Home > Leftovers > The things you overhear…

The things you overhear…

One of my favorite comedians, Lewis Black, has a routine about accidentally eavesdropping on a conversation – and being completely shocked, dismayed or confused by what people say. Out loud.  With other humans around.  I’d try to sum up his thoughts, but thanks to the miracle of Wikipedia’s quote section, I’ll let Lewis tell it:

When from behind me, a woman of 25 uttered the dumbest thing I’d ever heard in my life. She said, “If it weren’t for my horse, I wouldn’t have spent that year in college.” I’ll repeat that… She said, “If it weren’t for my horse…” as in, giddy up, giddy up, let’s go – “I wouldn’t have spent that year in college,” a degree-granting institution.

Now, the implications of hearing something so arcane and just out-of-the-blue can be severe. Lewis goes on (it’s hard to put the first part without the second):

Don’t! Don’t think about that sentence for more than three minutes, or blood’ll shoot out your nose. The American medical profession doesn’t know why we get an aneurysm. It’s when a blood vessel bursts in our head for no apparent reason. There’s a reason. You’re at the mall one day, and somebody over there says the dumbest thing you’ve ever heard and it goes in your ear.

Now, I don’t have a story as good as Lewis’ (seriously, if I did, he’d be writing my blog and I’d be doing stand-up in front of packed houses), but a few years ago, I overheard something in Boston Logan airport that has just rattled around my brain for years. I haven’t developed an aneurysm or some such thing, but I’d like to say there’s at least a few synapses in my noggin that are at least crippled because of this.

Anyway, like all my stories about Logan, this one begins with one of those lovely nice five-hour delays due to, I dunno, heavy dew at LaGuardia. Ah, the beauty of air travel.

As a sidenote, since I was flying American Eagle (“We love to fly, but just small planes from shitty terminals”), we’re sequestered in the part of the terminal that has no restrooms after you proceed through security. So, once you’ve been frisked and prodded, if you want to go to the can, you have to go back through security afterwards. I think they fixed that in the past couple of years, but in the giddy days post-9/11 it was one of those “anything for freedom” concessions that we all made blindly.

So, my coworker Ron and I are settling in for a very long delay, and my former boss, Suzanne, shows up for the same flight. We’re talking and waiting… talking and waiting… and then we hear a guy sitting a few seats away from us having a very animated conversation on his cell phone. He was so loud and obnoxious, in fact, that Suzanne’s cohort started using his laptop to record the shouting guy’s side of the conversation.

Then, loud obnoxious talker guy said, and I quote, “If we don’t sell that ice cream bar in South Beach, we’re fucked!” As Lewis said, I’ll repeat that, “If we don’t sell that ice cream bar in South Beach, we’re fucked!”

Of course, we giggled as quietly as possible for a few minutes, at least until we got out of earshot. We spent almost an hour trying to figure out every conceivable scenario that would cause that statement. How much money could an ice cream bar on the beach actually lose? How does an ice cream bar lose so much money that it leads to a “we’re fucked” situation? Is he on the South Beach diet, and he now considers ice cream unfathomable? Were they backed by the mob?
I always try to learn something from all of life’s experiences, and here’s a smattering of what I learned from that trip:

  1. If you’re waiting for a plane, it’s best to do so with a bunch of people that you like.
  2. You can, in fact, go five hours — easily — without peeing if you eat or drink nothing during that time (thanks again, American… dehydration’s a hoot).
  3. There’s nothing worse than a bad ice cream bar in South Beach. Get one, and you’re fucked. I heard that somewhere.
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Categories: Leftovers
  1. backdorr
    July 7, 2006 at 11:09 pm

    Toilets, like chainsaws and dynamite, are still not allowed past security at the American Eagle gates at Logan. Logan should invest in some Bladder Buddies from last season’s hit show, American Inventor.

  1. August 10, 2006 at 10:28 pm

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