Every once in a while we stumble upon a conversation that, even though it's not ours, captures our attention. Don't pretend you don't do it, because that would make me the only creep who loves mentally weighing in other people's convos.... plus we both know you're totally into it. Some people just talk too loud or discuss too interesting of topics to ignore, despite our best efforts.
As with all of the social faux pas I write about, I have extensive experience in the art of eavesing. I say eavesing because there are many forms of the eaves. There is your standard eavesdropping, eaves-bombing, eaves-reading, eaves-texting, eaves-watching etc. - And I've done them all.
Although I probably shouldn't broadcast my ample background eavesing on the internet, especially when the only people who read this know me... I feel you all benefit from my bloopers. With this post I hope to improve your ability to listen in on conversations in which you are not welcome, to become privy to the chitchat not meant for your ears and smoothly maneuver your way out of those sticky situations that inevitably follow a shoddily executed eaves-session.
The trick is to not get caught whilst listening in.
Some conversations are just too epic to pass up laughing out loud to though. Sometimes a good chuckle is well worth the discomfort of getting caught.
Beyond the typical eavesdrop lay the even more awkward levels of eavesing... Most notably, the Eaves-bomb.
The Eaves-bomb occurs when you're lending an ear to someone else's discussion and decide to interject your opinion into their dialogue, despite that fact that you were not the one being spoken to .
The eaves-bomb is rarely intentional. It's almost always a result of heightened emotion and the inability to keep your mouth shut and your two cents to yourself. It starts simply with a harmless eavesdrop.
When you realize they're talking about something you have a vested interest in, you become more and more engaged in what they have to say.
BOMB! You cut off a member of the actual conversation and interject with your own unique comments.
You Immediately regret this decision.
What you should have done is stuck to the silent eavesdrop, kept your lips sealed. Be excited in your seat and to yourself, you do not need to chime in with auxiliary details or added perspective. If in the off chance you do find yourself thrust into this predicament by your inability to stay tight lipped, know that it doesn't have to end horribly wrong. Modern technology has made playing off an eaves-bomb impossibly easy.
Continuing beyond the realm of eavesdrops we find the less intense act of eaves-peeping.
This is by far the easiest of the eaves; it involves peeping at the computer, phone or PDA in order to snoop in someone else's business.
The most common Eaves-peep is the text peep.
The most common Eaves-peep is the text peep.
But there's also the screen peep
And my personal favorite, the car DVD peep.
The third Eavesey activity on the agenda is Eaves-reading.
Eaves-reading is the act of peering over the shoulder of someone in your proximity. You can eaves-read a book, a poster, a newspaper, a brochure, a love note, a term paper, an eviction notice or anything else printed on paper. This usually occurs when the reader draws attention to whatever they are reading, If some girl is dripping salty tears on her romance novel at the airport you're bound to be curious about that book. The same goes for laughter, head shaking, worried expressions, twitching and gagging.
When the first giggle sneaks out, most onlookers try to ignore it.
As the giggling increases, so does curiosity. This is the point at which you lean back and slightly towards the reader in an effort to better your angle without making it obvious that you're an eaveser.
Usually it doesn't work.
Fortunately, there are alternate angles to be tried. All you need is a good excuse.
These don't always work either.
By now the reaction is too much to handle, you HAVE to know what is causing this hilarious ruckus in your neighbor.
Stealthy shifting is now the best option.
Victory is often short lived however, only the fastest of readers actually pinpoint the literary culprit.
I usually don't find the source in time.
Nor do I come off looking like a normal, non-creepy human after the ordeal.
We have now come to my favorite genre of Eavesing; Eaves-lating.
Eaves-lating is a combination of eavesdropping and translating at the same time. For those of you who speak two languages, you know exactly what I'm talking about. Eaves-lating events usually play out something like this:
Two linguistically unique individuals are having an avid conversation in their language of choice, most often about the people around them. They are under the impression that they and only they understand their secret language, of course they are wrong.
That's right. I just told her I liked her shoes. And she just said a bad word.
As fun as eavesing is, don't get carried away. Eavesdropping can be a dangerous game.
Especially when you only catch an eaves-droplet and not a whole eaves-ersation.
Please Eaves responsibly and Happy Listening!