Personality of a Small Town, or, The Quality of Eavesdropping in Northfield

In keeping with the Locally-Grown-as-Gossip-Blog theme:

A friend who moved to Silicon Valley [from New York] in the late 90s said the worst thing about living there was the low quality of the eavesdropping. At the time I thought she was being deliberately eccentric. Sure, it can be interesting to eavesdrop on people, but is good quality eavesdropping so important that it would affect where you chose to live? Now I understand what she meant. The conversations you overhear tell you what sort of people you’re among.

(Actually, this is from an excellent and insightful article about the personality of certain cities, and how they affect the people who live there. But being small-minded, my excerpt of the article does not reflect the greater thoughts therein. I encourage you to take the hyperlink side trip and read the whole article.)

I always find that coffee at the Goodbye Blue Monday or lunch at Chapati are great resources for quality eavesdropping, due in part to the fact that both places attract college students and out-of-towners passing through. If anyone else has great snippets of overheard conversations they’d like to share, please comment here.

I’m all ears.

One Comment

  1. Jane Moline said:


    I feel bad that no one has SAID or even over heard anything yet. I wanted to post about something I overheard in GBM but I can’t because all of the people are too…shall I say…sensitized.

    But I will tell you a little about it. I was sitting at a table minding my own business (at the table) when the person standing behind me talking to someone at THAT table said something regarding by husband and used his name. So I heard the name, and I just caught a little of what was said.

    Being a not-so-good eavesdropper (I really don’t) I turned right around and asked the person what they said–they fumbled, recovered slightly and mumbled something and left. So it wasn’t a very good eavedrop.

    I actually have overheard some strange things at GBM but most of them are too juicy for here.

    June 17, 2008

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