When I was a kid, I was a good listener. In fact, I was rather famous for listening a little too well.
Children of the time were supposed to be seen and not heard. Adult conversations were for adults only. Children were to go outside and play, or sit quietly reading or colouring.
While I enjoyed the going out to play thing, I also liked to know what was going on around me. Yes, folks, I was a Nosy Parker.
I would curl up in the corner of the room with my book – usually an Enid Blyton Famous Five story- and read. This action rendered me invisible to the adults.
Most of the time the story was far more interesting than the chat in the lounge room. I would forget about listening and become lost in the adventures of George, Anne, Julian and Dick. But, there were occasions when I picked up some real gems.
For example, I knew that the old house next door was going to be knocked down and replaced by an apartment building before any of the other kids did. This gave me the opportunity to appear very wise, and possibly even psychic, when I told my friends that I had a feeling that there was going to be a big change in the neighbourhood soon.
Listening, or in my case eavesdropping, can also result in hearing things about oneself that one may not have wished to hear. I heard that I had a nice pair of legs and that my mother thought I got them from her side of the family – excellent– but I also heard that I had my father’s nose – not so excellent. I had a complex about my nose for years afterwards. Lucky, I had those great legs to compensate!