I have this notebook that I always keep in my bag and I write stuff in it. It’s a black Moleskine, so it kind of looks like a sekrit diary, but it’s more likely that I’ll write down bus times (like, I can never remember if the 006 leaves hourly on the hour or the half-hour) than any personal revelations (that’s what my actual diary is for, of course).

I got to the end of the notebook I’ve been using for the last couple of years and so I went through and copied all the more interesting bits from it. I suppose my original idea was that I’d be doing something with the the stuff I write down not long after I write it down, but, uh, I can be lazy.

Anyway, here’s the first selection from my notebook. It’s other people’s words – various snippets (or sometimes chunks) of conversation I’ve overheard over the last two years.

The difference between New Zealand and somewhere else

Totally different lifestyle to New Zealand – different culture, different people, different religion and that kinda shit.

A teenage girl on Hobson Street

My name’s Devious!

The narrating guy at Whitcoulls.

Two pens. [Scans barcodes on pens] Right, those two pens – $11.98. From $20, that’s $8 change. $20. Just double-checking your change. That’s five, two and one is 20.

The express lane at a Napier supermarket.

Checkout Girl: Hello, sir. Did you have a fun day at work today?
Man 1: Huh, that’s an understatement.
Checkout Girl: Um, well, what would be a correct statement?
Man 1: It would be correct to state that today was not fun.
Checkout Girl: Oh! That’s not good to hear. Well, I hope the rest of your day is fun. Goodnight! What about you, sir. Did you have a fun day at work?
Man 2: No.
Checkout Girl: Oh, that’s not good to hear. Why is that?
Man 2: I’d rather be out fishing.
Checkout Girl: Well, I think you should go out and get a job that is fun. Work is supposed to be fun. What good is it having a job if it’s not fun?
Man 2: I’m quite happy with my job, thanks.
Checkout Girl: Oh, well, goodnight. I think I scared him!

A university lecturer

People who disagree with you are not always stupid or evil.

A guy on the bus

I had the grossest dream last night. I had an eyeball here and I could see out of it. I never have cool dreams.

A disgruntled guy in a cafe

Wow, they really know how to make a lukewarm hot chocolate.

A guy in a stripy shirt on Hobson Street, to another

You know, if I went to Vegas, I’d probably budget 100 bucks US a night – minimum.

The mother and the small boy

Son: That car’s been through the mud!
Mum: Which car?
Son: [Pointing] That one.
Mum: The shiny red one?
Son: It’s a Holden.

The mum at the mall

They don’t have it in Keanu’s size and they say they can’t get it ordered in before Christmas.

One tourist to another at the bus stop

Only push card in to the machine. No need to talk to the driver. He will understand.

The youth pastor in the cafe in Nelson

Do you want my honest opinion? I know more about youth than John does. Last week, 43 – 43! – youth turned up to the youth service. Can John come up with a programme that will involve them all? No. It’s too hard. It’s not just about, “Do you know what’s happening?”, it’s about, “Do you support what’s happening.” And I do.

The guy in Brazil cafe talking about the future of dance music

Who the hell pops an E and sits in their lounge listening to dance music?

The two young teenage boys on the bus

Boy 1: We should have gone to Ice.
Boy 2: It’s gay.
Boy 1: Cos we would have met girls there.
Boy 2: Andrew says it’s gay. It’s all 13-year-olds.
Boy 1: That’s cos he’s older than us.
Boy 2: He’s 17. He makes up so many lies.

American mom, explaining pedestrian lights to her kids in Wellington

The little red man is up there, so we can’t cross. It’s far superior to having a white man.

9 thoughts on “Overheard”

  1. Who wants a white man when you can have a red man?

    Dylan and I have discussed writing a play based on snippets of conversations that we overhear. But you know …… we discuss these things and nothing happens.

  2. The best one ever was overheard by Jessamine while she was getting a lotto ticket a couple of years ago – and now used by a big group of people!

    Guy (slouching around while girlfriend looks at magazines): “Lets roll baby, I’m getting bored.”

  3. Oh dear. That someone could be scribbling down overheard nonsense is frightening. I shall have to polish up on quotes from philosophers and Shakespeare to mutter next time I see someone lurking with a notebook.

  4. That site is funny. I like this one:

    Girl: Daddy, does this shirt make me look fat?
    Daddy: No…your fat makes you look fat.

    I’m totally going to use that line. In fact, I’d like to combine that with the above one: “Baby, your fat makes you look fat. Let’s roll. I’m getting bored.”

  5. Loved reading these. The best of my personal collection is one blonde girl saying to another blonde girl as they walked out of Video Ezy: “It was dumb until I put it on my iPod.”

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