Sunday, December 26, 2010

Now Hear This!
For 51 years or so, I’ve been listening to conversations that are none of my business.

And may I just say: You people are fascinating.

My habit started when I was about 2. We lived in a house with a party line, a shared phone connection with several neighbors, not a reference to our nightly conga dances. We never had those. My parents jitterbugged. As for the party line, I’m told my mother would regularly gasp as if she’d just swallowed a wasp and then dive for the phone whenever she spotted wide-eyed me cradling the receiver. My goodness, the things people say when they think little ears aren’t listening. Made me quite the star at the coffee klatch. I’d interrupt my mother’s gossip extravaganza with a well-timed insight gleaned from my burgeoning career as a CIA mole, and she’d yank me into the kitchen for a lecture that started with “Young lady” and segued into, “Now, tell me exactly what she said.” By the time I was 6, I couldn’t help wondering why Mom didn’t just invite me to grab a cup of Maxwell House and pull up a chair. Clearly, I was in the loop.


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