I'm a chronic eavesdropper. Not because I really care what's going on in strangers' lives, but because I think it makes for good writing material. Plus, it's super easy to do on a college campus; students move in giant herds between classes, and they're all self-absorbed enough that they fail to realize that everyone FOR A MILE AROUND can hear them.
Some of those conversations are so revealing they actually embarrass me. But today's just made me sad. Here's how it went behind me while I walked down the hall after my writing class:
Girl: So, what are you doing this weekend?
Boy: I'm going biking.
Girl: How cool! With a bunch of people? (said with the blatant intonation that shouts, "Invite me! Invite me!")
Boy: My girlfriend rented a tandem bike and we're going together.
Girl: Oh. (said with much ouch.)
Silence. Very awkward silence.
Girl: (with that sort of boundless enthusiasm that overcompensates for sudden disappointment) Wow! You didn't mention a girl last time I saw you!
Boy: Yes. I did.
We rounded the corner and I turned to look at them as they walked past. I'm pretty certain that her heart was sloshing around in her feet. And from the look on his face, I felt just as certain that he didn't even know. I wanted to stop her and say, "Don't worry. He's just clueless. And taken. As well as doofy looking. You don't really want to go out with him." I didn't say that, though. Maybe I should have.
The look on her face was about enough to make me want to stop eavesdropping.