TMI and the Art of Eavesdropping

(via Sometimes I hear and sometimes I listen.

There’s much you can overhear on a daily commute in London. It’s rare that you learn anything much, other than what someone is planning to have for supper, or how trashed they are planning to get at the pub tonight, or how much they hate their snooty colleague. Today, however, I learned something about how relationships develop. When you’re 11.

On the bus home this evening, I sat behind a bunch of primary school children, all dressed in their uniforms, and aged about 11. They sat and giggled at fellow commuters, exchanged insults with each other and kept a commentary running until they alighted at their stops. As much as I wanted to ignore what they were saying, I couldn’t help hearing and then I began to listen.

(Hello, everyone, my name is Sunshine and I’m an eavesdropper.)

The lone boy in the group said to one of his friends:
“So, bruv, did you see me kiss her, yeah?”

“Yeah, like I was so surprised, yeah? I thought, he’s doing it near a window and, like, everyone’s going to see, innit?”

“Yeah, but you know there’s like a trampoline next to the building, with a wall next to it, yeah? Well, like, that’s where I done it.”


“So, you know the longest it’s taken me to kiss a girl, bruv?”

“Yeah? How long?”

“Well, this girl who was, like, my first girlfriend, yeah? Well, you know how long it took me, right? Two years.”

“Whoa. That’s insane. I’m so bad because it takes me, like, two days, yeah?”

“Whoa. But that girl, yeah, I just hate her now. I hate her, bruv. You know I like kissed her and all, and then she’s like telling everyone, yeah, that I’m such a *****, innit.”

“Yeah, that happens sometimes.”

“So, you know what I normally do, right? I go, like, kiss kiss and then I, like, snog snog snog. Yeah?”

Doing a Beyoncé move of the neck from side to side, and waggling an index finger in his general direction, his friend said,
“Too. Much. Information. Yeah?”

And so ended the conversation. You’re probably thinking this post is too much information (TMI), yeah, but I thought you might, like, learn something from it. Innit? No, I didn’t either. Yeah?

Sunshine signing off for today!


45 thoughts on “TMI and the Art of Eavesdropping

  1. Nicely conveyed conversation. Years ago when I was in Germany as a student, I could carry on conversations all right, but I wasn’t good enough to eavesdrop, and once I got home I realized I had missed it.

    Earlier this year I got to listen in on 90 minutes of 11-year-old conversation that was so interesting, I had to write it up so I wouldn’t forget it. (If you ever find yourself with too much time on your hands, you can check it out on my blog – “Field Trip” in the “kids” category.)

  2. Eavesdropping on the subway is a writer’s best friend. I get some of my best material that way. LOL!

  3. This is scaring me even more than my 4 year old and being married! I am positive that you are not suppossed to “snog” at 11! My first kiss was at 13. I was in std 6. It was such a mess. Obviously way too early! My little girl is going to be put in a cage.
    Nice post! Xx

  4. Oh, the things we can learn when we eavesdrop — “little kids” bragging about their first kiss, lots of slang, and pointers on dialog. I guess all writers are unabashed eavesdroppers!

  5. Aren’t commuters in London’s steam engine trains supposed to be reading Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes short stories? When did this all change? Don’t you people have any respect for tradition any more? I would think so with that Queen Victoria still alive and kicking.

  6. All I can say is eleven has changed a lot since I was that age! Snogging was not even on the radar. Roger and I didn’t figure out we were interested in each other as more than friends until we were in high school and, when we finally got around to dating senior year, we mainly held hands, walked, then stood hugging and sometimes kissing. Once, we got more enthusiastic than usual and our teeth accidentally clicked and we both jumped back as though shot, LOL. Even for those days we were a pair of innocents. Still, at least your little group there were only eleven, perhaps some excuse for TMI. I’m still trying to get over the time a couple of years ago an adult passed me on the street, cell phone glued to ear, shouting, “What do you mean I don’t satisfy you?!” Talk about TMI!

  7. A trampoline can help with a lot of things: your post proves this, Sunshine. I had never envisaged it for this purpose but I’ll add it to my list.

    Sounds like something from the Staines Massive.

    1. I’m glad I made you giggle but I’m sorry I made you have a coughing fit! Hope you feel better soon, innit?
      Thanks so much for coming by, Bee – welcome to my, like, blog.

  8. I’d like to say I never eavesdrop, but, sadly, that would be a big fat L-I-E…ha! Glad you eavesdrop too so you can share fun tales of young love with us. Love the part where the kid “like kissed her and all…” Hugs, Diane

    1. Thanks, jamie. I’m sure you could relate to the story, being a teacher of youngsters? I didn’t have a dictaphone with me, just wrote it quickly before I forgot all the details! hahaha!

  9. Help out a non-Englishwoman and tell me the difference between kissing and snogging. I was under the impression that snogging was kissing. It’s a good thing you were eavesdropping or I wouldn’t know I didn’t know ;-).

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