So, yesterday I was down in San Clemente working on a custom order for a lovely couple in England, and I must've briefly joined in (read: eavesdropped) on 30 small conversation soundbites.
If you're into photography you know that when you're on a photo mission you split your time between scanning your surroundings and looking through the camera lens, constantly trying to frame the next great shot. Contrary to what you might think, photographers miss a lot - oh, not the beautiful skies, or gorgeous scenery, but you might miss the people next to you, or the gull getting ready to drop a bomb on you, or, in my case, an airplane that is about to drop on your head. (Real airplane, not a toy. True story.) Basically, you tune out everything irrelevant to your (hopefully) awesome photograph setup.
This plays out sort of like a blind person - you hear so much more than you ordinarily would.
At first you don't even notice that you're eavesdropping. But if you're like me, you absolutely love hearing tidbits from other people's lives. Okay, that sounds really creepy, so let me explain and defend this questionable practice of mine...
I love people. I love to chat with strangers I meet on the streets, in stores, at the beach - wherever our paths may cross. It's not that I'm desperate for conversation, I have lots of friends and acquaintances, and I am (apologies) horrid at returning phone calls. So, desperation to talk is not my motivator.
What does motivate me is that people are totally interesting! Each person has their own little fascinating world, and while you may not want to spend hours and hours chatting them up, a quick fix is eavesdropping. And I don't mean the creepy stalking kind of eavesdropping, but just paying attention as you come near people in passing.
You come to find out that all people are basically the same, and have lots of the same issues. Doesn't matter if they're rich or poor, black or white, gay or straight, or from different generations. Life is similar in its cycle, with little individual tweaks here and there, but fundementally the same. People are people are people. This is a great insight, because once you "get" that, you'll be happier with yourself and your world.
I try to not envy anyone, because you never know what lurks behind their doors. The person who has everything may have a dear price to pay for that lifestyle - one that, if known, you or I would be unwilling to pay.
So, while I might have an iPod plugged into my ears at times, I more than likely might just be eavesdropping in on my "WorldPod" (Wow, that sounds soooo corny...LOL!) and enjoying every minute of my secret visits.