I love snippets of conversation — listening in to other people’s lives, quietly, secretly. Is there a website for that? An archive of unconnected phrases, exclamations, ums and uh-huhs. “No she didn’t!”

I walk the paths of our neighbourhood, where many a mysterious, snippet of a one-sided mobile phone conversation was overheard: two women, earnestly walking through the minutiae of their day, their problems unleashed, now halved. A man, loudly bleating “he called, on my birthday, said ‘I love you’ (he’s never said he loves me), then doesn’t say ‘happy birthday’, then…”

I love the way people express themselves so freely, as if I am not listening in, silently judging, seeing how they measure up, how their lives compare to mine. I feel so unafraid of my own anxious mind when I hear that everyone else is dealing with the familiar awful boss, unscrupulous threat to suburbia, or inexplicable family upheaval.