Eavesdropping Advisory

Weather DrewA warning to rude people, on behalf of writers everywhere. We’re issuing an eavesdropping advisory: if you don’t have an indoor voice, expect to end up in one of our stories. If your temperance drops, and you put a shrill into the air, you’re begging for a role in our next adventure. If you blow white noise conditions out your molar vortex, we owe it to future generations to make a record of it. If you’re a severe weather friend, letting out an arctic blast every time you vent, we’ll be there to chronicle it.

To those who suffer from line blindness. Who steal spots because they feel entitled. Who complain about having to wait, when they couldn’t be bothered to make an appointment. When you say you want to give management a piece of your mind, we’re the ones who really take it.

We welcome you line cutters, you unsatisfied customers, you unexpected guest lecturers. When we need a character’s bile to come from a real place, we eagerly await what spills from your face. It might be toxic, but we won’t let it go to waste. We write what we know, and we learn from people like you.

To the megalomaniacal moviegoers, arguing with actors on screen, we’ll make sure that your dialogue gets to the right place.

To those who throw temper tantrums at tech support, we’ll pay special attention to how you’re wired, to where your screws are loose. We’ll find your glitch. Check your terms and conditions, we reserve the right to do whatever we want with this information. Your call may be recorded for training, quality, or entertainment purposes. Your anger may find its way onto one of our pages.

When you scream, “Am I just talking to myself!” We’re all ears, writing your soliloquy into our screenplays. When you feel like you’re shouting at a brick wall, we’re on the other side building a monument in your likeness.

If there’s a big book tallying up all of your sins, who do you think is keeping score? Never piss off a writer. We’re Santa’s little helpers. We decide who’s been naughty and who’s been nice. We decide who gets shown in a positive light. If we see that you’re always in the red, that’s how you’re going to be painted. If you ignore other people’s perspectives, we’re not going to see your good side.

When you pose statements in the form of questions, with valley girl up speak, we’ll be there to note the inflection. When you lob back handed compliments at your friends, we’ll be there to catch every last one of them.

When you drop F-bombs on civilians from coffee shop couch cushions, gossiping about the other members of AA, we’re the ones writing the flight manifest of your Enola Gay.

You’ve crossed the line, from annoying to entertaining. We went from shutting you out, to tuning you in. It’s not in our interest for you to calm down. We want to egg you on. It would take a boardroom full of comedians, working several months, to punch up lines of dialogue to your level of crazy. You’re doing all the work, and we’re grateful for your charity.

If the potential for conflict is visible, we aspire to make it audible. Conflict is the heart of drama. Be a drama Queen and you will rule our scenes. Be a diva and we’ll give you a place to sing. Every opera needs a prima donna. Every story needs an antagonist.

Send your minestrone back three times in a row. Ask to speak with the chef. Hand out reprimands with your demands. Remind your server that she’s working for tips. Read your nasty Yelp review out loud just incase the staff doesn’t think to search for it. Bravo, you’re perfect!

Drive your knees into the bus seat. Choke the life out of your cellphone. Shout into the receiver until you’re sure your voice is distorting on the other end. Point a finger at a person who isn’t there to see it. We’re casting for The Terror of Metro Transit, and guess what? You just got the part.

We’re the lurkers, the creeps, the ones with records to keep. We’re the quote bookers. We face away, because it makes it easier to hear what you say. We’ll be the ones to accept the awards for your tell off speech.

It’s your audacity that gives our voices authenticity.

If you can’t say something nice, then say it to our faces. You’re an expert quip handler and we’re here to take your tongue-lashings. Thank you mistress, may we have another? We’ve been bad. You should give us a talking to. You’re a control freak, so dominate us. Rake us over the coals. Break us down. Break our writers’ block while you’re at it.

You are rife with material. Take it out on us. Scold us. Berate us. Take us to task.

Good, we can feel your anger. Strike us down with all of your hatred and your journey to the quotation mark-side will be complete.

Now your cruelty belongs to the ages.


113 thoughts on “Eavesdropping Advisory”

  1. You know, sometimes it’s not just writers who are eavesdropping. One of my brother’s coworkers was gossiping/complaining about him with another coworker at lunch one day and the son of my brother’s boss sat at a booth behind them. Since my brother is friends with his boss, word got back around about the conversation. Much hilarity ensued…

  2. Years ago, in the garden center of a big box store, two distinguished-looking women were looking at patio furniture (displayed outside), when one sat down on a patio chair. She immediately jumped up and cried out “It’s wet!” The other woman said, “Oh that’s okay.” I wanted so bad to say, “Yeah, it’s okay for you–you’re not the one with the wet ass who everyone thinks had a ‘problem’!”
    As a South Dakotan, I must add that you put words together well for a Minnesotan. That’s, um, you know, one of those silly border-states jokes. No harm intended. You’re the Freshly Pressed one, after all.

    1. Thanks for sharing that anecdote.

      I always thought of Wisconsin as the Shelbyville to Minnesota’s Springfield. Here I was ignoring our neighbors to the west. I’m actually a big fan of driving through the badlands.

      As far as being Freshly Pressed, I didn’t know that was a thing until recently. It’s nice to see how many people like something when it’s flashed in front of them.

      My main focus has been on Twitter. I post entries under the hashtag #MondayBlogs. That’s where I usually have the best luck.

  3. This reminds me of a fantastic quote by Anne Lamott: “You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.” Indeed, they really should have, but they didn’t, and so now they end up in our stories. Excellent post!

  4. Ha! I loved this. Very witty. People are quite simply fascinating in their ridiculousness. No amount of imagination could ever compare – “you couldn’t write that shit” put by yourself with much more flair.

  5. Bravo ! I have been harboring a secret yen to make public things I hear out and about . Hello woman telling the dirty details of last nites escapades in the dressing room next to me in Target ( these are not real walls ) restroom stall confidential (I think not) and therein lies the problem, or the writers good fortune :))

  6. I remember working at McDonald’s about a year ago…two rather attractive girls were talking, and then I heard this: “She’s so UGLY!” upon I noticed that one of the girls had a nasty, glaring, un-flattering expression. Actually, she was perhaps the most hideous thing I had ever seen. Sad to say, part of me enjoyed it, knowing that someone so pretty on the outside could be so unpalatable on the inside, and that I was there to witness it.

    I never looked at it that way before, the various escapades and tantrums of people as inspiration for writing…I may begin doing that now.

  7. Is it bad when it’s someone you work with? Someday, she will read my book…I wonder if she will know it’s her? Perhaps, these people are too self-involved to even recognize their own ugliness. Great post, very refreshing and funny.

    1. The way I see it is bad behavior is fair game. Don’t mention specific character attributes that are unnecessary to the plot. Rephrase their rudeness, make it your own. If they see themselves in the story, then they’re incriminating themselves.

  8. Well written sir, but I do not agree with your point. I believe the opposite. We should NOT listen to these people, and capture what they say. You are giving them exactly what they want, attention.

    If they continue to get reactions, they will continue to act in the manner in which you describe. I suppose if this gives you material, have at it, but if you think this will change anyone’s behavior, it will not.

    1. Frankly, I don’t think rude people will be changed by fiction they’re never likely to read, but if they keep seeing their behavior depicted in a negative light, they might. The people that inspired this didn’t crave attention, so much as just getting their way. I figure, if they’re going to be rude anyway, I might as well get something out of it: a character description, a line of dialogue, an attribute to give a villain, something.

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