Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Nosey Rose

I have a confession to make. My name is Madame Queen and I'm an eavesdropper.

It's rude, I know. But I can't help myself. I'm fascinated by relationships and I love getting a peek at the inner workings of other people's lives (Perhaps why I'm drawn to blogs? Hmmmmm.) I am an excellent reader of body language and facial expressions and I find I'm particularly drawn to people in conflict with one another. Why are they fighting? Why go out to dinner if you're fighting? Did the fight start in the car? At the table? Who started it? Who's playing the martyr? So many questions.

I used to think I was pretty good at eavesdropping unobserved. The first rule of eavesdropping is that you don't talk about eavesdropping (Does anybody here get that?) No, really, the first rule of eavesdropping is that you never actually look at the people you're listening to, except for the first cursory glance so you get an idea of who the players are. After that, you have to keep your eyes focused on the distance while listening to their conversation all the while keeping up with the conversation at your OWN table. Which is NOT easy, my friend. And apparently I'm NOT very good at it, according to Mr. Daddy. He says he can always tell when I'm doing it because I get this blank look on my face and I stop talking. BUT, I don't think I've ever been caught by any of my, um, subjects. So that's good. I guess.

Lately I've found myself imagining what the lives must be like of people I encounter. When we went to Charleston back in August, on the highway we got behind a woman in beat up, old rust-red colored El Camino. She had a couple of bumper stickers -- one of which was a Harley-Davidson logo -- and one of those roach clips with the feathers dangling from the mirror. (Aside here, WHAT were our parents thinking letting us wear those back in the 80s??! It was DRUG PARAPHERNALIA!!) Anyway, when we pulled alongside her, I noticed that she was what I call a woman of indeterminate age. It was pretty obvious that life had been hard on her. I turned to Mr. Daddy and said "She looks earthy."


"No, earthy as in her personality. She probably smells like warm polyester that's been stored in mothballs. And cigarettes. I bet she cusses like a sailor."

And then I was off and running...thinking about her life. What does she do for a living? Does she have children? Grandchildren, even? I even found myself hoping that she had a good life. Maybe she'd had a rough road 'til now. But maybe her luck was starting to turn. I guess this is the kind of thing I do when I can't read a book. Make up my own stories.

UPDATE: I just learned today, via Lulu that today has been designated as The Great Mofo Delurk Day by Schmutzie on her Milkmoney blog. The purpose behind this is to draw out lurkers on your blog. I think I have some based on my blog stats and some of you have outed yourselves recently and I have come to love YOUR blogs. So, if you lurk, let me know! I'd love to meet you!


1blueshi1 said...

ohhh, yes, I love to people watch and do that--make up their stories. have you ever read Barbara Samuels? her characters are so excellent, it's hard to believe they are not actual people walking around that I will meet someday. you would love Lady Luck's Trip to Vegas and The Goddesses of Kitchen Avenue.

Laurel said...

Mr. Wicke will tell you that I am just like that! Glad to know I'm not alone. Aren't people the most interesting animals on the plantet? We do the strangest things! And I am fascinated by every, single one!

Lauren said...

Oh yes, Im an eavesdropper too...however I like to call myself a humanitarian-one who is interested in the activities of other humans-instead...sounds nicer ya know? I find myself doing it the most at the playground...and Im always amazed at the things people will talk about publicly...it's pretty funny.

Esme said...

Awesome "Fight Club" reference, Madame!

When I'm writing a news story it's called "being a reporter," and when I'm editing it's called "being a journalist" but when I'm off the clock, it's just "evesdropping!" Lauren, I'm with you on the playground thing. Also, isn't it fascinating what people will say if they have a cell phone on one ear? As if the only person who can hear them is the one they're on the phone with?

Lulu said...

I would definitely say that I'm more oblivious about people than I am nosey. I think that I have way too many things going on in my own life to worry about someone else's! Not sure if that's good or bad...but at least I'm not a MoFo! He-he!

Leslie said...

When I was a freshman in college, friends and I would play a game in the cafeteria called, "This is His/Her Life." We'd take turns making up stories about the people coming through the door. "Okay, this is Amad. He's an exchange student from Pakistan and his major is Biology. He's going to medical school because his family expects it, but he secretly sculpts on the side..." The more intriguing and outlandish the stories the better! Sort of like what you do telling stories in your head--only we told them to each other. It's fun to speculate isn't it?

The best thing I ever overheard? "Well, you know she was sleeping with the Tidy Bowl man." I still wonder what that was about!

Fun posting!

Chickenbells said...

How wonderful! I love to lurk, and am especially interested in relationships (mostly because I got a divorce a couple of years ago, and I am really interested in how people DO this stuff!) and I love to read about peoples family and kids...blogging is the ultimate in lurking...and I am so pleased that you came to my blog and outed yourself! And, now I think I will lurk more in your space...

Amy and Kia said...

I think all writers are eavesdroppers. It's the only way to learn how to write good dialogue. What's fun too is to be in a public place with a writing buddy and start talking about your latest plot as if it is real life. You'll always find out who's eavesdropping on you. Never fails!

Oh, I'm a part-time lurker, but a daily reader.

Colleen said...

ooh! I try to do that, too, but I am not very good...sometimes I look back at the people when something astonishing is said...and I usually have an astonished look on my face so then they know I was eavesdropping.

happy delurking day!