Why We Learn

On eavesdropping

We take a hidden, grinning pleasure in eavesdropping on conversations out in public. For a floating instance, we are swept along the current of two dueling confessions. Out of context, their declarations (confidently blurted, intensely whispered) sound absurd. He insists, “the children are trying sabotage me,” with comic certainty. She says, “..they leaked for three days before exploding on my manager’s..” and unwittingly frustrates your day with questions that suddenly, urgently require an answer.

Let’s listen longer. Follow the river further and you observe a terrain of alien perspectives, unmet desires, savage caricatures, lusty trivia, blind assumptions, neon obsessions.

The right conversation, eavesdropped rightly, can inspire more questions and uncover more answers than direct dialogue.

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