Saturday, June 19, 2010

Ears Dropping

by Drew Martin

I started writing this post on the train yesterday, live from the trenches of experience. I was sitting across from a couple which was way too happy (opiated might be a better term), wearing matching rings, which were very, very shiny. It turns out they just got their wedding bands and had previously eloped. I know this only because the not-so-young couple surprised the mother of the wife over the cell phone, in front of me.

I spend over 500 hours a year on public transportation and have heard it all before from people who take their personal lives public via the cell phone. "We wanted to share it with you first" this couple told the shell-shocked mom. I mentioned they were sitting across from me, but in reality our legs were intertwined, thigh-high, in the crammed seating.

When they finished the call, I simply had to congratulate them to break the awkward moment. I also told them that technically I found out first, before the mom, because of the slight phone delay and the fact that she did not understand them the first time they told her.

The odd thing is, it's mid June and they eloped in March. Additionally, they were fifteen minutes away from the mother's house when they placed the call. I guess this is all part of a technological exhibitionism: confessing private things on national television and making such a call within an earshot of dozens of people. After the couple got off the train, a middle-aged woman hurried over to me and ask for more details (than what she was able to overhear).

When I was a kid, I thought the term eavesdropping was actually called ears-dropping. The former suggests a slightly devious act and an invasion of privacy, but conversations such as the one I was exposed to are simply in-your-face and unavoidable. I think my version, ears-dropping, might be more appropriate of a term now, as in...They were ears-dropping the whole train ride.

I had not given much thought to eloping before. I only know of one distant and older relative who did it. I did not know people eloped anymore. It is actually quite a romantic idea: just being so in love that you want to share that special moment alone with your partner (as opposed to with a train full of strangers). It is also quite refreshing in an age of bridezillas and weddings that cost as much as a house that one can actually stop the wedding machine. I think eloping should be considered by politicians and other influential people. Leaders of conflicting nations could run off secretly together and sign a peace treaty without all the fanfare.