked Fresh and me if we wouldn’t mind moving down, so we did. We talked some more, and then I had to go off to the loo.

Three women, friends, were already in the stalls when I arrived, and they were gushing about one of the friend’s upcoming vacation.

“Aren’t you excited about going to Disney?”

“Yes! It’s going to be so great. I know I haven’t been there in, like, ten years, but it’s going to be so great!”

“Oh yeah. There’s so much to do there as an adult.”

“Shops, restaurants.”

“It’s just so clean!”

They all flushed at the same time, and came out discussing Magic Mountain. Upstairs, they rejoined the birthday party.

Hmm . . . Maybe Fresh is onto something.

The Tragic Lives of Porn Stars: An Eavesdropping Story

An admission: I eavesdrop. A lot. Not because I’m particularly nosy, but because I find the random things people talk about when they think no one’s listening endlessly entertaining. OK, I guess that counts as nosy. Sue me. Sometimes it’s worth it.

Saturday afternoon found me in my favorite North End caffé, enjoying an espresso and reading. A late middle-aged couple sat next to me, ordered coffee and grappa, and began chatting. She sported short hair, dyed, and a vaguely athletic style, and was bit younger than he. He, dressed in a forest green shirt, a bit paunchy, with white, wavy hair, reminded me a bit of a character actor. The life and times of the over 50s are usually safe from my eavesdropping ministrations, but my ears perked right up when I heard what they were talking about.

“Yeah, it’s sad, really. Tragic. These poor people think they are going to break into the movie business, but they hardly ever do.”

“There was that one. The one in the [garbled] Titty [garbled].”

Titty? What on Earth are these two talking about?

“It’s true. She was in those horror flicks for a while. She could scream. But that hardly counts as success.”

“Yeah. The poor guy in . . .”

Deep Throat.

“Yeah, Deep Throat. That poor guy only ever wanted to be a real actor.”

“He was a real victim. He had no idea that he would be famous. Infamous.”

“Do you know of any others?”

“There are always a few who get some kind of role. Usually in slasher flicks. But then, there are so many people who think it’s going to be their big break, only to wind up with nothing.”


Just at that moment, I read a hilarious sentence in my book (the secret to all good eavesdropping is to multitask. I was still reading). I’d share it, but out of context, it just doesn’t make much sense. Anyhow, I burst out laughing. Hard. The couple looked stunned, and somewhat wounded.

“Oh,” I exclaimed. “My book is so funny.” It was really hard not to say, “I assure you, I’m not laughing about the tragic lives of porn stars. That would just be cruel. That said, I’m really impressed that you even know about this. I consider myself to be pretty open minded, but I’ve never heard of the porn starlet in the titty movie. Please do tell me more.”

Instead, I left it at my book, and the couple looked relieved. I turned away from their general direction and kept reading, but the moment was gone.


Sunday Wanderings

Ceramic Doll Head

It’s still way too hot here for January, but at least I needed a light sweater today. Inspired by the sunshine, I took off for a little town not too far from here and did some wandering around. Apparently I wasn’t the only one inspired. A street musician, wearing some multi-colored quilted jacket, was wailing away on his recorder. In between little trills on the thing, he’d yell out “Aieeee!” or “Arghhhhh!” I tried not to make eye contact with the madman as I passed, but he started to follow me a little bit, inclining his head in my direction as I sped away. I ducked into a shop, and the owner explained that he just does that. She simultaneously turned the music up a bit louder. Poor thing, having to endure that all day.

After walking around for a bit and getting a junk-shop fix (where I saw the ceramic bust, above) I stopped for a coffee at a little café. There I did some knitting, reading, and uninteresting eavesdropping (gossip about a friend’s impending divorce—these friends don’t think it’s a good idea—and the wonders of Tide detergent pens). It always disappoints me when I take the time to listen in and the conversation’s boring. Oh well. I was being rude, so I guess it serves me right.

I also read this interesting passage from my book (The Historian, by Elizabeth Kostova, a little literary candy about vampires). In it, the father of the narrator is musing about the change in landscape from Istanbul to Budapest:

It is a gradation of towns, of architecture, of gradually receding minarets blended with the advancing of church domes, of the very look of forest and riverbank, so that little by little you begin to believe you can read in nature itself the saturation of history. Does the shoulder of a Turkish hillside really look so different from the slope of a Magyar meadow? Of course not, and yet the difference is as impossible to erase from the eye as the history that informs it is from the mind. Later, traveling this route, I would also see it alternately as benign and bathed in blood—this is the other trick of historical insight, to be unrelentingly torn between good and evil, peace and war.

I thought briefly about the way the Earth has memory that can be sensed from being in a place. I also resisted the though, because I don’t like to think of nature as being solely a reflector of human history—we don’t define it; it defines us. But then my coffee was getting cold, and it was time to go.