Overhearing or Oversharing?

One of the greatest things (which also may be it biggest flaw) about New York City is that it is full of many different kinds of people. Maybe it’s the loud cacophony of vehicles and conversations, we cannot deny how the city is just inherently full of loud people. While not intended, we have all come across a situation where we may have overheard a conversation someone else was having with their friends, perhaps on the phone, or maybe even with themselves.

Nevertheless, even though we are trying to sleep on a train and hearing the murmuring of our neighbors makes us create our own threatening murmurs in our head, sometimes you come across interesting conversations.

Last week, I was on the train, coming home late at night from a class, and had the lovely luck of sitting next to a big man eating burgers and talking loudly to anyone who would hear. While I usually ignore people on the train, I could not help but hear and listen to what he was sharing. He talked about a woman who he considered the only person he could trust and that he no longer travels to a certain area because a fight broke out and he got shot there. Even if it was just the tall tale of a man desperately seeking attention, it was interesting and slowly I transformed the story he told to the train inhabitants into a movie in my mind.

He began getting repetitive but then he mumbled how you can’t trust anyone and how nowadays people aren’t afraid to backstab you and shoot you without remorse.

Yes, very morbid things I overheard, or maybe he was just oversharing, but it depends on how you look at it. Here was a man who had learned a very harsh lesson and was telling it to anyone who could hear. In one train ride I learned a personal secret and lesson from a complete stranger.

Ending note? Listen to others and what they say. You don’t have to intently listen in to strange homeless men but don’t reject a person’s words right away as soon as they seem a little crazy. Take their words with a grain of salt because it is how you view the world that changes how the world affects you.

But not everything you overhear  has to be morbid. In a complete change of tone, Overhead Everywhere is a hilarious site containing overheard conversations all over the country. It has mature language and content but all in all, I find myself skimming through these pages for a good laugh every so often.

If only when I went out, I could keep track of things I overhear. It’d make great fodder for stories or sharing with friends. You could use your money to get a digital recorder or even simpler get a fancy notebook with a student discount at  an art store.

The possibilities are endless when your ideas come from crazy New Yorkers.

Sophia, Rochester Institute of Technology

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