the bicycle's only built for two

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.

(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.


Unknown said...

If I had to guess, he wasn't clueless. Just glad that she finally got the picture. And now she can move on to better prospects. It's a win-win!

Your eavesdropping should be a weekly blog installment. That was fun.

Mr. Christopher said...

I'm so glad that awkward dating time is over. Now things are only awkward when I forget we're in public and grab your butt, and then remember, and grab it again.

annie (the annilygreen one) said...

my favorite is the people in the stairwells at the library who not only think that no one can hear them on their phones out there but also forget that it echoes and hugely magnifies every word. the entire 4th floor sat through a guy's phone call one night about how he thought this girl was hot and wanted to ask her out and blah blah blah. on his way back to his table, i couldn't help myself...i got his attention, smiled, and cheerfully said, "just so you know, we all heard every word you said." he was so embarrassed, but the eavesdropping fodder was top notch. remind me to tell you sometime about the first date we overheard at kneader's once. the guy was reduced to, "so...uh...what's your favorite food?" we didn't even bother to have our own conversation that time because theirs was so hilarious.

faith said...

i miss being able to eavesdrop. it can be so fun.

Ali said...

Classic campus conversation, especially BYU conversation. I love that you overheard that so much.