I am an unabashed eavesdropper. If you are talking anywhere within earshot of me, I am likely listening to every word you say and in some instances, dictating it.
Such was the case of the woman sitting in row 20 of that late flight out of Portland on Tuesday:
“Our brother looks so much like Daddy now. I mean I always thought he favored Daddy but ohmygosh! Now that he is older, he really looks like Daddy. And Lolly has really aged. I mean like really, she’s showing her age. You know she was always cute, well, aging, it’s really bothering her that she’s not cute any more. She went on and on about how beautiful your girls are, but in a loopy way. I am not sure if she had too much to drink that night, or if she really is getting loopy, you know, mentally. It might be her mind. Or maybe she had more to drink than I knew about that night, but I am telling you, she was really loopy, and not in a good way.”
And there was the gal mopping floors at the house I visited:
“If you knew what I lived with at home, you’d understand why I do this. At our house right now we have eight dogs and a squirrel that goes comatose on me all the time. She sits by my TV chair, in the cage, of course. Everybody who walks by her is always giving her something to eat. My grand-kids love to play with her. My granddaughter is 16. That’s her there. She’s announced that she’s gay. I don’t know what I am supposed to do about that other than be there for her, love her. I mean, can she know this at 16? I don’t know. I just love her best I can.”
And the lady at Starbucks making a pitch to lure a fellow into a pyramid scheme:
“I wanted to offer you this opportunity to become a brand partner because I care about you and think this could really help you reach your goals. For only $99 you could get in on the ground level. Just $99 will make you a fully-fledged partner. I don’t recommend the $99, however, because that only provides you with the literature. (She pulls a bunch of promotional materials from an orange purse, including The Slight Edge, ,a book by Josh Olson, which a person can buy for $7.50. (Before a person does that, they ought to research Mr. Olson and his Nerium beauty product). For $500 you could get the Nerium products – and use them yourself or sell them – plus all the literature. Honestly, I had been praying about something like this for my future when this opportunity came along. I wish you could meet the fellow who got me involved. He’s a minister. A wonderful man. I heard about this one young mom whose husband had to take a medical leave and she started selling Nerium. Now she owns a Lexus. This is really a God-given opportunity. I’d hate for you to miss it.”
Oh. Brother. Just what this world needs – another pyramid scheme ordained by God. I wanted to hand them both a copy of Will Jesus Buy Me a Doublewide?
And then there was Will. Or at least that’s what his Starbucks cup said. Poor fellow. He never saw it coming. His business partner broke up with him over lattes.
“I can’t give you all the details but I’ve been offered a better position. I really can’t refuse it. I am doing what is best for my family here. Trust me, I am really taking into consideration my family. It’s a substantially better offer. How much? Oh, I don’t want to get into all that. Six figures, though. Six figures promised, not six figures based on sales. What would you have me do? I’d really like for you to keep this to yourself for now, but be ready for when I make my announcement. Until then, let’s keep all this private.”
Yeah, buddy. No one but you and Will and the gal with the computer sitting next to you in Starbucks eavesdropping.
By the way, I saw the way Will turned away when you shook his hand, saw that he wouldn’t look you in the eye. I am pretty sure he went straight to his car and sent out a text to everyone in the company.
How’s that saying go?
Live Life Out Loud.
Yep. Go right ahead.
Just keep in mind, I’m the gal sitting nearby listening and writing down everything you say.
Karen Spears Zacharias is author of Mother of Rain (Mercer University Press).