It’s not something a person really learns to do- it’s more of an instinct. Whether it’s the majority or minority of people in this world who are “people watchers”, all I know is that I am one of them. And I’m proud to be.
Why? Because like a housecat, I find creative ways to entertain myself with the most ordinary things in life. I can’t stand to be bored. So when I’m in a situation where there’s nothing to do, I think. And if I’m in a room full of strangers, I “people watch”.
That means as I pretend not to directly look at them, I try to figure out their story. Because I’ve got clues and hints to go on:
1) Wedding ring. Is this guy sitting 8 feet across me a married man? Does he go home everyday to a wife, just like I do? If not, why not? Is he too young, not ready? Wants to be but just hasn’t met the right girl yet? If he is old enough to be a grandfather but doesn’t wear a wedding ring, is he widowed? That’s sad.
2) Shoes. Leather loafers with tassels means the guy is a banker or investor. Polished black leather shoes means he’s a lawyer. Cowboy boots means he’s a songwriter. Chuck Taylors means he’s artistic in some way.
3) Accessories. Book? What is it? Cell phone? What is he doing with it? Is he talking on it? Am I having to listen to his conversation? Is his phone attached to his belt? Is it on the table? Is he writing in a journal? Listening to an i-pod? What music he listening to? Journey? Chicago? Is that a Rubik’s Cube I see there?
I could go through the entire endless list: hairstyle, voice, attitude, clothing, accent, etc. But really those first three paint enough of the picture to imagine a good story to entertain myself for a few minutes. Then it’s time to move on to the next character.
And of course, I carry around my camera with me. Because I never when I have stumbled into my next website post: People Watching in Nashville Traffic