I know, I know…Awful Title. But “Confessions of an Eavesdropper” seems to be way overdone. And I feel the need to come clean, (maybe purge some guilt?) about my past transgressions before a certain consequential birthday hits me in March.
“Hello. My name is ‘Little Miss Menopause’ and I’m a Snoopaholic.” (No, I am not obsessed with Charlie Brown’s dog.) Unfortunately, I have listened in on so many phone calls, read so many diaries, pressed my ear to so many walls, and glimpsed so many text messages that even a 12 step program cannot help me now. Besides I’d probably just spy on my “Higher Power.”
I believe this obsession started unintentionally, dare I say even innocently? Back when landline phones adorned every kitchen wall, and those phones had other attached phones connected to the same line (called “Extensions” for you youngsters) in faraway upstairs bedrooms – – where eavesdropping could easily happen quite accidentally. Well let’s just say if you were ten years old, listened to a certain radio station where you simply HAD to be the sixth caller when the DJ played a sound-clip of The Fonz grunting, “Heeeeyyyyyy” (so you could win tickets to the County Fair) you might suddenly snatch up the receiver and . . .and…. instead of finding out you’re going to the fair, find out your older sister is actually HAVING an affair.
“What was that? Did you just hear a click like someone picked up the other line? We better hang up now, just in case. I love you, Alan…”
Of course there was only one thing for me to do the next day….
And the miniature key was right in the little padlock!
Today Alan kissed me and then confessed to being a married man. This is so Marsha Brady/Dr. Dentist-like! (Oh God! I had just watched that Brady Bunch episode with her last week!) He gave me a locket and told me to wear it under my blouse and never show it to anyone. But today I noticed my ten-year-old sister staring at the chain. (I had been staring at her boobs, wondering about my own.) She is so obnoxious. And fat too. Gotta go study, Diary… (Nooo! Right at the best part?) college finals are a bitch.
It’s Not Always About You. (Yes It Is!)
Wait, forget the affair. So now I was fat?? This was news to me. Obnoxious I knew, but how many pounds did I need to lose? That was the day I learned something very important. You never really know what others truly think about you unless you eavesdrop.
I’m not trying to justify my actions, but don’t most people do this sort of thing to dig up dirt on others? From that moment on, I just wanted to find out the truth about MYSELF. Make sure I was living in the real world. I was dying to know what else was being kept from me.
The next day I played at a neighbor’s house (twin girls a year older than me) and decided to try a little experiment. In the middle of playing Barbies, (nobody ever calls Barbie “fat” behind her back!) I excused myself on the pretense of needing to use the bathroom. I made sure my footsteps could be heard stomping down the hall, then silently tiptoed back to listen through their bedroom door.
“She smells like tuna.”
“I know. And she always wears her hair in that stupid fat braid.” Great, now my hair was chubby too.
“Let’s tell her we have a piano lesson and can’t play anymore.”
They should just have an “Evil Twin” lesson and call it a day.
Sheesh, this was a terrific week for my self-esteem. But now I was completely hooked.
I Was All Ears Thru The Years!
As the years passed, I fine-tuned my nosiness. When I was dating my soon-to-be fiance, we went to a party at his brother’s house so he could introduce me to some of his buddies and even his parents were invited. I was nervous but as the evening wore on, I seized the moment on their couch to sort of “drift-off.” Uh huh. I had a glass of wine. Hey, it could happen! And I was a good actress, earning high marks in Fake Sleeping 101.
“So….what do you think of her?”
“She’s pretty nice. I’d say she’s a slight improvement over Vanessa.” Vanessa? Who the hell was Vanessa? Don’t blink, don’t blink.
“But does she always wear her hair like Farrah Fawcett?” Man, I can’t seem to win in the hair department!
“Well Michael, I’ll say this – – If you’re really gonna propose to this one, make sure she knows I get Thanksgiving and New Year’s. Her side of the family can do Groundhogs Day and Washington’s birthday. Oh and I get Christmas Eve too.” A control freak future mother-in-law?
“Ma, she’s Jewish.”
“Really? But she doesn’t have the big nose.” An ignorant, anti-semitic, control freak future mother-in-law. No thanks.
After that, I got much more daring with my “detective skills.” Once in my thirties, after a horrible fight with my married sister, I got the idea to telephone her home but then not say a word when she answered. I figured maybe I’d get to overhear her using some choice words about me to her husband. How could it hurt?
She answered on the third ring, sounding like she’d been crying. Wow, I guess our fight upset her more than I realized.
“Hello? Is anyone there? Hello?! I can hear you breathing. Bitch.”
Silence. What juicy tidbit would I find out about me now? Maybe they think I’m a horrible cook, my kids are brats…or…
“Alan, why don’t you tell your Mistress to stop calling our home at night before the children are in bed.”
Silence. Wow. Talk about full circle. I sadly hung up.
But then came email. And text messaging. And Facebook. A veritable SnoopFest Smorgasbord.
In fact, it’s thanks to an unprotected password on my sister’s cell phone that last week I saw an entire text conversation about my big upcoming birthday that I mentioned above. (Okay, okay….I’m going to be fifty soon, blech.) And there’s going to be a surprise party. Or there would have been a surprise party. But now I know everything. Maybe I can pretend?
You’ll be happy to know that today I finally got my comeuppance. Unbeknownst to me, as I sat in the beauty salon, (I must’ve jostled my sweater pocket) my cell phone somehow stealthily dialed my sister. And can you believe she listened spellbound to my entire conversation with the manicurist, even overhearing me describe which dress I would be wearing to my own surprise party? And now, well now my birthday has been cancelled.
My name is Little Miss Menopause and I’m a Snoopaholic. Thank you.
PS. If I leave this blog right now, are you going to talk about me in the comments section??
PPS. Yeah, my hairstyle is still stuck in the 70’s.