Eavesdropping was often mentioned as a source for stories in the first creative writing classes I took. Cell phones have certainly improved opportunities for evesdropping. Overheard fragments of conversations can act as, in the words of They Might Be Giants, “a stone to wrap a piece of [narrative] string around.” I’ve heard two this week, days after each other, that just want to be shared.

“When you’re pregnant you can’t think. I read somewhere that when you’re pregnant all the blood goes to your abdomen and your brain shrinks.”

“So, they tell people that dad married his son’s girlfriend. As if that’s not embarrassing enough. . . .”

Eavesdropping is also, of course, a chance to tell stories. Though I did (I swear!) hear the above, I can’t remember if I heard or made up this one:

“You look a lot like my fiancée [he said]. We should have dinner sometime.”

Finally, there are websites that collect the eavesdroppings of others, fiction and non-fiction no doubt, not to mention sites that collect confessed secrets. Some of these are blatantly tragic and sick, but others manage to be hilarious.

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