Thursday, February 10, 2005

Monkey Hear

I am convinced that I could write an entire novel based on the conversations overheard on the street on cell phones. Sometimes the snippets are so fascinating, I just want to follow and hear the rest of the story. Or better yet, just write it down and springboard it into my own character, plot, story.

Once I was sitting in Union Square Park and a guy sat down next to me and started chatting away about the Jayson Blair scandal. This guy was a fellow journalist who was good friends with Howell Raines, who had just resigned. He talked at length about Raines' personal life, about the scandal, about the Times -- the person on the other end of the line must have just listened and nodded because the guy never really paused. It's not unusual to be stuck listening to someone's private phone call, but it was really bizarre because it was very hot news, and here was a member of the press talking publicly, on a beautiful sunny day amidst a crowded row of park benches, about things that sounded off-the-record. And yet I had the sense that if his conversation partner were sitting next to him, he'd be whispering, afraid of who could overhear.

I tried to google him and find out who he was - he'd dropped names of papers he'd worked for and dates, although I can't remember now. I never did identify him.


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