Overheard on Transit: 30 Days of Eavesdropping

Riding the bus, train, or metro isn’t exactly a communal experience but, unlike driving, isn’t a solitary one either. Even if you’re commuting alone, you’re never really alone.

Overheard conversations by one’s fellow passengers can be one of the mildly voyeuristic satisfactions of public transit. A snippet of conversation is a brief glimpse into another person’s life and a chance, like Alfred Hitchcock’s protagonist in Rear Window, to invent a backstory for that random fellow passenger based on a momentary exposure to him.

Here is a selection of dialogue fragments overheard during my last 30 days of mass-transit ridership. Some strange, some humorous, and some timely. In no particular order. Which is your favorite?

  • Do you enjoy ambient music?
  • I hate building codes. Most of them are obnoxious!
  • I do not like the feeling of ice touching my lips.
  • We’re rebels without a car, man.
  • That’s so “meta” I don’t even know how to respond.
  • Is it intellectually stimulating or is it just a bunch of liberal fluff?
  • You have to be in a certain mood to watch a documentary.
  • No one reads The Economist all the way through. No one!
  • I usually enjoy statistical probability distributions.
  • I wasn’t a bully, I was the anti-bully. I’d beat you up if you didn’t stop picking on people.
  • Ugh, I can’t stand “escalefters.” Stand on the right, please!
  • Hi! No, really, I mean that. Hi!
  • Oh look, it’s a rarely-seen-in-the-wild 10-car train.
  • I don’t want him, I just want his Chipotle.
  • We are ALL Trayvon.
  • Quit reading meaning into my words. They have no meaning.
  • I don’t date white chicks after seeing that movie, what was it? The one where she boiled the bunny.

What have you heard on public transit that tickled you?

Splash photo by Patrick Copley on Flickr. Story photo by Corey Agopian on Unsplash.

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