September 3, 2009


I love DC. Especially in the summer. Sure, it's hot. The tourists drive me crazy, along with the buses they ride into town on. The Potomac River stinks in the heat as it winds through the city. But all that aside, it's fun. Early in the morning, as I walk from where I park to where I work, there are vendors selling everything from fruit to bed sheets. There's live music, usually in the form of a sax player with a drum machine who should have given up music after high-school band. And there's conversation. I love watching people. I like overhearing them even more. Here's what I've heard in the last week.

The homeless man, sitting on the bus stop bench.
Bless you, bless you. Change please? Bless you bless you. As our savior said unto his people, we're going to rock down to electric avenue and then we'll take it higher. And it was good and the people did bust a move. Change please?

Two guys, in suits, squiggly things from their suit collars to their ears.
And then Biden walks in, Joe, and the President is all "Joe, come sit down" and pours him a cup of coffee.

A flower vendor, selling flowers outside a local subway stop, who was momentarily side-tracked by a pretty woman walking by.
Flowers. Come on, give them a smell. They won't bite. But damn, I'd like to get my face between whatever's under that skirt.

A large, African American man was standing in line for breakfast at a local cafeteria. He'd just been asked how he was doing.
Man, I'm good. It's Friday and I got my fucking bird. Yeah, I'm back living in my old house and my bird is there. It's this little fucking bird in this nest and he's got this cute little family. Every morning they're all up in there singing and shit. Man, it's nice. I rented the place out for a year or so. Told the guy renting the place from me if you cut down that fucking tree or in any way fuck with that little bird, your ass is going to be out on the street with no fucking notice, you hear me? I'll move your ass out myself, pack up all your boxes of shit. But now I'm back and those birds are singing so you asked me how it was going, I'll just say it's all good as long as I've got my birds and they're singing.

What have you overheard lately? What's the best conversation you've ever overheard?

Posted by Chris at September 3, 2009 7:12 AM

Nothing. Can. Compare. To. DC. street. BANTER. Thankyouverymuch!

Posted by: Christina at September 3, 2009 8:14 AM

This should be entitled : What happens when Daddy pays for your education...

Two youngish (30's) blonde female QC's* on a bus :
QC1 : "...and I kinda believed him but I kinda didnt if you know what I mean..."
QC2 : "So what happened?"
QC1 : "Well, the judge obviously kinda didnt 'coz he sent the bloke down for a five-stretch and I was like...well, blow me. Anyway, between you, me and the lampost, I'm starting to think I kinda suck at this job anyway...."

A small pretty girl on a bus (about 3 years old) - sung to the tune of 'We three kings'
"...Three wise men in Leicester square, selling knickers tuppance a pair, they're fantastic, no elastic, by your granny a pair!"

My daughter aged about 1.5 years (before she could speak english). Running through the living room, she tripped over my husband's outstretched legs....

"Bugger It!"

*QC (Queens Councel) - is a status, conferred by the Crown, that is recognised by courts. Members have the privilege of sitting within the Bar of court.In order to qualify, a lawyer usually has to serve as a barrister or solicitor (or, in Scotland, as an advocate) for at least ten years.

Posted by: Sam Jones at September 3, 2009 8:14 AM

They have a whole blog for stuff heard at my office:

Posted by: Knot at September 3, 2009 8:43 AM

When I was 14, I was waiting tables and while serving pizza, I overheard the woman at the table behind me saying to her date/husband/dude:

"I really don't like it when you fart while we make love."

Posted by: LeSombre at September 3, 2009 8:50 AM

we're going to rock down to electric avenue and then we'll take it higher. And it was good and the people did bust a move.

Oh God! How I wish I would have heard that when I was still a youth director! It's screaming a theme for some sort of party.

Posted by: k8 at September 3, 2009 8:51 AM

If I had heard the homeless guy talking about electric avenue I would have emptied my purse and given him all $2.40 inside! Now I have that damned song in my head.

Posted by: Candy at September 3, 2009 9:16 AM

I just spit oatmeal on my computer screen reading LeSombre's comment, and I mean that literally. That was hysterical!

Chris, your life is way more interesting than mine. Right now, I can't think of any good overheard conversations. Although, I do hear my work neighbor trying to reason with his (apparently) unreasonable wife quite frequently.

I love the bird story!

Posted by: Elizabeth at September 3, 2009 9:26 AM

Hubbie is in the kitchen, I'm in the living room with our then 8 month old son, singing him "Oats and Beans and Barley" (Raffi song).
Me: That's right, (in my MOST cloying 'talking to baby' voice) oats are where your oatmeal cereal comes from and barley is where your barley cereal comes from, and uh, beans... (momentarily at a loss).
Hubbie (from kitchen): Beans come from a raunchy one night stand between oats and barley at a sleazy by-the-hour motel.
Not really an 'overheard' but it made me laugh. The best 'overheard' of recent times was in the card aisle at my local supermarket. Father with little boy in cart (around 6 or 7).
Father: Now, we need to get a card for your mother's birthday.
Son: Can we get her a Transformers card Dad? Can we? Huh? Huh?
Too. Cute.

Posted by: Jen at September 3, 2009 9:26 AM

A small boy (about 5?) on the bus today "And when we go on holiday on the plane, Mum, we'll get in the plane with our special flying shoes won't we Mum?"

I want special flying shoes.

Posted by: Loth at September 3, 2009 9:43 AM

Loved this post. I am such a people watcher. Last week I tweeted a conversation between young fashionistas on my left and old drunk rascists on my right. Wild night.

Posted by: Aimee Greeblemonkey at September 3, 2009 9:51 AM

God, I love that one about the man and his birds. I get him, totally get him! It's the little things in life...
P.S. I have to remember to come back and read all of these comments.

Posted by: La Petite Chic at September 3, 2009 9:54 AM

I love overheards. I know people love listening in on Mini Red and I all the time.

Overheard two girls in school uniforms after getting out of their car:
Girl1: What are you gonna tell your parents?
Girl2: I'm not! I'll just use a sharpie on the car and the'll never know.

Oh and there this homeless man that sits on King Street in Alexandria. He mumbles as he asks for money but one day I swore I heard him mumble "Nice Ass!". I had to walk by several times and that's when I noticed him checking out all the ladies butts as they walk by. So the last time I walked past I clenched.

Posted by: Red at September 3, 2009 10:28 AM


Posted by: Maribeth at September 3, 2009 10:33 AM

- band director (via bullhorn) to Big10 Band 3 days before their first 1/2 time show of the season.

"OK, that was the WORST tuba spacing I have ever seen. I know we have some new people but come-on. Again from the top."

Band Reaction: group moaning sound

Posted by: Carol at September 3, 2009 10:47 AM

that guy with the birds is cool with me.

Posted by: kati at September 3, 2009 11:02 AM

love this post. I love listening to the kids play when they don't know you are there.

Posted by: debb at September 3, 2009 11:14 AM

*"I still live with my parents"
-a four-year-old to his four-year-old friend on a play-date.

*"I haven't eaten anything that tastes good in years!"
-Reply to, "How have you managed to keep off the weight for so long?"

Both excerpted from the 'Overheard' section of the L.A. Times Magazine 11/30/08

Posted by: laineyDid at September 3, 2009 12:34 PM

Years ago in a seedy movie theatre. It came from the balcony which back then was the smoking section and a low cost crash pad for homeless people

"You're sorry? You're sorry? You piss on my date and all you can say is you're sorry?"

Posted by: Marshall Karp at September 3, 2009 1:02 PM

I work in a prison library, and we have DVDs (this is not a US prison). Two guys standing together looking at the movies. One of them says, "Shit, man, you gotta stop watching all those gansta films. You gotta, like, expand yo' interest or somethin'. That gangsta shit ain't good for you. Here watch this. This is a good fuckin' film." Hands his friend 'The Other Boleyn Girl.'

Posted by: Megan at September 3, 2009 3:19 PM

This one is actually going to end up as a blog post:

'See, here's the thing: I like the IDEA of a rimjob, but in practice, it just seems heinous.'

Posted by: You can call me, 'Sir' at September 3, 2009 3:43 PM

I love the homeless guy and the flower guy! They both made me giggle...a lot.

Posted by: Kristen at September 3, 2009 3:57 PM

New Bride: But I'm worried because we're already having arguments about stuff.
Bride's best friend: Like what?
New Bride: Well, like we just got back from our honeymoon and he spent like $800 on a vacuum cleaner without telling me.
Bride's best friend: Yeah, but if it's an $800 vacuum cleaner, it must be a really good one! It'll last for years.
New Bride: Yeah, it will. 'Cos all all floors in the new house are hardwood. We don't have carpets.

[From the way the rest of the conversation went, New Husband could well have been having similar conversations about New Bride with his best friend...]

Posted by: Kat at September 3, 2009 10:40 PM

Man, I wish the people asking for change around where I live would say such insightful things! :)

Posted by: Shannon at September 6, 2009 11:02 AM

Alluding to 'Bust a Move', I heard 'Funky Col' Medina' (sp in the center there lol?) on the radio today-
and did the homeless person actually say that?
How did you not bust your ass laughing?

Posted by: Karen at September 7, 2009 8:04 PM