Birds do it. Bees do it. Even teenagers (if they please) do it. And when we asked you where we should do it, you said the Downtown Mall was the Best Place to Eavesdrop on Cell Phone Conversations. So to the Downtown Mall we went, ears primed to hear the most outrageous, the most appalling, the most disgraceful conversations ever uttered through the tiny speaker of a Nokia.
Sure, we had lofty expectations. And we may have been overly prepared: a newspaper with a hole in it, a costume fashioned from a faux fichus and an emptied-out planter. But these are the moments journalists dream of: Just the mere anticipation of unsolicited undercover work is enough to send one into near-hysteria. Would we stumble upon the next big story? Overhear the details of a political scandal? Maybe listen in as a local restaurateur argues with an exterminator? It was hard to tell, but when we began to pound the pavement, we weren’t quite sure what to make of what we were hearing.
There was the woman who, while walking her very small dog, said, “I can’t wait to see how tall he is.” And the suited man who said, “If you keep calling me, I can’t leave.” And we laughed out loud upon hearing, “We need to find someone who’s gonna be really good at it,” spill from the lips of a Teva-wearing hippie as his wife marched beside him.
These were good, but they weren’t good enough. Where was the drama? Where was the excitement? Frankly, where was Alec Baldwin when you needed him?
So, we walked a little further up the Mall and got these gems (all from different people): “First of all, he didn’t even wear shoes during it,” “I think he felt pretty bad after it was all over,” and “Things are pretty strange in that area lately.”
But then, when we turned around and walked to the Pavilion, we knew we’d hit the jackpot:
“Did I just hear the toilet flush? What the hell are you doing?”
“It was weird, dude. …I didn’t even know what was happening until it got dark.”
And finally, “Someone died outside our office yesterday.”
Sure, the first one left little to be desired, but the last two were pure gold. Add to that the tail end of a very sassy conversation between a young lady and her father, and we’d struck it lucky.
Here’s what we caught:
“No. I didn’t…I don’t have time, Dad. …Can’t you do that?…I already told you that I—stop interrupting me! …Dad!…Dad, stop. You’re being a total ass right now. …No, please stop talking to me. You’re really getting on my nerves right now…I’ll call you later. …Yeah, I love you too. Bye.”