November 10, 2016

"You should write a blog: Eavesdropping From My Ground-Floor Apartment."

I said, reading my son's Facebook post:
Overheard in NYC today:

This morning, a woman on the street outside my bedroom window: "I can't believe it! It's embarrassing!"

This evening, a man on a cell phone: "It wasn't a referendum on the rich; it was a referendum on elites."
"Eavesdropping" isn't really the right word, since it refers to hanging around outside someone else's private space to listen in. John is in his own private space and people out on the street pass by and give him an earful. [ADDED: The second remark was heard on the street, not from the window.]

By the way, the word "eavesdropping" does not come from the idea that the listener is up on the roof and putting his ear out over the eaves. The "eavesdrop" is the place on the ground where rainwater drops from the eaves of the roof, so "eavesdropper" became the word for the person who stands there, that close to the house — too close for a decent person to stand and hear what is said inside.

I learned that over at Wikipedia, where the concept of eavesdropping is illustrated by this hilarious 1895 painting "Cardinals eavesdropping in the Vatican," by Henri Adolphe Laissement:


Ann Althouse said...

I suddenly remembered that old blog Overheard in New York. It's still going.

David Begley said...

Overheard in the Goldman Sachs elevator is a funny twitter account.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

With the right attitude, I guess it'd be like living inside a real life New Yorker cartoon. Captions galore.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

There was some cartoonist who worked at an ad agency and his gimmick was something like "all dialogue 100% guaranteed overheard."

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

It exists, apparently.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

Perhaps I should add that I found those cartoons insufferable.

MayBee said...

Eavesdropping is the best.

traditionalguy said...

And then there came the Drones with cameras that hover at every angle.

rhhardin said...

The Nine Mile Walk by Harry Kemelman (1947) starts with such a snippet.

Ann Althouse said...

"It exists, apparently."

I loved the old Stan Mack comic, back in the day.

The idea for John was that it's all only heard from people who pass by his apartment. People talk on the street without thinking about the people who can hear from inside the buildings. They think no one is listening.

Big Mike said...

"It wasn't a referendum on the rich; it was a referendum on elites."

Yes to that. From Jonathan Gruber to Zeke and Rahm Emanuel to Ben Rhodes to insufferable pundits like David Brooks and E. J. Dionne to nearly every news anchor on every cable and antenna television channel (except a few on Fox and Fox News) the self-proclaimed elites have been boasting of their ability to put things over on the American people. Chickens. Home. Roost.

Laslo Spatula said...

How can one speak of eavesdropping and not mention "Three's Company", with the ultimate eavesdroppers Mr. Roper and Mr. Furley?

Jack Tripper: [Mr. Furley is standing outside the bathroom and eavesdropping while Jack and Chrissy are installing a shower curtain]

Jack: Okay, Chrissy, I'll get in the tub with you, then we can get it on.

Chrissy: Get next to me, I'll show you what to do.

Jack Tripper: This isn't exactly the first time I've ever done this.

Chrissy: Maybe so, but girls are better at this than boys.

Jack Tripper: Come on, Chrissy. A little less talk and a little more action, okay?

Chrissy: Okay, you do your part and I'll do mine. I don't think it'll reach!

Jack Tripper: Of course not, you've got to unfold it first!

Other examples:

In one episode Mr. Roper overhears Chrissy talking about removing a wart on her finger and believes she is getting an abortion.

In another, Janet plans to redecorate their bedrooms, but Jack and Chrissy think she's hiring a man to father her baby.

In a third episode, Jack plans to remove a tattoo he got while he was drunk. Janet thinks he's getting a vasectomy.

Yeah: you remember, now...

I am Laslo.

Quaestor said...

Yeah: you remember, now...

Not me, bro. You can carve it on Quaestor's tombstone — ...and never, ever watched "Three's Company" or "The Cosby Show" or "Murphy Brown".

Laslo Spatula said...

Overheard from the Next Door Bukkake party:

"Dude, if you can't get it off then move over for the next guy in line."

"Holy shit! How could you miss from one foot away?"

"No tissue! No tissue!"

"Does little Bukkake Baby want Big Bukkake Daddy to come on Baby Girl's little Baby Girl face?"

"Behold! I am Jackson Pollock!"

"I don't know about you, but I hate the gagging part: it makes me feel like we're doing something wrong."

"Your hair looks magnificent, coated in milky come."

"Can someone open a window? It's getting pretty rank in here."

"Hey guy, you should have a doctor check that out."

"I will never eat a glazed donut again."

"Stay on target: stay on target..."

"I was expecting... more."

and, of course:

"My eyes! They sting!"

I am Laslo.

StephenFearby said...

"Cardinals eavesdropping in the Vatican," by Henri Adolphe Laissement

The painting actually depicts two cardinals (red outfits) and three bishops (purple outfits), of which only one cardinal and one bishop were caught in the act of eavesdropping.

The purple evokes Hilary's lotsa purple outfit worn for her concession speech, matched by Bill's purple tie, the purple dress worn by Senator Goofy's wife and even Huma-Huma's top.

So what's with the purple thing? It evokes medieval sumptuary law statutes. Today, Ralph Lauren purple label threads are the most extravagantly expensive part of his line.

The Symbolic and Religious Meaning of the color Purple

Purple is always associated with Royalty

Purple togas were worn by the all powerful Roman Emperors

***The symbolic meaning of the color purple was for penitence and mourning***

Purple also has a Christian / Biblical meaning and is the liturgical color for the seasons of Lent and Advent

Only the most expensive dyes were used to produce the color purple, it therefore became symbolic with wealth and power

People who were allowed to wear the color purple during the Elizabethan era, as decreed by the English Sumptuary Laws, were the Queen, Queen's mother, children, and sisters, and aunts. The King, King's mother, children, brethren, and uncles

From the above it is easy to surmise that the concession speech was a funeral service presided over by members of the Democrat clergy who still consider themselves princes (or higher) of their political party.

Chuck said...

Noooobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!