If Eavesdropping Were Soul, I'd Be James Brown
(sorry, no Tender Fury link)
Jim forwarded me a post from Charr, about eavesdropping. I think this post is awesome because I too am an eavesdropper. I'm not beating around the bush about it either, I do it all the time. I can't turn it off. I'm like that guy who needs the hearing aid. For some reason all the ridiculous conversation that go on around me are just as loud (most of the time) as the conversation I'm having, generally making it difficult for me to follow my own conversation when a gem of a discussion is going on nearby. At work, this isn't generally the case. Most of the time as a manager I hear most of the news up front. Occasionally I manage to get info from being at the right place at the right time, but generally I have enough agents in the field that I hear all the important shit. This wasn't the case in the past though, I really had to work to hear all the news. Here are some methods in addition to charr's that have proven useful for me. For most of these, I'm actually surprised that people don't catch on to them.
- Unclaimed printouts at the printer/copier. I generally don't go looking for these, but someone usually leaves them face up next to the printer for everyone to see. Performance reviews, salary information, personal chat logs, the list goes on. I guess sometimes people just forget that they printed out things they don't want other people to see. It could happen to anyone.
- Documents/pictures on the temp directory of our internal file server. This has happened at every company I've ever worked for. Every one of them had a network file share where people could put up files temporarily that is deleted every night or week or something of the like. This is a haven for inappropriate pictures of co-workers. Sometimes there's some personal stuff there too, but that's a lot more rare. The nice thing about the temporary file share is that people not only put personal materials on there, but they generally put it in folders with their names for whoever they're showing it to. These can be good and bad. You've always gotta be wary of pictures because sometimes you're going to wish you really hadn't seen it.
- Personal shared folders. This is another network folder one, but it generally doesn't include inappropriate pictures. This is generally the place for performance reviews (either personal ones or reviews of employees) and salary information. It's hard to keep from looking at a document called "salaries.xls" in your boss' public network share.
- Last but definitely not least, the office calendar. We use Lotus Notes, and unless you explicitly disable public viewing of your calendar or you mark meetings private, anyone can just open your calendar and see what you've got going on. This is useful in those situations where you see all the wrong people walk into a room together while speaking in hushed tones. Also, this way I can find out when my co-workers are having that pole shoved farther up their ass and I can avoid them.
In general eavesdropping outside of work hasn't done much for me. In general, I just end up feeling like my head is going to explode like Lewis Black. I never hear stuff to his level, but I have caught some gems over the years. My favorite is when people make asses out of themselves and make a stranger uncomfortable at the same time. A few weeks ago I was out at Trudy's Northstar on a busy night enjoying some mexican martinis. We happened to get seated near the bar and the place was so packed that a group of girls was standing directly behind me. It was loud with all the people (of course) so the alpha girl is talking unbelievably loud right in my ear. While I'm in the middle of telling a story, she starts talking about a guy and his girlfriend that have just come up to the bar.
"I totally fall for guys like that."
"The one with the nerdy looking girlfriend. I always totally fall for the guys with the nerdy girlfriends."
First, I find it amazing that someone's type could be 'guys with nerdy girlfriends'. That seems like an odd 'type' to be placing on yourself. I myself go for lesbian left-handed midget albinos. But even more amazing, is that this girl doesn't realize that the people she's talking about are less than ten feet away and she's yelling in their direction. You'd think the glares and awkward looks would have tipped her off, but no she just kept going on about it. a.w.k.
On another night out, I was out eating sushi with kat. Sushi makes for a particularly good setting for watching people make asses out of themselves because it's the kind of food that someone wants to display their superior knowledge. And I like (and I hate it too) to watch people showing off for their hillbilly friends/parents/dates. This guy was precious, showing off his superior knowledge of sushi by ordering tuna rolls, extra wasabi, and sake, because that's how badass he is. Next it was time to show off the gadgetry. This is a personal favorite of mine as a techgeek, because someone inevitably will make a radically stupid claim about their device because they don't understand enough about technology. "I think it has, like 200 RAMs." Golden. Anyway, this guy starts showing off his palm pilot cell phone combo. That's all good and fine. It's got a calculator and blahblahblah. But the interesting one was when he got to the palmasutra. He starts showing this thing off, his male friend (of course) doesn't know what the kamasutra is. So the hillbilly girl speaks up in her best hick accept.
"It's, like, this book about sex and stuff. And it's old and has like different positions like girl on top and ......"
Please oh please make her stop. Just shut and get back on the bangbus you stupid bitch. The golden one though, was the hillbilly male friend giving his philosophy on music.
"I don't really like music or know who the popular artists or anything like that. All I know is I like Randy Travis. His music always picks ya up and makes ya feel good."
Seriously. I need to get away from these people.