Nobody likes being eavesdropped on, but most people do like to eavesdrop, at least every once in a while. In most public places, in fact, it can be impossible not to. But every once in a while, at a restaurant or a bus stop or some other public place, a real gem of a conversation can be overheard. Read the stories below to hear about the strangest conversations that people have overheard in a variety of places!
"I heard these two guys talking on a plane that I figured out were flying to a wedding. Sounded like they were in the wedding party. They were going back and forth about how the bride had slept with at least half the groomsmen, and even one of the bridesmaids. Granted, it sounded like it happened in the past, rather than an infidelity thing, but maybe those guys were super casual about adultery.
Anyway, they were trying to figure out if the groom knew. They decided he probably didn't know, so then they were arguing the merits of telling him vs keeping their mouth shut. They never came to a conclusion on the plane.
She sounds like one interesting woman."
"I was coming home on the Amtrak from visiting my family a few years ago. A young 20-something couple sits behind me, and they clearly have just gotten engaged. They're happy, they're talking to each other in just the most loving, affectionate way, and discussing plans for their upcoming wedding. It's all good, this is clearly a happy and excited couple, and you could tell this was probably the first discussion they'd had about their wedding plans.
So the girl happily brings up something about what they should have on the menu, like 'two or three choices for the adults, but then a fourth option that the kids would like.' And the guy goes, 'Kids? I don't want kids there.' Instantly, the temperature in the train car drops about 10 degrees. She goes, 'You don't? How can we not let kids there? We have family members with kids! Kids have to be allowed!'
Then he says - and this is a point I thought was very valid - he says, 'Having kids at the wedding or having a child-free wedding makes it a very different kind of ceremony. It's not just a matter of 'kids are allowed/kids aren't allowed'. It changes the tone of the whole thing,' which actually I agree with. I'm not married, but I've been to plenty of weddings that were kid free and some that were kids allowed, and they were both very different.
The train ride was 3.5 hours, and the conversation just got worse and worse the whole way. Again, to give the prospective groom credit, he stayed very calm and tried to be rational about it. She went from glowingly happy to less happy, to attempted neutrality to furious. By the time we got to our destination, she was crying and yelling at him. He made points that 'if we don't have kids at our wedding, it doesn't mean we don't like kids, or don't love our family members who have kids. It just means that if we want a more adult, intimate wedding, it's something we need to strongly consider.'
I wondered about them later on, if that was something that was clearly a deal breaker for both of them."
"I was in line for a rollercoaster years ago when I overheard a 12-year-old and her even younger sister talking to 2 nice strangers, all standing in line behind me.
The 12-year-old was talking about how she lives on a farm with her grandparents, her little sister and her newborn kid. She goes on and on about her young kid, and how her grandparents home school her so she has time to her raise and take care of her kid and how her little sister is helping too. She goes on to describe how little and precious and sweet her kid is and how much she loves her.
I spent the entire time in line stunned and speechless and impressed by how engaged and unbothered the two strangers were during the whole conversation (ie asking to see pictures, etc.)
It wasn't until we got to the front of the line that I realized she meant kid.... as in a baby goat."
"Two of my students were talking about this guy texting one of the girls, saying they think he's texting her to get to her friend who recently got her phone taken away.
I chalk it up to middle school drama, day goes on.
Later I hear the girl who had her phone taken away say 'I think I'm scarred.' And something didn't sit right with me about it. I circled back and was like 'Hey kid, need to talk to me about anything?' She mulled it over for a bit and asked for a private convo.
Turns out this guy had sent a third girl a dirty pic, and oh yeah, he's not a guy their age - it's their teacher for an out of school extra curricular.
That was not a fun day."
"When I was sixteen or so, the landline rang with my dad's cell number, so I answered. I turned out to be a pocket dial. I listened in for several minutes to hear my dad screaming obscenities at someone who hadn't paid him for a narcotics deal. At this point, I knew he was an addict--he'd often disappear for days, and no one could get a hold of him--I just hadn't realized how involved in the other side of the process he was. He went on to yell about how he needed that money to buy his kids Christmas presents, which broke my heart on a whole other level because he was using us an exercise in guilt, and lying the whole time. I knew that, come Christmas, any presents under the tree were likely the result of my mom begging him for money to find us a few small items or from my brothers pitching in money from their jobs to get us gifts."
"I was in the toothpaste/deodorant type aisle at Walmart and overheard a normal business type man (about 40) talking to a younger skater type kid (about 17.) They didn't seem to actually know each other but were having a very private low toned conversation. The older guy was telling this kid how to be successful in life and the kid was really into everything that the guy had to say. I only heard bits and pieces but I caught enough to know that he was informing him of the best 'working girl' in the local area and gave him her number. Also that the coke business was booming and that if he wanted in he just had to do a few runs for them. He also told him that cheating on your wife is OK if you simply pay some 'ho' for it and that you need to get in good with the owners to get the good girls that won't give you the rot... his words not mine.
I was looking for a teeth cleaning kit and was having a hard time finding it. When I got too close to them they kinda talked quieter and would look over at me. I pretended not to hear anything and kept looking until I found it. I looked back at them when I walked away and both were staring straight at me hardcore. I was kinda scared for a while that I had heard too much. I really hope the kid doesn't end up in a barrel of acid."
"I was chilling with a friend at the beach, by the sea, when I overheard a guy telling a girl this story.
He used to have a housemate who kept to himself. After a while they (the other housemates) realized they never saw him. They tried his door, but it was locked. A few weeks went by. It was normal to not see him often, but eventually it was very strange that he had just stopped showing up.
Eventually a really weird, horrible smell started coming from his room. That's when they started to get worried. Eventually they broke the door down.
They came into the room, and to their horror saw some legs sticking out from under the bed.
Until they realized it was tights. Stuffed... with rotting chicken chow mein. And then they saw a hole had been opened up... well you can guess where.
Suffice to say I listened to this story with mounting horror and fascination. I think the teller was on a date, and told the story completely calmly, and the girl was equally chill about it."
"I worked at a home for men with developmental disabilities for several years during college, and part-time/volunteer after college. I overheard many amazing, hilarious, disgusting conversations between several of the individuals living there. Nothing, however, would top this night:
I was walking through the three adjoined living areas, each with 10 rooms and 20 or so individuals living there. The diagnoses of each varied significantly, from Downs' Syndrome, to Fragile X, to Autism, many had lived there for decades. This was truly an archaic tribute to the times when institutional settings were the norm, and the fancy thing to do when the well-to-do had a child with disabilities, was to send them off to the middle of nowhere.
Kenny was a real treat of a guy to work with. He had Downs' Syndrome, and an uncanny knack to order a 'Diet Big Mac, Diet Fries, and a Regular Coke at McDonalds.' He would always bemoan that various tasks were 'not part of my goddanged pucking program jerkl!!' and other sundry rants.
He was definitely a challenge to work with, and he liked nothing more than a truly weak mind to manipulate.
Enter: Corey. Corey was typical. A college-aged student, with a very common problem for people hired at this facility: he wanted to get paid $2/hour more than he would get at pizza hut, even though he had no idea that working there was not just challenging, it required significant patience and understanding of human behavior.
He was never a good employee. He worked 3rd shift, and was always sitting around playing video games, never really checked on the guys enough, and was a general jerk.
I was walking into the home Kenny lived in, from one of the adjacent homes, when I observed Corey standing outside of Kenny's door.
'Dear God,' I could hear Kenny begin his prayer. He had horrendous vision up close, and so he held the Bible around an inch from his eyes to read some random words betwixt the mix of ravings and sweet thoughts that tended to come out. He also had a number of ticks, which made him stand out linguistically in a way I can never forget.
'Please kill Corey, and Pat, and Bob, but not my name, no, I like him.'
'KENNY!! WHAT DID YOU SAY!!'
Corey lunged at Kenny and 'restrained' him. He was only on Kenny for about one second before I threw Corey violently against the wall. I sent him home and fired him on the spot.
The hilarity of the prayer mixed with the sadness of Corey attacking him have always stuck with me. Though many years have passed, I still think of those guys often.
The campus is no longer used, with all of the residents having gone into modern living arrangements, and with the death of institutionalized care for our people with disabilities. In fact, I saw some photographs of the campus a couple of years ago, with all of the overgrowth, and now dilapidated facilities. It looks even creepier than we made it sound when describing the more than 100 year old buildings, and the underground tunnels that connect them.
Sometimes I think of Corey, and hope that the experience helped him stop being such a bag of jerks, and if not, I hope he at least gets really bad cold sores."
"I was once in a Starbucks in Boston and witnessed a break-up which was immediately followed a failed proposal attempt. It was the craziest thing. The dude was very into her and her body language did not reply in a copacetic manner. He confessed his love to her, she replied that it wasn’t gonna work and she might need some time. He replied, 'We have the rest of our lives to figure it out, so you have the time.'
He then got down on a knee and pulled out a ring. She stood up and said 'This is what I am talking about! You don’t listen!' She asked him to stand up. He said with tears in his eyes, 'Why? I am still waiting for an answer.' She gathered her things and left out the back. The man sat back down and finished his Frappuccino while crying. I refer to the story as the 'Saddest Cold Coffee Beverage Ever.'
"I was in the smoking room in my old job, so kinda public. These two old dears were chatting behind me...
'Did you hear about Janet?'
'No, what happened?'
'Well, you know she was going on holiday?'
'Her grandmother was going with them, but when they got to Dover [a big port in the south of England] she didn't have her passport and she is from up north so didn't have time go back and get it; so they put her in the toilet to for the ferry journey.'
'All was fine till they got to France, they pulled over at a service station and she was dead!'
'What did they do?'
'Well, they decided they might as well carry on to the caravan site and confess when they get there; so on they travelled. Once they got to the caravan site they parked up, unhooked the caravan and drove to the police station. Apparently the police were very understanding and they went back to the caravan site and you will never believe what had happened.'
'What had happened?'
'You'll never believe it. Someone had stolen the caravan, dead granma and all.'
I never got to here the rest of this story, but it is honest the best conversation I have ever heard."
"My classmates and I are doing a lab practical IDing gram negative rods when this random girl sits on the bench outside the lab and starts just bellowing about a mystery person. Top of her lungs she says stuff like 'I was telling everyone years ago she was a piece of crap,' 'She totally deserved it,' and something closely resembling 'The world is better off without her.' My classmates and I were irritated but didn’t close the door for fear of missing out on this girls crazy tirade. Who talks like that, in public no less?
At some point the woman dropped the mystery person's name and I kept it in mind. My classmate and I look up this person on Facebook to find out she was killed the night before on a local elementary school playground over a deal gone wrong. She was only 17. We quickly went from intrigued to disgusted at the way this grown woman was talking about a child who was murdered. But yeah, that was the weirdest thing I’ve ever overheard."
"I used to be a chauffeur driving mostly Sedans and SUVs.
One day, I was called to pick up some people at a wedding. No problem. I wait for an hour and a half for them to come out. It was hot and humid, but I made it work. Suddenly the whole party came streaming out, there was a TV-type camera and professional photographer, it was a huge wedding that obviously cost a lot.
The bride and groom jump in and I started driving for what was going to be an hour-long trip to the hotel.
I'm driving towards the interstate, which is a quarter mile away, and the bride starts first complaining, and then crying about how the groom's family ruined their wedding and that she missed out on some of the ceremonies because of his family. She's just berating him and his family and this went on for the whole hour-long drive until I got them to the hotel. I couldn't how brutal she was to him on a day that he was hoping she'd be happy, she just seemed icy cold. She made an hour of my life extremely uncomfortable and unpleasant. The groom didn't have any means to defuse the situation, as an angry woman cannot be reasoned with.
Didn't tip me, either."
"In the old days, we had a baby monitor that one day picked up our neighbor's cordless phone. I listened while I changed my son and found out that the wife on the phone won a trip for two to Hawaii on XYZ date and was asking the person on the phone if they wanted to come.
It was clearly not her husband by the conversation.
Later that week I was grilling out and drinking with the hubby and congratulated him on the trip. He was confused and I said, 'I don't know who I heard it from, but I'm sure your wife knows.'
A while after he got back I asked about the trip and he said he had a very good time. I then asked about the wife and he said it took her a couple of days to relax but she had fun."
"I was sitting at a bus stop. This guy walked up talking looking really pale and kind of dirty and sat nearby me. I actually had my headphones in my ears but no music was playing yet, so I'm guessing the guy assumed I couldn't hear his conversation. He started describing the way a person's body looked as they laid on the ground. And when he touched their skin it was ice cold. Saying that blood was everywhere and he didn't know what to do so he left. Then he started looking to see if I was paying attention and talking lower. I tried to act like I was listening to music cause I was petrified.
I still till this day don't know if it was a joke, if he witnessed murder, or committed one himself. But that was definitely weird."
"I was in the bathroom, minding my own business, when a guy comes in and sits in the stall next to mine.
All of a sudden I hear dialing noises. I was like, is this guy seriously calling somebody? Yep. On speakerphone. While taking a crap, in a public bathroom, with someone else in it.
Girl: 'Hey, is this important? I'm working and it's really busy, I can't really talk right now.'
Guy: 'Hey, don't worry this won't take long. I was just wondering, uh, I got some tickets to a comedy club this Friday, and I thought you'd like to go with me.
Girl: Sighs heavily 'Uh, no, I'm not really into comedy. Okay I have to go.' Hangs up.
I really wanted to flush, or say something, but that was so cringy I just... I felt bad."
"When I was an undergrad, we lived in a city apartment that shared a front porch/balcony with another apartment. My bedroom window opened out onto this porch. Not long after we moved in, I overheard a long conversation between my neighbor and a friend of his, sitting out on the porch, about how my neighbor had built a time machine (he had a lot of specific information on building it with PVC and copper wire) and had traveled to the future.
His comment, without any trace of irony, was 'It's funny, though, the future was really just a lot like the present. People were just walking down the street doin' the same stuff they do right now. No reason to be scared of the future, man.'"
In October, the adult shop also sells Halloween costumes. I was there with my best friend and her boyfriend while she looked for a costume. The two of them start having a fight in the middle of the store, so they go outside to continue it on the street, leaving me to just browse around and eavesdrop on customers.
A guy comes in the door and asks the lady at the counter if he could order something special.
'...I'm looking for a six foot industrial strap-on. Something I can chase a man down the street and beat him down with.'
I had to leave the store so I didn't bust a gut laughing and accidentally make him feel bad about his kink, but honestly, I might have stopped a murder if I had."
"I was in line at Six Flags several years ago and heard a man having a loud argument on the phone. Next thing I know the dude just starts aggressively peeing himself, then stops to take pictures of his pants and the people in line around him. He goes back to arguing on the phone screaming 'Is that what you wanted, you sick weirdo! Let my family go!'
I don’t know what the deal was, I guess terrorists or some crap had his family. Super crazy situation.
Most messed up part though is I saw him later that day, definitely alone, and definitely having a good time on the Superman ride."
"I was outside on my deck having a smoke one hot summer night, the kind of night where houses have all the windows open, and you still would rather be outside. I overheard a couple having an argument, but I couldn't quite make out what was being said. Doors slammed, but all I could catch was the inflection and intonation in the two voices. All of a sudden I heard a couple shots from a weapon and then dead silence.
Ultimately it turned out that the shots were from a completely different incident in a neighboring community. And although the timing of the event was extremely coincidental and strange, I like to believe that they also heard the shots and realized there was more to life than fighting."
"Last night I was at a minor league baseball game in my city and 2 men we sitting right behind me. They were friends from college, one was married and sounded more honest and mature. The other one wasn't married and described his apartment as being empty of anything but his mattress on the floor of his bedroom. The second guy kept calling girls either hot or ugly and his friend asked him to tone it down bit (they were saying this truly just 12 inches behind my ears and they were talking loud to be heard over the commercials playing on the screen before the game). The second one asked the mature one if he thought he could hit one of the pitches and he replied not without some training. The second one claimed he could hit one of those any day of the week.
Eventually I moved because the second one wanted advice on getting laid and I just couldn't take it anymore..."