Snippets of conversations beguile, titillate and shock

Writer Woody Weingarten wishes he had ears like this fennec fox so he could overhear more juicy delicacies.

Unlike our federal government, I don’t snoop.

Unlike countless other organizations, I do no surveillance — electronic or other.

Unlike cable news networks and Wikipedia, I don’t spread misinformation, gossip or rumors.

But I do grab snippets of tête-à-têtes from restaurants, park benches and street corners.

And, because what I overhear might end up as fodder for a column, I typically jot down what I catch. This, in fact, is the third compilation of succulent morsels I’ve picked up.

Perhaps these delicacies will beguile, titillate or shock you — maybe even as much as they did me.

To wit…

While asking questions at Town Hall about a new neighbor’s construction project, I overhead a nearby San Anselmo employee say, “I absolutely need to unwind, un-stress and un-overload.”

“I’m done with him,” said a teen girl in the Marin General lobby the week before. “He’s now just a speck in my litter box of life.”

Outside Trader Joe’s in San Rafael, a sly geezer declared — albeit a little too publicly — to his vastly younger female companion, “I have a feeling some prankster put crushed Viagra in my miso soup at lunch.”

A long-haired, college-age guy philosophized outside The Bicycle Works co-op in San Anselmo: “We all know what to do about Killer Bees, but how can we handle Killer Sharks — you know, those anti-middle-class Wall Street venture-capitalist types — or the Killer Publicists, the marketers who clutter up popular films with irrelevant product placements, or Killer Second Amendmenters, those pro-gun jerks who think every kid’s room should be stocked with an Uzi?”

Addressing a diner who’d obviously over-tipped, an elated server in Il Fornaio in Corte Madera gushed, “Grazie, merci, danke, arigatou, toda and asante. Oh, I forgot — thanks a lot.”

A dowager in deep blue dress, diamond necklace and studs outside Mag’s Local Yogurt shop in Larkspur lapped up some vanilla one sunny p.m. “I’m supporting Carly Fiorina and Marco Rubio,” she said, “and have donated to both their campaigns. I’m also speaking for them locally, sort of reversing things by putting my mouth where my money is.”

“Arguing with a spouse,” one mid-lifer in front of the Fairfax police station said to another, “is like having a nuclear war — nobody wins.”

I heard, in the Post Office in Ross, a sentence that could never apply to a compulsive-obsessive neatnik, maker of priority lists and lint picker-upper like me: “He’s having a real romance with disorder.”

But I agree with the disheveled mother who chided her ear-budded son outside Bananas at Large in San Rafael, “Once there were songs; now there’s only noise.”

And I definitely could share a grin with the gray-haired gent in pristine white shirt, power tie, filthy sneakers and tattered jeans in San Anselmo’s library who proclaimed, “I love it that I’m old enough to still appreciate — in the face of all this damned technology — paper clips, rubber bands and a plunger.”

Decked-out matron watching road construction in Mill Valley with a gal-pal: “These days more than ever, perseverance trumps perspiration.”

Cynical senior in Fairfax’s Good Earth Natural Foods generalized,  “Those that can, do; those that can’t become politicians.”

A twenty-something father, near the stone dinosaur at Millennium Park in San Anselmo, appeared to be wasting some psychology on his toddler daughter, “Okay, don’t have fun. Don’t have any fun.”

Matronly blonde outside Luther Burbank Savings in San Rafael was waving her arms in a friend’s face: “Our government has definitely completed its wrong-headed transition from the Gold Standard to an Ink Standard. The only question remaining is: How much money can The Fed print?”

A young guy with an unusually high forehead had collared   a sidekick at Drake High School, “There’s only one word to describe her — feckless.”

Loaded down with books on the Kentfield campus of the College of Marin, a student was chatting with his clingy girlfriend. “A few minutes ago John was quoting ‘The Huffington Post,’ then Wikipedia. That’s cool. But I’m still hoping he’ll really go retro and quote ‘Esquire’ or ‘Elle.’”

Finally, while munching on a delicacy at Terra Linda’s High Tech Burrito, a Millennial said to a worker cleaning tables, “Would your family be the basis of a soap opera, sitcom or reality show? Mine could be all three.”

Contact Woody Weingarten at or check out his blog at