I spend a significant amount of time overhearing people talk.
My office shares a wall with the psychologist next door. My huge and immovable desk is against this shared wall, so I inadvertently hear murmured secrets and many times weeping and sometimes loud, manic laughter and sometimes dried up, bitter laughter. (I also know they must hear me on the phone, scanning, shredding and all the boring audible details of my work, too.) One sad thing is to hear the older women who come in to share. It seems there are a disproportionate number of old women who need therapy, or maybe older ladies just have a particular affection for Dr. T for some reason or another. It is a sad thing that gives me pause as they talk over how their children ignore them and how their doctors can't fix them. I don't like to hear the old women cry. It is one of those things that makes you sad for the whole world and the insensitive, fallen way humans treat each other. I try not to listen too much. I will confess that one time there was a really juicy conversation going on, and I pressed my ear to the wall. I did.
My husband and I also hear talk and giggles and shouting from the house across the street from us. The party house, we call it. A teenage girl lives there, and she must be remarkably popular because there are--and I cannot emphasize this enough--constantly a swarm of her friends over at her house, sitting on the front porch. Nevertheless, popular or not, she has a exceptionally permissive mother. Not only do those kids sit out on the front porch making enough noise that we can hear it from across the street when we are inside the house in our back bedroom, but also they smoke! I've seen them! Okay, so I don't really care about the smoking, but the screaming and yelling is getting old. I'm surprised no one has called in a noise complaint yet. I can't bring myself to be the surly old grump who ruined their fun, but come on. I have a feeling the summer heat will squelch some of their rambunctious outdoor behavior.