Probably one of my most favorite activities to do - when I have time enough to do it - is people watch.
Especially if you are in an environment that, by it's very nature, requires people to just - sit. And be. There's not much of that anymore, and even less of it in my life.
I went out to do some Christmas shopping. (I did buy a bunch of stuff. I also bought new shoes for me, because apparently I wore the soles slam off the bottom of my ten year old Dansko clogs. I wore those things everywhere. And you could tell, because the soles just - fell apart. I've never seen anything like it.)
I elected to ride the Light Rail down to the mall, mostly because it was Black Friday and I was really concerned about parking. It was, for me, not such a great idea. Not because I don't believe in riding public transport, but because I forgot that when I shop a lot, I like to go back to the truck and drop packages off - and I was stupid and bought the heaviest bag of merchandise first. Yeah, not thinking with a full deck, right then...)
As I schlepped from store to store, my arms grew more tired with each stop, and I finally conceded defeat. I couldn't get it all done. I just couldn't - there was no way. I never ever thought I'd miss those stroller days - but I really did, because you may be fighting with a screaming, recalcitrant baby who just does NOT want to be strapped into that torture chamber of a stroller - but you really could make use of that stroller as a package carrying device, couldn't you? That right there was my favorite part of babyhood.
When I was sitting on the Light Rail, I had my earphones in, listening to my current musical obsession, Symphony No. 9 by Philip Glass. That is some really deep music right there, and I listen to it every single chance I get.
But. People are so cool to watch when you've got music in, sunglasses on and you are facing them (seats go both ways, and it just happened that most of the people were facing the backwards riding way - I canNOT do that.) They don't have any idea that they are players in the movie of my life, side glimpses into scenarios and one act plays, and how they intersect with those around them is just
Some people you can tell like to be observed. They are what can be referred to as "Endurance Characters" - meaning it takes a lot of endurance to deal with them. They are your performers. Your high maintenance players, the stars of the show. They are fun and witty, energetic and there is always a lot of action and energy around them. They are considered the life of the party, and lots of times, people like to watch them because they are just so darned interesting. Those Endurance people are the batteries, the energy sources that other people sometimes drain off off - but instead of depleting the Endurance Folks, it energizes them. Those Endurance People, man, they get stuff done.
They can also be exhausting. I'm one of those people. I often feel as if I should apologize to the quiet people, because I occasionally catch a glimpse of myself through their eyes and wonder why they are still hanging around.
What I was interested in today were the quiet ones. The elderly woman, with a scarf tied securely under her chin against the chill in the air, who sat quietly and worried her hands, her eyes darting about as if she was looking for an exit. The man who stood dancing to music only he could hear, who watched as the ticket agent boarded the train, and jumped out at the very last second as the doors were closing - undoubtedly he didn't have a ticket. The very young, obviously pregnant couple who sat as close as possible to each other, becoming almost one body as the man whispered intently into her upturned face. I've not ever seen someone speak so quietly, so intently, and with so much intention.
I make up stories in my head about people I see in my daily travels. I wonder how close to reality I am.
Even more than make believe, though, I love to learn people's real stories. What makes them tick. I love to ask questions - who most impresses you? What is your most formative moment? Do you like to ice skate? Who do you admire the most in your life? What trials have you faced, and how have they molded you, and in what ways? Chocolate or vanilla? Where is the furthest away you've ever traveled, and where would you go if you could just - leave? The man who holds the door every day at the office building - what are the deep, dark thoughts that make him afraid to close his eyes at night?
Do you wonder about the people who intersect with your life?