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My mother taught me that it was impolite, but my mother-in-law got much entertainment out of her party line telephone and was only slightly chagrined when she was caught eavesdropping. Reviews are mixed on the habit. Writers are told to go to coffee shops and other public places just for that purpose. Who knows when you may find the start of a story?

On our recent flight to Chicago, I could hardly refrain considering the close quarters, the two and a half hour wait on the tarmac, and the two and a half hour flight. Not to mention that the pilot came over the loudspeaker from time to time, apparently not always on purpose. Then the trip itself added a few others. In case you’re interested in what I heard, here goes, with my thoughts in parentheses. 

Pilot at the one hour, five minute mark: “They are going to reroute us, and we want to check and see if we have enough fuel.” (I certainly hope so.)

From the seat behind me: “I was 42% Great Britain, 28% Western Europe, and a little bit Scandinavian. I found a cousin and emailed but haven’t heard back.” (Oh, rats, now I’ll never know if she ever finds the long-lost cousin or if he/she prefers to stay lost.)

Pilot at the two hour, fifteen mark: “Well, the fuel truck had a little problem, but I think it’s fixed now. You need to be back on the plane and in your seats.” (You mean I’ve been sitting here all this time when I could have been out strolling around and getting a cup of coffee?)

Baby, three seats ahead through all five hours of this waiting and flying: Remarkably good for the long ordeal, but from time to time sending up loud wails. (My sentiments exactly)


Chicago tour guide: Velveeta is not real cheese. (I hope nobody tells our son Mark.)

I’m still puzzled over whether I was supposed to hear the pilot on his two comments or if they were for the crew. I can attest that neither was particularly comforting. As for getting a story out of any of this, I really don’t see one coming, but I did get this blog.