Overheard on the Train

Getting the train halfway across the country is never fun when you are travelling alone and have nothing to do. I stupidly forgot to bring something to read with me and I also forgot my headphones, so with little signal to use on my phone I decided to use one my skills to keep me entertained.

Since I was little my dad has called me ‘ears’ as I have the amazing ability to hear conversations from a mile off.

In our creative writing classes we were taught to take note of what people were saying in situations like this so that we could create a piece of creative writing from it. Here are snippets of the conversations I heard on my journey from Stevenage to Lincoln. Do with them what you will:

“It’s ok if I eat a little more because I am a vegetarian”
“My parents are putting pressure on me to put Graham to sleep because he looks so ill I said mother if you had lost a bit of weight would it be ok for us to put you down”
“Well I think he’s an idiot I’m very disappointed”
“I’ve seen posted today that the nearest the Olympic torch gets to us is Saxilby I wonder if it’s Lincoln people running through the region? I’m very disappointed I haven’t been nominated to run with it’ ‘Yes I would have thought you would have too’ ‘Apparently even a homeless guy was nominated for it”
“I won’t fall asleep at six but I tend to be asleep by nine if I do something physical before I go to sleep I won’t toss and turn as much”
“I feel now there is a light at the end of the tunnel whereas before I didn’t”
“I used to do my job and I used to do it well I used to take 500 pages of it home with me but I don’t bother anymore”
“I’ve got a friend that’s really fat and depressed”
“I’ve lost my watch so I’ve had to wear my dress watch. I’m wondering whether my cats have knocked it off my wardrobe as they use it to get onto the windowsill. I will have to take away all my towels and linen and have a look”
“He ran right onto the field and explained that he was a heart specialist they say there’s always someone around when you need them that’s what they reckon”
“All I wanted was a sandwich but they only had full English breakfast or chicken tikka wrap which is a bit too exotic for me”
“I actually find her quite hard work Tammy says she thinks she tries too hard to be something she’s not”
“Ooh wow she looks tiny”
“They don’t even come with a rubber stamp to their forehead”
“He’s not a terrorist’ ‘You don’t know what he is’ ‘Neil thinks he’s guilty”
“I’m having a hot flush”
“I remember when I fell asleep on the train and woke up in Leeds he wasn’t happy with me but at least I gave him something to be bothered about he had to pay for my hotel as I’d forgotten my credit card”
“I wasn’t exactly chuffed with him coming home at 2 o’clock with her”
“She’s a selfish little brat’ ‘Well she’s very lucky she’s got such a supportive network she gets out a lot I don’t know how she affords it when I had my kids I never went out and my parents LIVED with me”
“You can’t blame the kids they’re actually quite well behaved it’s her she just leaves them and goes off for a cigarette”
“He’s horrible he’s got a big gob hasn’t he”
“You’ll have to hide all of those shopping bags from him’ ‘Well he buys loads of stupid golf clubs”

What an extraordinary story they could make…


5 thoughts on “Overheard on the Train

  1. Nice story. Give me the inspiration to write down what I heard during traveling using public transportation. One of the reason I like using public transportation is that I often heard conversation between other passengers. One day I heard people says ” you know? our real wealth or property is our brain, because nobody can steal our brain”. That sentence is always on my mind, that’s absolutely true. What do you think?

  2. You did such a wonderful job getting it all down! I love listening in, or just watching if the folks are too far away to hear. Either way, I’m always trying to figure out what their “story” is — your post marks the first time I thought about actually writing one FOR them. Cool.

  3. I love this.

    I always feel like I’m doing something a little bit wrong when I listen in to public conversations. Especially when I transcribe them.

    I think that might be part of the draw.

    But … if the speakers wanted them to private, they wouldn’t say them so I could hear them.

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