I am a habitual eavesdropper.
But I don't like that word.
I listen to conversations, and most of the time I don't try. I get sucked in. I get pulled into their world, their conversation, and without realizing it, zone out of my own.
I don't do this to be rude, or to be noisy.
But people talk loud. And when they think no one is listening, or they dont know anyone around, they talk with no filter. And I cant help but listen. They have far more exciting lives than me, or at least I tend to think so. And I am never going to see them again. Nor they me.
So when two men are a touch away from yelling at each other about work issues, I am going to pay attention. And when two ladies are gossiping about who's having an affair and who's put on 20 pounds, you bet I'll get involved, at least in my head. And you can only imagine that if there is a first date taking place, that is the conversation I want to hear.
I may pick a table near someone I think will be interesting, but I cant help it.
My friend and I use to sit near the mall (student center area) during breaks from class, drink coffee, and just people watch. Sometimes we wouldn't say a thing to each other for the entire hour, it was that interesting.
I do it so often that I don't even tend to notice when I get sucked in. I have heard so many inappropriate, shocking, weird, funny things, that I could fill a book. Or a blog.
I think of it as curiosity, and you should always be curious. I hear about situations I have never been in (and never hope to be!), I get to learn about how people truly see others, and how many different types of people there are in this world.
I don't see it as eavesdropping, I see it as cultural studies.
And you should try it.
(LA will never run short of cafes, gossip, people watching, or over sharers. So I think I am set!)