Anyone who follows me; anyone who knows me at all, as a matter of fact, knows I love to write. I’m always looking for new ideas as far as dialogue and character description, and so one of my favorite writing tools is the time-honored tradition of eavesdropping, perfected by mothers and teachers since the dawn of time.
Perfected by mothers and teachers? No, really: we all wonder how our parents and teachers have ‘eyes in the backs of their heads.’ It’s eavesdropping, is all. If you’re not looking directly at someone, that someone thinks you can’t hear them. Try it! So I was excited when Tall Poppy Writers accepted me as a guest poster! We decided, since I was getting ready to take a long road trip up the California and Washington coast, there would be a perfect opportunity to employ my favorite writing tool. Eavesdropping and people-watching: vacation fun for everyone…
Here are my favorite moments from the trip!
- Two guys sitting behind me at the Giants game: coupla college frat-boy types, backward ball caps and big fat beers, having philosophical discussions: “If I go down and get a lemonade at the baseball game it’s totally not worth $5. But if I get a lemonade DELIVERED to me AT MY SEAT, it is absolutely, positively worth $5. No question.”
- Two little girls with their mom in the bathroom at the San Francisco Exploratorium.
One little girl cries “When are we going hooooome?”
And mom says “Never. We are here for the whole day.” I’ve heard myself say this before.
“How many minutes is that?” the other little girl whines. Classic ‘are we there yet?’ moment.
- At Monterey Bay Aquarium the guy and girl to my left, watching thousands of fish in this giant aquarium: he leans over and whispers to her, “Do you think they get psyched out too? When something brushes up against them under the water? Look, there’s so many! I bet they freak out.”
- And this one is my favorite. My husband has all sorts of tricks to avoid paying for parking, so this one involved parking on a side street in Chinatown and taking public transportation to the game. The problem came at the return journey, because the L train we’d taken to get there only ran until 6 p.m. So we went through a total ordeal to get back to Fishermans’ Wharf, all vans and munis and trolleys, and we finally got to Chinatown at 10:30 and were like, wherethehellisourcar?
We’re wandering all over, searching for the minivan, and I eavesdrop on the two people I can hear walking behind me. It’s a pretty innocuous conversation–he’s talking about his day at work, and she’s talking about whatever function they are heading to or coming from. We continue on down the street and I don’t hear anything that I can apply to a character in my future writings.
But THEN…then things change.
My family pauses, and the couple walks ahead.
She is short, with a medium-length brown bob, a blue dress and high heels. HE is tall, with long brown hair, a grey polka-dotted dress, and high heels.
Right now, I can say, “Only in San Francisco is this a normal Friday night”, but I know I won’t be saying that for long, and I’m glad. What a great road trip for eavesdropping.
What a great WORLD for eavesdropping. Never a dull moment for anyone with eyes ears and heart open. Love it! Live it! Try it!
…If this was in my weekly blog ‘Kelley’s Konundrum’, the topic would be ‘The Mystery of the Open Ears’, or something like that, so I’ll end this one in the same way: I’d love to hear your views! Until next time: Stay Mystified!
Kelley Kaye taught High School English and Drama for twenty years, but her love for storytelling dates back to creating captions for her high school yearbook. Maybe back to the tales she created around her Barbie and Ken—whatever the case, the love’s been around for a long time. Kelley is married to this amazing man who cooks for her, and they have two funny and wonderful sons. She lives in Southern California.
About DEATH BY DIPLOMA
Emma Lovett leaves her philandering husband and crosses the country to begin her teaching career at a high school in Pinewood, Colorado.There, she meets Leslie Parker, a fellow teacher given to quoting Shakespeare to fit all situations, and the two become fast friends.
Arriving at work early one morning, Emma discovers the body of the school custodian, a man who reminds her of her late father. When the police struggle to find the killer, the ladies decide to help solve the murder. Their efforts lead them to a myriad of suspects: the schizophrenic librarian, the crude football coach, the mysterious social studies teacher, and even Emma’s new love interest.
As Emma Lovett discovers the perils of teaching high school, she and Leslie learn more than they ever wanted to know about the reasons people kill.