News & Politics

The Blogger Beat: Eavesdrop DC

Psst, did you hear? This week’s bloggers—a duo of eavesdropping pros—share their favorite overheard moments in Washington.

Eavesdrop DC bloggers Dwain and Erin. Photograph by Chris Leaman

Remember that one time you said something stupid? Out loud? On the Metro? At rush hour?

You’re not alone—and this week’s bloggers can prove it. Erin and Dwain of Eavesdrop DC have been documenting people’s most boneheaded moments for more than four years. With the help of readers who keep their eyes and ears on high alert for your most embarrassing gaffes, the pair have built an entire blog dedicated to eavesdropping on the Metro, at monuments and museums, parks, street corners—practically everywhere.

So exactly who’s in on the joke? Says Erin: “DC office workers and college students putting off working or studying are our biggest fans.” In other words, expert procrastinators.

We couldn’t resist an interview with some of Washington’s best eavesdroppers. Read on for their funniest moments on the Metro, their pet name for tourists, and their pick for best college students for blog fodder.

Funniest one-liner you’ve ever overheard:
Dwain: “It’s a hard-knock life, for me. Just tryin’ to get a cold, forty!”
Erin: “ ‘If you find anything suspicious—or money—tell me about it.’ And for the record, after doing this for five years, it’s kind of hard to separate out the ones we overheard ourselves and which ones were sent in. Wow!”

Funniest submission you’ve ever received:
Dwain: “I spent a lot of time finding a good one that was also appropriate. These are two that I really love. My friends and I have taken to calling ‘reverse’ ‘Batman’ since we got the second submission.”
Guy 1: Would a gun be like a bazooka to a leprechaun? They’re so small!
Guy 2: Yeah, but I think they are pretty dense. A lot of stuff packed into a very small space. Like that girl over there.

Guy 1: So my friend almost ran over a big family the other day but at the last moment a little boy popped up beside the car and I said, ‘Dude you gotta make sure you get them all, or else that little boy is going to grow up and become Batman and come after you’
Guy 2: That’s why they invented reverse, so that Batman won’t get you.
Guy 1: They should just call it Batman. I’m just going to put the car in Batman and back into this spot.
Guy 2: Seems perfectly logical to me.
—Foggy Bottom

Erin: “I don’t know if these are technically the funniest, but these are two of the submissions that have stuck with me the longest.”
Tourist man: Hurry up! It’s open season on Pennsylvanians!
-Father, to many children of his large family crossing a five-lane street near the Mall with a “walk count” of only four seconds.

Twentysomething girl 1: You’re right, they really should bleach the white part of the panda bears. They’re really dirty.
Twentysomething girl 2: They definitely should—for the tourists.
-The National Zoo

Best place to eavesdrop:
Dwain: “Either the Metro or with proximity to any monument or famous local building.”
Erin: “The Metro. Preferably during tourist season or late at night. The Metro rail conductors also seem to have good senses of humor, so I love it when people send in the more off-the-cuff announcements.”

Three things a good eavesdropper must have at all times:
Both: (1) Good ears, but not necessarily big ears. Those can be conspicuous; (2) An iPod. Headphones are a good disguise so people don’t realize you’re listening; (3) A cell phone. You might forget what you heard if you don’t text it to someone right away. Also useful: a good memory.

Most ridiculous thing you’ve ever overheard from a tourist:
Dwain: “ ‘Oh hey, isn’t that the building from National Treasure?’ ”
Erin: “Hilariously enough, I’m planning a trip to London, and I actually did just say ‘Isn’t that the building from The Mummy?’ about the British Museum. I can’t believe I just admitted that. My Name is Erin. And I love The Mummy. Back to your question: I didn’t actually hear this myself, but here’s one of my favorite tourist eavesdrops. It’s from years ago, but I still think about it almost every time I see the Lincoln Memorial. Or Rocky for that matter.

“Two male tourists are walking up the Lincoln Memorial steps. One starts running up the stairs singing the Rocky theme song. He finally gets to the top and starts spinning around, waving his arms up in the air and singing. His friend finally arrives and shakes his head at him: ‘Dude, wrong steps. Wrong city.’ ”

Most embarrassing thing you’ve ever said out loud:
Dwain: “I once told Erin that she betrayed me like Peter betrayed Jesus before the cock crowed three times.”
Erin: “Well, besides my brilliant Mummy revelation, I think a couple of my embarrassing comments are probably early eavesdrops on the site (what can I say, we needed content early on!). Oh yes, I once thought Scott Baio played Wedge Antilles in Star Wars. I still haven’t heard the end of that one.”

Pick one: dumb chicks or dumb dudes.
Dwain: “Probably a toss up. There are a lot of dumb people of both genders.”
Erin: “We have a lot more people send in submissions for the dumb chicks category. I’d like to see a bit more balance there!”

Silly bureaucrats or stupid businesspeople?
Dwain: “Ditto above.”
Erin: “I think Dwain’s just trying not to offend people—so unlike him! I’ll go with silly bureaucrats.”

Dupont or t
he Hill?

Dwain: “We work closer to Dupont so that neighborhood is probably overrepresented on the site.”
Erin: “Yes, probably Dupont. We’ve got some regular readers who submit eavesdrops from different government agencies (you’ll notice we have quite a few from one of the intelligence agencies), but I do wish we had more regular eavesdroppers up on the Hill.”

Tourists or townies?
Dwain: “Tourists, or as we like to call them Tourons. They trump all categories. One of my favorites is when a tourist described the Lincoln Memorial as ‘This is where Lincoln got shot.’ ”
Erin: “Tourons, definitely. Not a day goes by that we don’t have someone submitting a quote in which a tourist incorrectly identifies a random government building as the White House.”

Interns or college freshmen?
Dwain: “Interns can be pretty good because they are often both college kids and tourists when they first get here.”
Erin: “College students. They actually seem to provide more fodder for eavesdrops, perhaps just because they’re around for more of the year.”

University with the best eavesdrop-worthy students:
Dwain: “George Washington University, by far.”
Erin: “I think it’s GW simply because we get the most submissions from GW. You hear that, American, Catholic, Georgetown, and Howard? Step up your game and start eavesdroppping on your campuses.”

Best pickup line you’ve ever overheard:
Dwain: “ ‘Nice shoes. Wanna bang?’ ”
Erin: “I went to Notre Dame. We always joke that I don’t know any pickup lines.”

Best place for some peace and quiet:
Dwain: “I’m a fan of the Einstein statue on Constitution. I used to study for tests down there thinking it would make me smarter.”
Erin: “Um, the suburbs? Actually, I love the National Portrait Gallery in non-peak hours.”

Favorite local blog besides your own:
Dwain: “Probably Wonkette.”
Erin: “Wonkette is a DC staple. I also love reading”

Next week, we talk fashion with In Bug’s Drawers blogger "Bug". Check back for her favorite spring fashion trend, where she finds adorable vintage clothes, and much more.

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