Ecouter clandestinement

Because I am shy, nosy, and able to simultaneously process information from multiple sources, I am well-suited to one of my favorite bus-riding pastimes: eavesdropping. I am an expert eavesdropper. In fact, I am the Queen of Eavesdroppers. That is, as long as everyone I’m eavesdropping on is speaking English.

Despite my early plans to become a polyglot, the only foreign language I can speak well enough to claim (thanks to a few childhood years in Morocco and many years of study in the States) is French. Unfortunately, though I am able to carry on reasonable conversations, my French eavesdropping skills are pretty poor–so poor, in fact, that when I was in Paris last year, I was constantly frustrated by my inability to immerse myself in my fellow Metro riders’ business.

Metro station
The Luxembourg Metro/RER station in Paris, where I first failed at French eavesdropping

This morning, as luck would have it, I was presented with an unexpected chance to practice my international listening skills. Two men sitting across from me on the 545 were having a full-on French conversation, and (oh, happy bus ride!) I understood it. Funny how that language can make an otherwise uninteresting exchange about office moves and South Lake Union condo purchases sound so sophisticated and fabulous.

Oh yeah–while I was disembarking, I caught the beginning of a more typical 545 conversation:

Hipster-geek 1: “Hey man. How’s it goin’?”
Hipster geek 2: “Other than the fact that my web server crapped out compiling ASP this morning, life is good.”

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