Ok... I am actually a day late with this, but that's good since I thought of a really great favorite thing last night. Its actually something that many people find to be a nasty habit, and I may be judged for this, but.....
Eavesdropping. Its true. I'm an eavesdropper, and I am shamelessly admitting it.
I try not to be really obvious about the fact that I am eavesdropping. So sitting on the edge of my chair and leaning over at a 90 degree angle toward the speaker, while craning my neck in the opposite direction so as to appear as if I am engrossed in something near the sky in the opposite direction is not my style. I am sadly, not quite yogic enough for that position anyway. Being obvious in your eavesdropping is not conducive to good eavesdropping. People will naturally clam up if they believe they are being overheard. Then you miss the ending to a really good story, or lose the punchline.
In my defense, I don't tune in only when there is juicy gossip to be overheard. In fact, if people are discussing other people that I know, I awkwardly try to close my ears to any negative or harsh words that might cruelly be bandied about. I also don't eavesdrop with the intent of later on being malicious with my ill-gotten information.
Of course, I have heard my share of: so-and-so was way too drunk, he and she broke up, and bitter lover's quarrels. Though this information can be mildly entertaining in a soap opera type manner, it is not the type of stuff that I would be likely to hang on every word.
The truth is, eavesdropping can be highly enlightening and informative. For instance, last night I was overhearing, um ok, eavesdropping, on a group of women who meet regularly for a "stitch-n-bitch" and they were discussing a number of "world's biggest" monuments around New Brunswick. It lightened my soul considerably, as if you read back to my very first favorite things installment, you will know that I have a huge fondness for oversized monuments. If I hadn't eavesdropped, I would not have had a kernel of summer roadtrip dreams planted in my brain.
Over the years, I have in fact hoarded tons of useful information that I have overheard: restaurant, book, movie and product reviews; unadvertised sales and discounts; favorite shops and hotspots; recipe and decorating tips; helpful tourist information, etc.
So you see, if used correctly and kindly, eavesdropping is not such a nasty habit after all. And, if you are honest with yourself, I bet you have opened your own ears a little wider on occasion as well.