Not just kids say the darnedest things

Church Street is one of the great people-watching venues in Vermont. It is also one of the best spots to park yourself and eavesdrop. The following are actual, unedited snippets of conversation I heard a few Fridays ago, when I savored the spring sun and listened in on remarks that were absolutely none of my business.
“There’s a nice family. They have children. Would you like to go live with them?” (Spoken by a harried 30-something mother to her toddler in a stroller.)
“Somewhere around here they have flying monkeys — not live ones. I’ll go ask.” (Male tourist to his wife.)
“Duh. He doesn’t do those things on purpose. He’s just stupid. I mean, he’s going out with me. What does that tell you?” (Teen girl on a cell phone.)
“I do not have a beer belly. I have a beer bottom. There’s a difference.” (Male college student, his voice only a tad defensive.)
“Please. I don’t have time to spell.” (Teen boy to a friend while walking and texting.)
“Take the high road. You might get a nosebleed, but no one ever died from a nosebleed.” (Female executive, mid-40s.)
“Honestly? I can’t tell you what we decided. I could make something up, if you want. But I was looking out the window at a sailboat on the lake. It was completely hypnotic.” (Male executive, mid-20s. I am hoping he is not a banker, but I fear by his suit that he is.)
“Are you saying we’ve already had our primary? Like for the president? How come nobody told me? I would have voted!” (Female college student, with any luck not one majoring in political science.)
“Look, honey, it’s a map of the universe!” (Father to his preschool daughter, pointing down at one of the international city names carved into the bricks.)
“I have no idea what they talk about when Jim and I aren’t home. They’re cats.” (Female executive, mid-30s.)
“Yeah, I was pretty hammered, but I was walking so it didn’t matter. I mean, even if I had a car — which I don’t — it wouldn’t have been a big deal. There was no way I would have been able to put the key in the ignition. I’m still not sure how I unlocked the front door.” (A young man.)
“It’s named Champ because it supposedly won something. Best Water Monster. I don’t know, I’m guessing.” (Male tourist to his friend.)
“I don’t watch much TV. I watch ‘American Idol’ and ‘Survivor’ and ‘House’ and ‘America’s Next Top Model’ and ‘Dancing with the Stars’ when I can find it. But that’s it.” (A high school student, female.)
“I wouldn’t want a blog. Too much work. And it sounds like a wart, anyway. ‘I have a blog!’ Well, why don’t you go put something on it?” (A high school student, male.)
“I’m sure we can find pancakes with maple syrup. That’s one of the things Vermont grows.” (Mother reassuring her elementary school-aged daughter.)
And my absolute favorite unedited line of dialogue belongs to another male tourist: “It’s a pretty city. It used to have a communist for a mayor.”
(This column originally appeared in the Burlington Free Press on May 25, 2008.)

Chris Bohjalian

Chris Bohjalian is the author of nineteen books, including his forthcoming novel, The Sleepwalker. His other novels include the New York Times bestsellers Midwives, The Sandcastle Girls, The Guest Room, and The Double Bind.

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