Confessions of a chronic eavesdropper

Now, those of you who have read my articles before know I have had a “little” problem with lying in the past. I have long graduated from my good old days of mischief; however, there is one small pleasure in my life that I’m not sure I want to leave just yet. It is that I confess, shamefully, that I am the world’s greatest eavesdropper. Now I know what you are thinking. Isn’t eavesdropping a huge invasion of people’s privacy? Isn’t it a useless task just to find out other people’s gossip that doesn’t even pertain to your own life? Isn’t it just kinda sneaky and mean? 

The answer to all of these questions is, of course, yes. However, if I may rebut, it is fun and it is easy and right now it is probably the only thing in life that gives me joy. 

Okay, “the only thing that gives me joy” may be a bit of an exaggeration, but I believe that I was put on this planet to do two very important things: Lie about insignificant things that don’t matter, and listen to other people’s conversations to which I have no real connection. 

I only have one rule when it comes to eavesdropping: It can’t be anything that I am in any way connected to. Why would I wanna listen to stories about complete strangers, you ask? Well, when I developed this habit as a child, my mother was amazed and a little disturbed that I had seemed to know every bit of gossip that goes on in the family. Yet, somehow I knew that my day of reckoning would come. One day while I was eavesdropping on my mother speaking on the phone, as I did most days, I heard her mention the upcoming holiday season and, to make a long story short… that Santa wasn’t real. Now, even though I am Jewish and had more admiration for the Tooth Fairy, I was still quite devastated. Since then, I have mainly had anonymous eavesdropping experiences. However, that isn’t to say that eavesdropping still doesn’t come with its challenges. 

The challenges mainly have to do with the practicality of it all. Contrary to popular belief, listening to information you are not supposed to can be a really demanding task. The mental focus that I have given to eavesdropping at the Deece over the crowded noise of hundreds of college students rivals that of any paper I have ever written. In addition, every good eavesdropper knows that they must come to terms with the fact that they will not get the ending to most stories they hear. It is merely a fleeting private moment between the people having the conversation, and you secretly listening. 

Overall, I would say my time as an eavesdropper has been mostly good. But, going to this small liberal arts college in the scenic mid-Hudson, I think it’s time for me to retire because this school is just way too small to have anonymity.   

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