Overheard In January 2015


I was at Costco last week. It seems that I am always there even though I only shop there once or twice a month. I overheard the following and could not help but write it down:

“Every day when I get home I take the garbage out. But now, that is impossible. What will happen to the garbage?”

Now I want to know. What will happen to the garbage?


When my husband and I have a date night planned we will eat very inexpensive lunches together all week so that we can really splurge on our date night. It is actually fun. He makes the best peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. We also like to eat at a certain fast food restaurant where we can get a Iarge unsweetened iced tea for a $1. I own stock in that fast food restaurant so I do not think it is appropriate to mention it here. Anyway my husband was running incredibly late for work after we stopped at the joint for lunch and I noticed after he went to work that he had left his iced tea on the night stand and I knew he would be so sad when he realized it.

In fact, an hour later he got to work and I received the following text:


Later that night he was still lamenting his loss and we had the following conversation:

“I didn’t drink my iced tea in unison,” I told him.

“You mean in solidarity,” he corrected.

“No. I mean in unison,” I stubbornly insisted.

“You can’t not do something in unison. You have to be doing something to do it in unison,” he was getting frustrated.

“I was doing something at the same time as you. Not drinking an iced tea… In unison,” I said.

“You can’t say that,” he laughed.

“I just did.”


I was in the alcohol section of the grocery store. A little girl of about four years old was skipping down the aisle behind her mother.

“Today is the funnest day!” She giggled.

“I thought you said Christmas was the funnest day,” the mom said.

“Well… every new day is fun,” the little girl said in a flabbergasted way. I wish I had that little girl’s spirit.


I was at a little grocery store. I was buying milk.

The young cashier held up the milk carton and laughed. He said, “I had a dream last night that I was craving milk. In my dream I started chugging it from the carton and it started spilling everywhere. And then I woke up.”

“Did you ever get any milk?”

“Oh yeah. I got up in the middle of the night and drank some. It was so good.”


My son said to me earlier this week, “Since there is extra small and extra large is there extra medium?”

“No,” I told him. “I never thought of that. It would be a good idea.”

“Yes. But since it could go either way there should be a small S on one side of the M and a small L on the other side and whichever it is should be in italics.” I think he might be on to something. I would love that.


I heard a preteen girl say to her father in a haughty voice, “Well then, you don’t sleep with the dead dog.”

And he did not correct her!

And now I want to know about the dead dog. And the bed.


I was at a park and I overheard a little girl say to her father, “Papa, I need you to smell something.”

He ignored her.

“Come on. I dare you. I dare you.”

Finally, he was worn down. He smelled what she was taunting him with. It was her hoodie. He looked up at her in confusion after smelling it.

She was waiting for that reaction. “Ha ha! It doesn’t smell like anything!”

I was amazed the dad actually smelled the hoodie. Any time anyone asks me to smell anything, I hold my breath and pretend to smell their item. You never know. Someone might be sleeping with their dead dog. Or not taking out the trash. Or drinking a gluttonous amount of milk. The possibilities make me shudder. Did you overhear anything good this month? Please share!

Overheard In October 2014

I tend to gravitate towards the elderly. I feel like somehow our society has devalued the older generations and it should be the exact opposite. When I am out, I will usually watch them to see if they need anything or just for my own contentment. I have been thinking on this subject a lot this week, especially age discrimination. Not just discrimination against the elderly but teenagers, too. But that is a post for another day.

So, last month’s overheard in focused on one conversation that my husband and I had with an elderly gentleman. I still think about him often and I keep hoping I will run into him again. This month’s overheard in has a few conversations of the same type. Not moments that I was in but ones that I have overheard. If you ever want to really appreciate the wide expanse of our time here on Earth, go to Costco during lunch hour. Once there, you will see couples in their later years of life, widowers meeting, single people eating by themselves, mothers begging their children not to run around the huge stone pillars (which seems to be a travesty because the pillars seemed destined for such activities), sweaty workers relieved for an easy and quick meal to grab on their break, and business men in suits hoping for the same. It is as though the whole fluctuation of time and humanity is in that food court.


My husband and I were sitting in the food court at Costco. This seems to be a regular thing, but really it only happens about once or twice a month. I will sit and score us a table. He will stand in the line, order the food, get our drinks, and make his hot dog. I obviously have the better end of the deal. I will cut my slice of pizza in half and give it to him. He will let me eat as much of the frozen chocolate yogurt (with diet coke. Yum!) as I can muster before it becomes all his. I have a weird thing about sharing food and drink. As in, I don’t.

On this particular day, I sat with my back to the Costco exit. I never sit this way, because as I have said before, I like to see what people have purchased. My own cart was a mismatched sugar and flower paradise, just the way I like it. And I had it packed so full that the only way I could fit into that seat was to place my back against it so it would not roll away. The older man next to me promised me he would stop it with his foot if it started going.

Let us study him and his wife for a moment. They sat to my left and they were an elderly couple in their mid-eighties. He was small and thin. She was robust and had circular glasses. Her hair was still a sea of black with waves of grey breaking free only at the highest frothy peaks. To my right sat an older couple in their mid-seventies. Their body frames and body languages were almost identical. Tall and removed. In front of that couple, with his back to me, was a man in his eighties by himself. He had a wedding ring on his left hand. All five of them had large dark age spots covering their arms. And I began to wonder, when does this occur? Why don’t I know this? This is something that I should know.

All three men were wearing slacks. The women, beautiful patterned blouses. The woman on my left said to her husband, “Do you think we should go check? Do you think it’s ready yet?” And he in turned replied, “let’s give it a few more minutes.”

The couple on my right were having almost an identical conversation. About picking up prescriptions at Costco.

And you guys, you guys, let us all be so grateful for our health.

After a few more moments, the couple on my left decided that it was indeed time to check on their prescriptions. The couple on my right were more cautious, pessimistic, if you will. The man stood up and I turned to the woman and complimented her on her blouse. She smiled and thanked me. It was at this moment that the husband came around to help her from her seat. She could barely move. And the gesture of love just made my heart swell.

Not the helping her up, but the realization that her husband probably put that shirt on her that day. She could not put it on herself. So, without realizing it, I had given them both a compliment. And I felt like I had invaded an intimacy that was not mine to intrude upon. Because in the moment that his hand grasped her body to help it rise from the bench, unwittingly their whole morning flashed in a sequence before my eyes. The picking out of the blouse. The rising of her arms as he slipped it over her head. And then the same gesture that he was creating now as he eased her from their bed. It was beautiful. And heartbreaking. And pure.

I cast my eyes down as to not break their privacy any more than I all ready had.


Let’s move on to something funny. My husband and I were walking down the street in our town. We were headed to our favorite Cuban coffee shop.

As we were walking, two men in their mid-forties stood across the street. They were speaking very loudly to one another.

One of the men was built like a cut tulip on its third day of adjusting to a vase of water still shocked at the loss of firm ground caressing its now amputated roots. He was all round from his thin legs up with a point for a head.

His Boston accent rang through the morning air, “You wanna know my biggest fear?”

He did not wait for his companion, a nondescript man who was a blade of grass to the tulip, to answer.

“You win the Pennsylvania lottery and then you’re gone.”

My husband and I both turned and looked at each other with confused grins on our faces. It was such an odd thing to overhear on our small California street, especially in the morning before coffee. And not at night before wine.


One of the things my family loves to do is go to the bookstore together. There is nothing better than the smell of thousands of books joined together. Each so different that it would be like throwing together all of the world’s lovers and enemies into one room and instead of the loud clamoring one would expect, all that is heard is peaceful accepting silence. Each book wrapped up and secure with the knowledge of themselves.

Not everybody feels this way.


Because as my son and I were walking down an aisle, a man turned to his wife and began to complain about wanting to sit down.

This is what he said, “The only place to sit was by that chair.”

I did not comprehend the irony of his statement until my son turned to me with a huge grin and a twinkle in his eye. After the couple had left the aisle, he whispered to me, “Did that man just say what I think he said?”


I was at a grocery store a few weeks ago and I could not help but overhear a woman who was passing out samples to another woman. She kept repeating herself in different ways and I had to wonder what the younger woman thought of the stranger’s assessment of her health.

The woman in her twenties stopped to get a sample. The woman passing out the sample began to give a speech about the benefits of the sample for one’s health.

The woman said, “Maybe I should try this. I haven’t been feeling well.”

The lady replied, “You know, you do look a little funky.”

“I feel it.”

“You look really sick. I think you should go to the doctor. Get a Z-pack.”

I left before more medical advice was given, but I had to wonder how I would feel if someone told me I looked funky. To me, the woman looked completely normal. Maybe I don’t know what funky looks like. Maybe I look funky.

Maybe I need a Z-pack. Or a seat next to a chair. Or to play The Pennsylvania Lottery.

Did you overhear anything good or interesting this month? Please share. I’m all ears.

Overheard in August 2014

I am an eavesdropper. A shusher of current company. A nosey woman who wants to know about every single character in the world or at least the interesting things that they say. But I do not want them to tell me. I want to hear their world myself. Even a secret snippet of it:


I was out shopping and I got to talking with a dressing room attendant. He was a smiling, lanky young man with a cheerful soul so often found mixed with the mischievous. His spirit animal would have been a monkey and I happily watched him working for a bit. He was in high school. I did not go to a high school that contained a lot of vanity. No “Heathers” or “Mean Girls” scenarios. Just down to Earth kids, so when I sat there and witnessed this exchange I was both equal parts intrigued and equal parts sad:

A young man came to the dressing room with a singular top to try on. He had a stiff stocky build and shaggy hair. His spirit animal on first glance would be an ox. However, he had an air of disdain radiating from his curled lip not typically found in that animal.

“Do you want to try that on?” Chirped the friendly young man.

The ox nodded once.

“Okay! Hey! Do you go to So and So High School?” Questioned the nice young man.

Another reluctant nod.

“I thought so! You hang out with Queen A and King B, right?”

This time the nod was accompanied by a tight lip, followed by a sneer. This was getting much too personal for the ox. He didn’t like the monkey being that familiar with him.

The monkey could sense the change, but did not alter his attitude. “Okay! Well, just let me know if you need anything.”

I did not see the stiff and popular young man leave, I only witnessed the nice young man rehanging up the top and putting it away. It made me really question, what makes someone popular? Why is it sometimes not the right person? And would I ever want to go back to high school? The answer to the first two questions are unknown to me, but the last question, I know the answer to and it is a definitive shaking of my head.


We are not done with the dressing room attendant. Right now he is our young hero. Sweet and optimistic. I wonder how you will feel about him as we watch him a bit longer:

The young man turned to my son, “What school are you going to? Are you back to school shopping?”

When my son told him the name of the middle school and that, yes, he was back to school shopping, the boy said, “I have not started shopping. I get my first paycheck this Friday. I am so excited!” And “I went to that school! What teachers did you get?”

I congratulated the happy boy on his first job and my son rattled off the two names of his main teachers.

The boy said, “Oh! I think I had Mrs. Teacher. Is she really old?”

I started to respond, “no,” but then caught myself and laughed, “Well, no, she is not old, but she might be to you. She is in her mid-forties.”

The young man chucked, “Yea, that is getting up there. Forty is definitely getting up there,” he nonchalantly stated to the almost forty year old mom.

“But I am only sixteen, so anything over thirty is old to me.”

Did you know monkeys threw daggers?

Yea, me neither. But they do. Right to your heart. Made of funny words, of course. And only at people over thirty.


Do you remember Predict-A-Pen? Well, when my son had his birthday party to celebrate turning eleven, he had a few friends over. One of the friends found my Predict-A-Pen (and my social security number, the break-up letter from my fourteen year old boyfriend, my diamond earring I lost ten years ago and my brain). I overheard him asking it a few questions:

“Will we meet any foxy ladies in junior high school?”

Not for a million dollars.

“Will we meet any foxy blondes?”

If you’re lucky.

“Will we meet any foxy brunettes?”

Dude. No way.

“Will any of us marry a foxy lady?”

It’s unclear. Ask again.


I love Predict-A-Pen.


I was at the local grocery store checking out with my staples to make dinner when the young cashier looked at me and smiled. “You look like Taylor Dfvrvsasuioooo,” she said. Well, she did not really say that last name, but I could not hear what she said or who she thought I looked like.

As the line was long, I just said, “thank you.”

Then she tried to reassure me, “Only you look better, because you are not scowling.”

I again thanked her, but I was beginning to wonder if she was really giving me a compliment.

I left the grocery store and went home. I approached my family sitting at the breakfast table. “A girl at the grocery store said I looked like someone only not scowling. Who could that be?”

My husband and daughter began to ponder the question. Who do I look like, only not scowling? My son looked me up and down, his forehead furrowed with thought, then he beamed as the answer came to him, “I know! Professor McGonagall!”

The kid might want to practice his compliments if he wants to meet any foxy ladies in the future.

*I think the girl must have said Taylor Momsen, although it could have been Professor McGonagall, my hearing might be going and my wand was sticking out of my purse.


On Monday, I was at a local restaurant waiting for my to-go lunch order. I overheard a manager speaking to an employee as they huddled together over a packet of rumpled papers.

“This new menu goes up on Wednesday.”

The manager gave the papers over to the employee and started to walk away. “I will just look them over on Wednesday,” he stated.

The employee looked up, “So it will be fresh in your mind?”

The manager chuckled, “No. I am just hoping I will be less drunk on Wednesday than I am today.”

“Is it left over from Friday?” the employee, who was working on Monday, asked.

The manager shook his head, no. “Every day is Friday to me,” he responded.

If you went into that restaurant on Wednesday to eat off of that new menu and your order was messed up… It is because it was Friday.

Have you overheard anything good this month? Anything worth sharing?

*If you missed it, here is a link to last month’s Overheard in July 2014.

Overheard In July 2014

With Comic Con and so many treks outside of the house this month, I overheard a great deal more weird and absurd things than I normally do. I also overheard something heartbreaking. Balance… And all of that.

It’s the weekend. Let’s just get right to the eavesdropping:


At the Rose Bowl Flea Market, an old man was setting up his booth to sell his wares. He looked up and when he saw me, he approached me and said, “Have you come here to collect your iceberg detector?”

Huh? I stood there blinking. Then I walked away. All day I asked my husband what the man meant by that comment. We still do not know. But now I want to say something absurd to a random stranger that will make them wonder all day.

It is important to spread the love.

And why do I look like I need an iceberg detector?

And why do I need one?

And most importantly… What the heck is an iceberg detector?


I was at Trader Joe’s buying flowers. The older woman in the lane next to mine was also purchasing flowers. She was with her friend.

The cashier commented on her pretty flowers and she responded, “My husband passed away four years ago today. My friend didn’t want me to be alone. At my age, I am not looking to meet anyone else. So, what else am I going to do at 6:25 tonight besides leave flowers at his graveside?”

This broke my heart.

And made me appreciate her friend. I was glad she was not alone. At 6:25 that night I thought of her and hoped she was okay.


I was at a diner (which by the way is the absolute best place to eavesdrop). Two elderly women were chatting about their week.

They were discussing the merits of Bingo and the cost involved (we eat early).

“I went to… What is it called… Is it Weird Wednesday?

“You mean Wacky Wednesday?”

“Yes! Wacky Wednesday!”

“I got six cards for the price of two. You should come with me next time.”

The other woman agreed to do so.

Before they could discuss their future Bingo plans, a baby shrieked in the restaurant for the third time in five minutes.

One of the women pierced her lips and leaned over to the family sitting at a table next to their own. She spoke to them in a conspiratorial whisper, but I could still hear her.

“One time I was out to dinner and a kid screamed just like that. Before the kid could finish that scream, a waitress popped a lollipop in the kid’s mouth.

Well, it worked, but there was a bigger problem.

Other kids saw her give that kid the sucker and then they began to shriek for their own. One child was quieted, only now the rest of ’em were screamin’.”

She began to chuckle and leaned back into her own booth, lost in her memories.


At Comic Con, I overheard the following snippets of conversation from numerous people:

I can’t wait for that pizza!

My feet hurt!

Greg has a strict rule of not working out the week before Comic Con.

Please keep moving there’s no stopping here.

I cannot wait for my paycheck (said by a security guard)

I had no idea it would be like this!

I try to tell her everyday but everyday she comes. So far she has been a loser all three days. There is no benefit to waiting hours and hours.

There are going to be many things that you want.

I could see her undercarriage!


I was at the doctor’s office and I overheard the following conversation between a grandmother and her four year old granddaughter:

“Now remember, when you are camping, pick your things up off of the floor! It is going to be crowded as it is and with the new baby and all of those diapers, there is not going to be a lot of room.”

“Grandma, did you ever wear diapers?”

A soft laugh and then, “Yes, but it was a very long time ago. And they were not the diapers they have today. In fact, your mom did not have those kind of diapers either.”

“What kind of diapers did you guys wear?”

“Well, they were cloth and we washed them.”

“But what did you do with the -” she whispered the last contents of that sentence but I think we can assume that it had to do with contents, too.

“We flushed it down the toilet.”


The little girl had many more questions but the grandmother distracted her with questions of her new puppy. Which from the sound of that conversation, seemed like that puppy could have used some diapers of its own.

What did you overhear last month? Anything interesting? Did you find your iceberg detector?

If you missed last month’s “Overheard In,” you can find it here.