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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Tuesday, March 5

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Vana / September 26, 2006 7:29 PM

A man on the purple line a few months ago who called his bank about a problem with his debit card and clearly dictated his account number, etc. a couple of times (I suppose some people on the other side of the train didn't hear him the first time...)

jennifer / September 26, 2006 8:54 PM

In line at the Amtrak ticket line at Union Station, five months ago. I remember it like it was yesterday, mostly because MY cell phone has a handy little feature that lets me record these kinds of things. Tons of families and little kids around, a tall Chad standing directly behind me, talking loudly, verbatim, "So, I was dating this girl Rachel, dude, and I was kinda into her, but I like, totally didn't want to have sex with her. I mean, like, sometimes I did, but I totally didn't want to take it to that level with her. She was, like, cool and all, but I didn't really feel THAT for her. So one night she totally wanted to fuck me and I was all 'no, i don't think we should do that right now and ruin this good thing' and she was all 'i totally want to have sex' and i was like 'i'm out', dude. I totally zipped up and left her place. The thing is that I think it would have been totally awesome to fuck her because I know she was a total slut years ago, but I really cared about her and wouldn't want to demean her like that. I still have her number, I might call her after Jeff's bachelor party next weekend."

The looks on people's faces as her was loudly announcing this to the line were priceless.

I can't for the life of me figure out what makes people think it's okay to talk about stuff like this in public.

sigh. / September 26, 2006 9:13 PM

this was a heartwarming exchange I heard one side of while walking my dog.

"fuck you", "no. Fuck YOU. You can't keep me away from my kid. That's my fuckin kid. I'll see her whenever I fuckin want to. thats my motherfuckin, I ain't talkin to no motherfuckin lawyer.... I'll kick your brothers ASS he trys to keep me out the house. BITCH.

mew / September 26, 2006 9:19 PM

A girl was saying "We make a good couple because I like the soggy fries and he likes the crunchy ones." That's interesting logic ...

If you enjoy this thread you'd probably like In Passing.

Michelle / September 26, 2006 10:49 PM

A hipster chick in line at the Jewel in Wicker Park, getting all huffy and whiny:

"But I don't want to share you with five other girls!"

J / September 27, 2006 8:29 AM

Aw, you beat me to the "I'm on the train." call.

freepy shwirtel / September 27, 2006 8:48 AM

Man stomping around the West Village in NY, in a godfather type voice: "Listen, Don't be makin' any soup!'

Shasta MacNasty / September 27, 2006 9:15 AM

Standing in line at the business center at the Bellagio in Las Vegas during CES, when some big wig for Siris was behind me complaining about how Target was the worst client they ever had, and how much hand-holding they needed, how stupid they were, etc., etc.

It was pretty bad. I kinda giggled to myself because I was THISCLOSE to blogging all the gory details the next day, but decided against it. But yeah, I'd say the most damning conversations come from people that feel the need to take work-related conference calls, on their cell phones, in public places.

The mind. It boggles.

J / September 27, 2006 9:15 AM

A girl a few months was speaking VERY loudly about her upcoming honeymoon with some poor soul on the other end of the line. Conversation topic: her period and whether she was going to start using birth control, or maybe just condoms would do. I wanted to lean over and suggest the glow in the dark kind :)

mike / September 27, 2006 9:34 AM

I once heard a guy on the Brown Line loudly relate all the details of a bachelor party he'd attended over the weekend ... this went on all the way from Rockwell to Belmont. No hookers or anything, but they did go to a strip club. Oh, and he got "totally shitfaced" and was "still hungover."

jima / September 27, 2006 9:54 AM

Woman standing by elevators in my office building:

"Mister Roboto, PLEASE! ... Thank you!"

emyduck / September 27, 2006 10:21 AM

a guy on the bus telling his friend on the phone: "yeah, i won't be home, but the key is under the RED planter on the porch, and the address is (blah blah blah), yeah, the blue house with white shutters. so the key is under the RED planter, not the white ones. we just got all of these dvds, a playstation, and a new flatscreen, so you can make yourself comfortable until i get home around 8. yeah, there's also tons of food and beer and wine and shit, so help yourself. did you write down the address? it is (blah blah blah) and remember, the RED planter. ok. see ya."

i almost took out a pen and asked him "what's the address again? and do you have any empty pillowcases?"

ken / September 27, 2006 11:20 AM

drug dealer on metra milwaukee north line: "You wanted the mother fuckin shit mother fucker!"
"....I'm on the way bitch"
"You better fuckin be there with the fuckin dough"
"I fuckin told you, meet me at the Western Avenue station at 3-mother fuckin-30 I got a 1/4 pound of weed and 1/2 ounce of blow on me - dont fuckin be late"
The exchange lasted for another fifteen minutes with an even longer barrage of this individuals favorite verb/adverb/adjective/noun all within the presence of several families with children...the best part was watching the chicago cop and the metra cop, who were also quietly listening from downstairs at the other end of the traincar, both get of at Western with radios in hand in pursuit of this master of the english language. I bet he blamed his customer for setting him up.
Ya just never know who's listening.

btw - if you like this check the many 'Overheard' sites, some city specific others are stories from the office etc.

Dutch101 / September 27, 2006 11:22 AM

Immediately after a class in which the prof had used the projector, the AV girl walks in, on her cell phone, and has the following conversation in front of about 8 or 10 remaining students while going about her business:

AV Girl: "So I was just really wasted this weekend, and I don't know . . . "

"So I called and told him that sometimes I am just going to be drunk and do what I do . . ."

"I know that sometimes I am just a wastoid . . ."

Everyone was just looking at each other, as she finished up and walked away.

kate / September 27, 2006 11:47 AM

Unstable-looking young woman on Western bus about a year ago:

"HOW YOU GONNA CALL THE COPS ON ME WHEN I JUST GOT OUTTA CONTY?" (said while stomping foot to further emphasize point)

Lawrence / September 27, 2006 11:58 AM

True story: this dude was talking to this other dude and says, "Dude . . . your girlfriend's a whore: I fucked her last night."

And the second dude's standing there with this puppy-dog look on his face for a minute and finally he says, "That skank."

I don't know why but that shit still cracks me up.

Josh / September 27, 2006 12:14 PM

This certain type of call stirs my imagination wildly, and I've overheard it more than once.

A person answers their cell phone. They say hello. There's a pause, and then they say "Why are you crying? What happened!"

I've witnessed this a few times, and I always wonder what kind of horrors are occuring on the other line. It always makes me count my blessings.

Alice / September 27, 2006 12:25 PM

One of my favorites was a guy on the train I overheard placing an order for his dinner at a local Thai place during the evening rush. I thought that was genius. By the time he would get to his stop, his food would be ready to pick up.

Although I can also never forget a young woman on the Brown Line who obviously had an estranged relationship with her mother. The woman was on the phone, tearfully saying to her mother things like, "I'm sorry I called. I just--I just thought you would be happy for me." The rest of us on that half of the train car kept looking at her and at each other out of the corners of our eyes thinking "I cannot believe this woman is having this conversation on the train. She needs serious help."

Darren / September 27, 2006 1:03 PM

Once, while standing in line at the k-mart off addison and kimball i overheard a middle aged hispanic woman say this:

"I know it's a yeast infection. It itches really bad and there is stuff coming out... I know... I know... Ok, i'll go back."

Then she left the line and walked off back into the store.

YourMom / September 27, 2006 1:07 PM

Brown Line

"No, John Barleycorns is a great bar! I get a lot of shit for saying that, but I have a good time. We went to the one in Wrigleyville last weekend and totally had fun downstairs then danced upstairs!"

I almost got up and moved to another train car.

Cheryl / September 27, 2006 1:26 PM

Last summer on a southbound LSD express bus:

Woman in seat in front of me:

Oh no. I guess you don't know. She's the love child of Lucille Ball and [damn announcer guy comes reminds us to not lean against the doors].

Woman again:

That baby's not related to them at all. I guess I should start at the beginning...

[ bus turns onto LSD, drowning out the rest of the conversation.]

s / September 27, 2006 1:38 PM

A couple years ago I was at O'hare waiting for a flight to NY... I was sitting at some sort of sports bar, watching the FOX news channel, and they were covering the situation of people shining laser pointers up at airplanes... (remember, how they were trying to gloss it as terrorism, but it was just some hick dad in Ohio who didn't know any better?)

Well, so FOX keeps showing this stock footage of these industrial strength military nuclear lazers the size of tanks... and the woman next to me is practically hysterical on the phone to someone...

"The terrorists have lazers now?! Now I've got this to deal with?!"

"No. No. I saw the lazers... they are HUGE!"

Gosh, that was fun.

fluffy / September 27, 2006 1:38 PM

On the blue line southbound to Cermak/54, an African American guy, drunk off his butt, wearing a dress and a wig, crying on his cell phone and telling someone that he was sad because 'no one would dance with me'.

Tyler / September 27, 2006 1:59 PM

I sat in front of a twentysomething woman on the 151 once who was having phone sex.

It was a rather boring conversation. I hope it was better for her than it was for me.

Ramsin / September 27, 2006 2:18 PM

I don't know if it's my favorite, but today walking on Wacker I heard a guy say,

"I don't know. It's called 'The Chicagoist.'"

matt / September 27, 2006 2:21 PM

"Oh, shit... we're going into the tunnel... ok, bye."

Ahh... silence.

Unfortunately, the powers at be are trying to make this one oboslete...


amy / September 27, 2006 2:43 PM

my recent favorite:

Big frat boy looking dude in a Cubs windshirt on the brown line:

'Are you going to go to church with them? I don't know - I know I want to see them, they're my family, but they just sit around all the time. Do you think I can bring Polenta on my flight? (he then explains what polenta is). I don't know if they're going to let me bring it. Maybe I can just put it in my shorts.'

Of course, the polenta in the shorts routine...

eep / September 27, 2006 5:18 PM

Once on the blue line I heard a guy explaining to his friend how to cover up the a murder. He went on and on about laying down an alibi beforehand, disposing of the weapon and/or bloodied clothes, how to not leave evidence at the scene, how to make it look like a gang killing, etc. The guy on the other end of the line must have questioned him, because he responded with something like, "How many time have I been to prison? ONCE. I tell you, my plan WORKS."

Everyone else in the traincar looked absolutely terrified. It was really freaky.

ESY / September 27, 2006 5:40 PM

Osama.... Obama... Barack... yeah Barack Obama ...

Taylor / September 27, 2006 5:47 PM

I was walking with a friend of mine to Galway Bay (a pretty decent pub under Yakzie's, which is surprisingly for the area). Anyway, some trixie was on her phone while walking by to our left and all we got was "she's not a prostitute, she's an escort."

Haha. By far the funniest snippet I've heard. :)

Ramsin / September 27, 2006 6:38 PM

Man, I wish some "frat-boy looking dudes" or "trixie-looking girls" would come on here and make fun of you all and your cell phone snippets. You know, stuff like,

"Well, I don't actually know the band, but I dated the drummer's sister like three years ago."

Or, "I'm so sick of these frat-looking dudes walking around my neighborhood I moved to from Omaha 18 months ago."

Stuff like that.

J / September 27, 2006 6:48 PM

Ramsin, I agree. What difference does it make if the speaker is a "frat-boy" or "trixie?" Does that somehow make what they are saying more or less an idiotic or amusing commentary on modern life and the cellphone's place in said life? Sheesh, people. Why you gotta be haters?

No, I'm not a trixie (not that it matters).

Elena / September 27, 2006 6:58 PM

Friday night ,ar0nd 11:30 cute Puerto-Rican boy carying a six-pack:
Baby , will I see you tonight?
What other bitch?

Taylor / September 27, 2006 6:58 PM

Because people assign descriptions to things when speaking or writing about them. I wouldn't really consider it "hating." Everyone knows what a trixie or frat-looking dude look like and describing someone as such merely conveys imagery.

A better question is why does it matter? Oh, that's right, it doesn't.

Brandy / September 27, 2006 11:22 PM

The godforsaken Devon post office: Long line, slooooow USPS workers. A woman behind me clearly having a conversation with her friend about how to relieve the friend's constipation. All without using the word constipation. I was so, so, so tempted after like ten full minutes to shout, "Hey lady! Your friend is telling everyone in the post office about YOUR CONSTIPATION."

I refrained. I hate cell phones. I wish we could block signals in all train cars and buses so I wouldn't have to hear these insipid conversation.

Thank heavens for noise cancelling headphones.

JM / September 28, 2006 8:24 AM

A couple of years ago, my teen aged son and I were in the mens sock aisle at a store , while a guy who had recently been dumped by a girl was talking on his cell to her. She was already with a new guy.
Believe me , we heard a lot, ...but we left the area when he started yelling "You're sleeping with him??? I hope your using a condom!!!"

Why oh why, don't people take their private conversations to a private location?

jms / September 28, 2006 8:45 AM

Man in suit walking past me in O'Hare Airport: "When is the last time you called someone a douchebag?"

ahn / September 28, 2006 10:21 AM

this morning, on a super-delayed el:

"hey, there's something wrong with the train today. yeah, something wrong with the tracks. not as good as the guy who was killed on your train yesterday, but i'll still be in late."

J / September 28, 2006 11:57 AM

Actually, Taylor, it conveys rampant insecurity with oneself and a desperate need to self define, but as you say, that is neither here nor there.

amy / September 28, 2006 1:00 PM

I liked the fact that frat boy dude wanted to bring polenta on the plane. It made me question my assumptions about him.

BTW - I'm from the south side - not Omaha, and I've lived city proper for 11 years.

Frat boy dudes and trixie girls have gone out of their way to tell me how 'interesting' I am my entire life. Trust me - they have enough forums to discuss my habits, wardrobe and speaking style.

emgee / September 28, 2006 1:09 PM

Can one be a chadster? I ask because I own a pair of Vans but also a pair of Rockports for work. I have an old skateboard and a three-speed bike but I also have $60K in my 401-k and a condo (no granite countertops though). Please define me! Am I cool or a yuppie dork? It is of great concern to me! ;)

bartleby / September 28, 2006 1:20 PM

The question answers itself. Why are we hearing phone conversations in public anyway? Wasn't there a time when they were private?

dumb questions....dumb responses / September 28, 2006 1:22 PM


Since you ask, you're the type that would ask complete strangers on the internet to define him! AND feel the need to have to tell these strangers how much you have in your 401-K and that you have a condo. Yeah, I see your winky face at the end, but you still wrote all that.

hmmmm...I think you're half yurkie (that's a combo of yuppie and dork)/half insecure, and no one cares.

hey, you asked ;-)

Nismar / September 28, 2006 1:26 PM

and Ramsin, why do you "want some "frat-boy looking dudes" or "trixie-looking girls" would come on here and make fun of you all and your cell phone snippets"?

did someone hurt your feelings here? loosen up, bub.

Slatz / September 28, 2006 1:39 PM

Why the stereotypical descriptors? Overheard NY set the paradigm of doing so.

My favorite snippet? Probably "In the snow? Don't you feel like a slut?"

Though the best are the transparent lies. Like when someone's trying to explain that, even though it sounds like a bar in the background, it's really just the wake for their dead uncle.

emgee / September 28, 2006 2:34 PM


Thanks! You hit the nail on the head and described me exactly. An uncanny ability you have there.

mrs. e. / September 29, 2006 11:10 AM

overheard wednesday night on the red line:

"it's not a sore, it's an infection!"

*kara / October 1, 2006 3:26 PM

While riding to work (on the red line): "Are you going to go back to the gynocologist then? i said, 'ARE YOU GOING BACK TO THE GYNOCOLOGIST?'"

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