Writers are the World’s Nosiest People

I once had a professor tell me that the best writers are inexcusably nosy. He said that if you wanted to be a good writer, you have to spy on everyone and eavesdrop on everything.

I’ve never had an excuse to be socially taboo before.

That being said, it’s time for a confession session. Have you ever gone to a busy, public place to have a private phone call or conversation? Since there’s so much activity around you, naturally, you assume no one could possibly care about, or be listening to, your conversation.

Well, I’m a-listening. I eavesdrop like nobody’s business. I can’t tell you how curious it makes me when I hear someone on their cell phone having an interesting conversation. So, while you’re meandering through the mall, talking to your mother about the runs in your nylons, I’m following behind like a lost puppy, with hungry ears absorbing every word.

Well, now that I got that embarrassing confession off my chest, I’d like to share some of the fun observations I’ve made this week. People-watching is a great pastime, and sometimes you see some really intriguing people.

This week, I saw a guy eat a potato for lunch. You are now thinking, “Keen observation, Sherlock,” but please allow me to explain myself. He wasn’t eating a mashed potato with butter, sour cream, chives, and bacon bits. He was picking it up in his hands, dry, and taking bites out of it. I sat there, watching him ingest the potato, and all I could do was wonder how he was managing to swallow it.

On the same day, I observed a girl with metallic gold shoes. They weren’t stilettos; they were sneakers. They even had gold laces. If her toes were looking for attention, they got it. As I followed her up the stairs, all I could do was watch her feet. She was tall, long-necked, and svelte, and actually pulled off the fancy footwear very nicely.

And since my nosiness know no bounds, as I was sitting in a seminar, I couldn’t help but notice a girl busily sending and receiving text messages on my left. Well, how was I supposed to let an opportunity like that pass me up? In summary, she spent most of the conversation complaining about her other neighbor, who supposedly was wearing too much perfume.

So, how about you? Notice anything interesting this week? Do you think you can dethrone me in nosiness? I’d love to hear all about it.



  1. Haha! The potato thing is absolutely hilarious. I love people watching. If only some of us had enough spare time where we could just got for a couple hours to a mall and sit and watch. You really see some interesting folks out there. Sometimes, you hear a little too much personal detail while overhearing phone conversations. This happened to me when I was walking home from school one day and a gal was speaking and walking behind me for a number of blocks. Keep it up!


    • Thanks Andrew! I’ve decided that airports are the best places to people watch. You see some different breeds of people in airports . . . .


  2. I don’t do much people watching. I’m mostly watching to make sure my kids aren’t getting into anything if I’m out anywhere, but I recently saw someone in glittery gold sneakers, too. Maybe it’s the next new thing.


  3. What cracks me up is when students act like I shouldn’t be listening to their conversations when they’re having them right in front of me. Of course I’m going to listen. I hear the bes stuff that way.


    • Definitely! I once had a professor who was a Class A eavesdropper. We used to purposefully bring up his favorite topics in conversation, because if he was listening, he would jump in immediately. We loved him for it though!


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