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Psst! Shhh! Listen!

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All ears! Get it?

All ears! Get it? Source: banlon1964 hide caption

toggle caption Source: banlon1964

I am a compulsive eavesdropper. I admit this because I think it's fairly harmless — I'm not a gossip*, and I prefer listening to strangers than to people I know. It's like looking in windows at Christmas trees in the winter — I love seeing the snapshot of other people's lives, it makes me feel human. This habit does make me a really annoying dinner partner; I'll often shush my actual dining companion in order to listen to the folks at the next table, ("Shush! I think he's going to propose to her!") But have you ever noticed that the various "overheard" columns often read better than fiction? We're talking to Leah Garchik this hour — she writes the eavesdrop column for the San Fransisco Chronicle, and we want to hear your best overheard conversations. Here's what I heard over the weekend in Whole Foods, from an aggressive, yoga-attired young woman (she hit me with her yoga bag, seriously.) It's not the best overheard line, but the most recent:

"Oh my GOD, Brian, are you kidding? Gluten, sugar, butter — it's like a fat bomb."

Honestly, she could have used a fat bomb. She kind of looked like a piece of celery, only more sour.

*Wait, I might be a gossip actually. At least I like gossip.



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I was walking through Folsom Street Fair a few years ago and I overheard someone turn to his friend and say: "So, you want to check-out some spanking!"

Sent by Craig M. Corpora | 3:50 PM | 2-19-2008

Please pronounce it correctly

EAVES dropping and tell of its historic start from the roof overhangs in narrow shop streets.

Sent by bob | 3:56 PM | 2-19-2008

My recent favorite - a woman was leading her child into the library and the woman said, "we didn't come here for books, we came here for movies!"

Sent by toni | 3:56 PM | 2-19-2008

Shortly after moving to San Francisco about 15 years ago I was eating in a restaurant and overheard one girl complaining to another at the table behind me that her boyfriend wouldn't get his penis peirced for her. My knees locked together in sympathy for the poor guy.

Sent by Chris | 3:57 PM | 2-19-2008

While sitting on a bus i overheard a young man saying "The thing about socialism is if there were cameras in the bathrooms and there was aliens we would know" im not sure how this fits into Life.

Sent by Elric | 3:57 PM | 2-19-2008

Many church organists can relate stories of amusing things suddenly overheard (often by the entire room) when the prelude music they have been playing unexpectedly (to the chatters) gets abruptly softer... :-)

Sent by Tim | 6:31 PM | 2-19-2008

Have you read the book "Eavesdropping: A Memoir of Blindness and Listening" by Stephen Kuusisto? A poet, Steve writes of traveling the world and listening to it, as opposed to actually "seeing" it.

Sent by Connie | 11:28 PM | 2-19-2008

Interesting enough, I love saying things in public for other people to enjoy eavesdropping upon. When I was in college, my sister and I would go out to a local restaurant and tell each other the most outrageous untrue stories just to shock and delight the other patrons. We lived in a small, insular town and I'm sure we sparked many a scandalized conversation.

Sent by Rachel N H | 11:16 AM | 2-20-2008

I used to train guide dogs and I once trained a handsome yellow Labrador named "John". One cold winter day I took John into Macy's in White Plains to train inside the store - and warm up a bit. John came with me into the Ladies Room and into the stall, since even that is a part of training. As I stepped inside I was aware of two older women, dressed in fur, making their way into the Ladies Room behind me. I knew they were too busy talking and had not noticed the dog. All chatter stopped when I could be overheard saying "John, stop that" from inside the stall. " John, no...not many times have I told you...JOHN!"

Sent by Connie | 12:33 AM | 2-21-2008