Alas, I did not grow up to be the journalist that my young "Newsies"-worshiping self once aspired to be, so this "skill" lies professionally dormant. It does, however, come in handy for overhearing interesting things in coffee shops.
Today, for example, I sort of wanted to throttle the three women sitting near me while I worked at Starbucks. They were very, very loud. Not on purpose necessarily, but they just were, you know? Those people whose voices that carry – Jersey voices, as I've come to think of them. You didn't have to be an expert eavesdropper to hear every word of their conversation, which was replete with, among other things, lots of raunchy references to getting it on with basically every man they've ever met. Pro tip, ladies: If you're gonna talk sex in public, bring it down a notch.
I digress. One of the women was particularly obnoxious, very tiny & pretty & louder than the other two, occasionally bursting into overdramatic song along the Starbucks soundtrack. In every other sentence she mentioned "the show," which lead me to believe she was a performer of some sort. Then, after admiring a particularly cute child, I heard her say, "You should see the adorable kids that come to the show, all dressed up for Mary Poppins on Broadway."
And just like that – activate celebrity sensors.
A hint! A clue! My Google skills went into overdrive! A member of the cast, surely. Right? Shortly afterward, I heard her say something about how her last name should be difficult to determine on Facebook & how she went on a date with a guy who, much to her dismay, discovered her real name & her work website. Despite her dating woes, my ears perked up, because... website? Obviously she was an (aspriring?) actress. So I Googled the cast, including understudies & ensemble... but I found no familiar faces. I conferred with my best Broadway experts, friends who obsess over the Great White Way. And then, between their sex chats, I heard one of the other girls refer to "Kelly's Dating Rules," so I Googled all things related to "Mary Poppins Broadway Kelly/Kelley/Kelli/Kellie." And when I couldn't find anything that seemed to match, I looked up the Playbook. And when I still couldn't find anything that seemed to match, I kept looking. Because I'm the kind of person who will spend three hours Googling something just so that I can return to you with breaking news. Which is, yeah, a little Asperger'sy, if you want to get clinical about it.
This went on for hours, until I, the dejected former journalist, finally ran out of things to Google. It was only then that I heard it, my final clue: "At the show, we used to have to bring our own black, button-up shirts, & then they started providing us with them. Everyone at all of the theaters has to wear them now..."
It took three hours for me to determine that I was sitting next to a theater usher.
Damn you, NYC suburbs.