In most of the places I’ve lived and worked I’ve kept a tally of what I call “actual quotes,” the funny things people say that would otherwise be forgotten had they not been written down. It started during a fellowship at the Poynter Institute in Florida, where the other sleep-deprived writing interns and I started a quote board.
The original quote board shown here in all its glory (2005)
After Poynter, I started carrying a little notebook to collect more. Here is a working list of some of the quotes I’ve gathered:
“I think I’ve unfollowed too many people on Facebook, all that’s left are friends from high school and obnoxious people now living in London who post things like “I’m going to a soccer bout” or “off to use the loo!”
“In Latin my name means ‘by the sea,’ which is ironic because I hate the sea…” little girl talking to her dad in Target aisle.
“That, my friend, is the smell of success.” cousin replying to car passenger who inquired about burnt smell coming from vehicle after they barely made it up a snow hill.
“I never knew relaxing could be so intense.”
“Momma’s gotta find the mayonnaise.” mother overheard talking to her children at Walmart in Carlsbad, CA.
“You’re a lying sack of poop.” mother overheard talking to her children at Walmart in Eugene, OR.
“The only tablet I believe in is the iPad.” cousin replying to Mormon trying to convert her.
“Jason, are you home? Open up the fridge and see if there are jalapenos there. Do you know what those are?” guy perusing cheese aisle at Winco in Boise, Idaho
“I gotta go, I’m about to step up on the roof of the Krispy Kreme to interview some cops.” my then-boyfriend-now-husband Charlie while on assignment in Nampa, Idaho
“It doesn’t hurt to hate, but love, love burns.” homeless woman, downtown Boise.
“If you say you’re a ‘citizen of the world’ I’m hanging up.” my good friend John during a phone conversation in which I was waxing poetic after living in Guatemala for six months
“A nail that stands up gets hammered down.” a co-worker after I asked him if he thought I would get in trouble because my story was a little long.