I love to eavesdrop.
I wish I were better at it. My friend Victoria can not only pick out individual conversations in a noisy room; she can even stay fully engaged in a conversation while listening to the one at the next table. Super-overhearing is one of the top 3 superpowers I’d pick, right after super-metabolism and super-wealth.
I did manage to hear a bunch of the conversation next to me at dinner tonight, which Steven and I ate at the bar of Gotham, a swanky-pants restaurant near our apartment. By conversation, I mean monologue — delivered by a 60-ish, bony woman who eats there a lot, to the 20-something suit unfortunate enough to sit next to her.
Here are some top snippets.
1) “I’m not going to waste my breath telling you about Viet Nam. Google it.”
2) “I travel the world creating lifestyles for people. Lifestyles that make other people say “WOW!”
3) “I sometimes think about living somewhere else. I’ve been invited to live all over the world. Switzerland, Hawaii…and I’ve been to Rome many, many times.”
4) “The people in my building used to be a friendly community. Now it’s all bankers, and they will take your laundry right out of the machine and leave it in a pile. That’s what bankers do.”
5) “My former boss is the world’s most famous architect. She won the equivalent of a Nobel Prize…for architecture.”
6) “I worked in the best restaurant in Soho, back when there were only two restaurants in Soho. And all the famous people came.”
7) “You’re very naive. You’re naive about Viet Nam, and you’re naive about Halliburton.”
8) “Make sure your phone is off because you don’t want anyone listening in on this conversation. The Halliburton people hacked into my computer because I’m an environmental activist.”
9) “You need to go see this play. The star is Sting’s wife. Do you know Sting, the musician? Well see this play. It will change. Your. Life. Google it.”
10) “I want you to keep this pamphlet. It will change. Your. Life.” (Text on pamphlet: “THE BUSINESS OF WELL-BEING AND HAPPINESS: A NEW PARADIGM”)
11) “I’m going outside for a moment because you’re really starting to scare me. You’re sounding very right-wing. Please tell them I’m not done eating.”
12) “…and by the way, the CIA did kill JFK.”
13) “I was going to invite you up for an after-dinner nightcap, but now I’m scared you’re too right-wing.”