Archive for the ‘Overheard’ Category


Guys hurt each other

March 4, 2014

“I’ve been tear-gassed, but I’ve never been pepper-sprayed,” said the man trying to impress the woman next to him at the bar. “I’ve been tased. My roommate bought a taser and I said, ‘Do it to me!'”

“How did it feel?” the woman asked.

“I regretted it,” the man said. “But that’s what guys do! We hurt each other.”


The emptiness of Bora Bora

January 6, 2014

Bora Bora’s pretty much empty, said the ponytailed Canadian. In Thailand, there’s such a scene, but no one goes to Bora Bora.

Yes, said the Dutch woman across the breakfast table. I have seen so many empty beaches on this trip. That’s fine sometimes, but not all the times.

Sometimes, the Canadian said, you just need a crowd.



Pronunciation lesson

November 12, 2013

“I also bought some KEEN-wah,” said the elderly lady on the bus to her friend. “I like that stuff.”

“You mean kin-NOH-ah?” said her friend.

“Is that how you say it?”



The scent of a memory

October 18, 2013

I just took a sip of this wine and smelled the bedroom of my ex-girlfriend, said the man behind the counter at the wine shop. I need to buy bottles of this wine. Cases of this wine.

He lifted the glass to his nose and inhaled deeply, then set the glass down and looked up at the ceiling, a small smile settling across his lips. We all breathed in, breathed out, breathed in again.

He shook his head. Let’s be clear, he said. I don’t want to go back to that time.


The phone call home

August 12, 2013

On the bus ride home, he calls his mother, tells her how his son slithers between him and his wife at 5 am, about the nut tree in the backyard that drops detritus on the deck.

No, it’s not a black walnut, he says. It’s too small.

He watches the traffic crawl alongside as he talks, and the man crouched on the sidewalk next to the shopping cart. A group of school girls board at the 3rd stop, and they laugh as they pass him in the aisle.

Yes, he replies to her next question. He smiles. We’re fine.


No walk in the park

September 18, 2012

The eye doctor’s office walls are retina-thin, and that is how, as my pupils widened under the influence of drops, I heard her explain to the man in the next room that he had advanced glaucoma.

I’m not going to lie to you,, she said. This is pretty bad.

The man muttered resigned assent to the treatment ahead, to the application of more powerful eyedrops, to appointments every week or two.

This is not going to be a walk in the park, the doctor said.



June 12, 2012

This is getting ridiculous, she said. He had told her how he thought she should make her next move. Alright, she said, I’ll do it.

She moved her piece. Now we’re back in the circle again. That’s not fair. Why are you telling me to lose?

What’s not fair? he asked. Are you any different than you were a minute ago?

Yes. I had you cornered, she said. Now we’re back where we started.