Sunday, May 26, 2013

Listening Backward and Forward

One of the minor annoyances of advancing middle age is that I can no longer read over shoulders on public transportation. A book on the lap next to me I can read, but over the shoulder I can tell The Da Vinci Code from The Autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini only by bulk.

Yesterday, though, it occurred to me that there is a compensation in outdoors eavesdropping. My closing and overtaking speed, never elite, has diminished over the years, and so I spend more time in earshot of others on the routes that I run. On the trail about Porter St., I passed two women who were walking up the park as I ran down it. One had just uttered the word "amicable", a word unusual enough to catch my attention. I realized as I went on that I had heard "process", and before that "when I met him he was in the". This provided the word that I did not hear as we traveled away from each other, and I had the whole sentence, or at least clause: "when I met him he was in the process of an amicable divorce."

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