Gossip Girls, 1951. Detail from Niagra Laundry Starch ad

Most days when travelling to and from work my ears are adorned with earbuds; the outside world blocked out by an eclectic mix of sounds. However, over the past few weeks my ears have been earbud free, taking in the sounds of city life.

Here are a few snippets of things I have overheard as I’ve been making my way to and from the office:

–  I passed a nanny taking her two charges to school. The boy (about seven) was pestering his sister (she was about four years old). It had been pretty breezy this past week and he, along with the nanny kept telling her to put her sweater on. She finally had enough. She spun around on her little heels, raised her arms up and down in the air and screamed at them, “My arms will tell me when I’m cold; they haven’t done that yet. So, my arms don’t need a sweater!” She looked so serious when she said this, that I had to look away for fear of laughing out loud at this little blonde curly headed child.

–  I passed a boy humming the Jurassic Park theme at the top of his lungs while his buddy rode his bike beside him.

–  I walked behind two ladies who were discussing their marriage proposals. One lady said that although he didn’t propose at that spot, her husband wanted to give her her ring somewhere that she would always remember it. So, he handed it to her at the roundabout in Shepherd’s Bush. The other lady responded by saying her ring was tucked in a bowl of corn flakes. Her fiancé had brought her breakfast in bed and she was just about to pour the milk over them when she saw the ring hidden in the bowl.

–  I walked behind two little girls about seven years old, their arms wrapped around each other. They had just been picked up from school and their nanny was hurrying them along. One girl said to the other, “We’ll be best friends forever!” Her friend questioned, “Even when we get married?” and her buddy responded with a resounding, “YES!”

–   I passed a girl with an unbuttoned trench coat that revealed a crinkled scarf wrapped around her throat. She was furiously smoking a cigarette with tear stained cheeks and smudged mascara. She was pacing and rapidly speaking into her phone. Her one sided part of the conversation: “Don’t make me fall in love with you and then go back to your wife.”

–  A very well suited young man talking into his phone: “Well, I was in Spain for a wedding and then I had to stay for business and then I thought, HEY! I’m in Spain! So I told my boss I couldn’t attend the meeting because I had food poisoning and then I went to the beach!”

–  A very flamboyantly dressed man speaking to his girlfriend who was gloriously dressed with a white beehive and a 1960s styled mini dress. She looked like a decadent cream puff come to life: “That place was so over the top. It looked like the inside of Liberace’s handbag!”

People are just the funniest things, aren’t they?