Photo by SRCHEN on Morgue File.
Have you ever eavesdropped on a conversation you weren’t supposed to? Tell us about a time when it was impossible not to overhear a conversation between people who didn’t know you were there. What was the conversation about? How did it make you feel?
Gandalf: Confound it all, Samwise Gamgee, have you been eavesdropping?
Sam Gamgee: I ain’t been dropping no eaves, sir, honest! I was just cutting the grass under the window there, if you follow me.
Gandalf: A little late for trimming the verge, don’t you think?
Sam Gamgee: I heard raised voices.
Gandalf: What did you hear? Speak!
Sam Gamgee: Oh, nothing important. That is, I heard a good deal about a Ring, and a Dark Lord, and something about the end of the world, but please Mr. Gandalf, sir, don’t hurt me. Don’t turn me into anything… unnatural.
(excerpt from Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, by J. R. R. Tolkien.)
Like good ol’ trusty Samwise Gamgee, I am not much for dropping eaves myself. More to the point, I am told by certain people who will remain anonymous (read: wife) that I hardly listen even when I am being spoken to directly! I suppose if I do not listen well enough when I am the addressee of the conversation, I should hardly find enough time to be snooping in others conversations.
Though, I suppose, one could argue that eavesdropping is more exciting than listening to a conversation intended for your ears. It is a bit naughty or rebellious to do such a thing. It seems to me, however, there are far better things to spend my naughtiness on than that!
All this being said, yes, as may be expected I do have the proverbial but to offer here. I do not remember overhearing many conversations at all, to be completely honest. But, one does stick out. I do not remember it to be anything all that scandalous, but the women I overheard certainly did! I remember, when they were aware I was standing there, they turned the brightest shade of red I think I have ever seen!
Here is the setup to this tale: I was scheduled to meet with a loan officer at a local bank. She was handling a small loan I had and I was there to discuss the terms . . . etc. So, I arrived a few minutes early, say ten or so, and seated myself in a waiting chair outside her office. She was on the second story of the building and, as it was around lunch time, she was the only one still in her office on that floor. Well, she and the other lady she was speaking with that is.
Anyway, they were discussing men. In particular, from what I recall, they were discussing their men and maybe some former (i.e. ex loves) as well. At first they were whispering and I really wasn’t paying much attention to the conversation. As they continued to talk, however, their voices became raised and it was almost impossible not to hear what they were saying.
I will not go into all the sordid details, but suffice it to say, they were discussing certain qualities they liked, or appreciated, in a man. They discussed everything from a good kisser, to muscles, to romance to . . . well, you get the picture. Now, for my part, I did not find it all that embarrassing; after all, they were having a little lunch break convo between friends.
As I said, I hardly had to eavesdrop. As they talked they became so audible, they could probably be heard down the stairs!
Let’s just say, for the interest of modesty, they were really getting amped up over this particular subject . . . or subjects, as may be more accurate!
I tried reading a magazine or two, but, yes I will confess, it was hard not to listen to these 30-somethings getting so excited and giddy over the topic at hand. The sounded like two teenage girls giggling over the starting QB! I would not doubt, though my memory fails me now, it was not replete with a few shrieks and shouts!
Well, long story longer, they were wrapping up their little escapade, or uh, conversation, when they noticed me outside the door. Of course, they had no way of knowing how long I had been there. And, in fact, I heard relatively little of the conversation. Needless to say, the one woman quickly bolted for the door, a bit red and chuckling under her breath. I think she may have managed an, excuse me, as she whisked by me, out the door and down the stairs.
This left the loan officer sitting at her desk with all the embarrassment. Her face looked as if she had been sunbathing for several hours without any sunblock!
She nervously fiddled about her desktop and then to her desk drawers, while trying to make a motion for me to be seated in front of her desk. There were several seconds of awkward silence.
For my part, I didn’t know what to say! Should I say, hey, it’s no big deal, guys talk about the same things! Or, should I have said, listen, I didn’t really hear anything, so there is no need to be so embarrassed by the whole thing!
Instead of saying anything, I chose to remain quiet and allow her to compose herself. She finally did so and we continued on with our meeting.
I could tell the whole time she was discussing loans, money and interest rates, she was really thinking, how much did he hear? And, oh no, I am so mortified!
I am sure me being a male made it even more embarrassing for her.
Looking back, maybe I should have just walked back down the stairs and waited for the other lady to leave the office. Maybe, I should have knocked on the door the instant their conversation became discernible. Well, there are a lot of maybes I could cover. But, let’s face it, none of those would have been any fun!
I suppose the moral to the story is: do not talk about things you may not want overheard in an insecure location. Or, if you are going to talk about such things, say in your office, be sure to close the door!