Wednesday, January 26, 2011

"Public" Conversations

Have you ever noticed how freely people talk in public places…how anonymous they feel? Sometimes you learn more about strangers while sitting in a public place than you do about the people closest to you.

Tonight, M had hip hop, so I spent the hour in Starbucks catching up on email and helplessly eavesdropping. A couple came in right after I sat down, and like it or not, I learned the girl’s life story. Her date had more decorum and kept his voice low—I wondered how he felt about the broadcast of her escapades.

She was a beautiful girl…stylish, tall, slender, very sure of her attractiveness. She was popular in high school, she ran cross country, and she’s been in jail twice for drug use and shop lifting. She’s now on 18 months probation—I know the details, stores involved, and names of friends who hung her out to dry.

I also know she attended a local high school, the boy friends who cheated on her and the fact that she’s pretty sure she’s now ready to take responsibility for her life. That statement brought me some measure of relief—I was getting emotionally exhausted listening to her.

She was a personal-information Niagara Falls, because she felt the guy she was newly dating should know everything about her. I’m a true believer in honesty, but wow…maybe some things are better in small doses…

Makes me wonder who’s overheard my personal conversations. I’m careful about what I say and where, but everyone slips into the trap of feeling anonymous sometimes. Maybe it’s ok in a strange, distant city, but possibly not the best choice in your own backyard.

Definitely food for thought, especially because I’m meeting a friend for coffee in the a.m. Guess I’ll make sure to whisper if I mention the traffic tickets I got last spring.

1 comment:

Tournesol said...

Great story! I am always amazed at how people tend to forget that we can see them in their cars too! Oh my gosh and then there's facebook, I'm always telling my adult children to really think about what their sharing with the world!