I am a snoop, but it’s okay


By Chuck Woodbury
I sometimes eavesdrop on other people’s conversations. It’s not that I intentionally snoop, it’s just that sometimes people talk so loud it’s downright hard to avoid hearing what they say. My feeling is that if they talk loud enough for other people to hear, then it’s okay to listen in.

No matter what two people are talking about it is almost always interesting. That sounds crazy, but for me it’s true. I mostly enjoy listening to a couple of women talking to each other. I bet at least half the time they’re talking about men.

If they are young, then one is telling the other about a boyfriend, or maybe a guy who did her wrong or is currently doing her wrong. Sometimes I want to walk over and say, “Just dump the guy,” but I can’t, of course. If it’s older women, they are probably talking about their husbands, although often they’re complaining about their latest ailment.

Yesterday, I walked into a local cafe to get some clam chowder. As I passed a table, I overheard part of a conversation between a man and a woman, both in their 30s, I’d guess. I only caught a few seconds of the conversation, but it was enough to make me yearn for more.

“I know for a fact that it’s my baby,” the man said, and then there was some mumbling between them I couldn’t make out, and then the woman said, “It’s amazing that in just one night …” and then I walked out of range. So that’s all I heard. I thought, “What’s he going to do?”

I wish I could have asked him, but anybody knows that would not be right.

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I read lips, teach personal safety, and foster kids… the combination has occasionally resulted in feeling I had to involve myself in conversations I’m amazed folks have in public when they think no one can hear their death threats or notice specific bruises. This is especially true of abusive women, as beaten men seldom ask for help.

As for lighter gossip/banter, it’s your own fault being overheard when in public…


We have installed a defibrillator in our park. It is located at the clubhouse near the pool. As we are in “God’s waiting room” AKA South Florida we figured it would be a good thing to have. So far we have not needed it. Thank you Lord.

Judy G

Thanks for sharing your ‘snooping’. As a single who often stops at local cafes for lunch on travel days, I, too, thoroughly enjoy listening to the conversations of locals.


After 20 years of nagging, I caved in to my wife’s demand. Now when I enter a noisy cafe, I’m able to reach behind my ear… and turn down my new hearing aid! Thus, no eavesdropping… and when wife persists in chatting across the table, I smile and wisely nod… not hearing but every fourth or fifth word.