People Watching 101: Wedding Rings, Shoes, and Accessories

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

People Watching in Nashville Traffic

Practice makes perfect.

Picture of the actual event. See the trumpet?

I am absolutely a “people watcher”, always ready to spot slightly strange behavior from the strangers around me.  Pay dirt.  Yesterday as I was driving home from work, I couldn’t help but notice (whether I was “people watching” or not) that during the red light, the man in the car in front of me pulled out a trumpet and played it until the light turned green again. 

This happened for the remaining five or six traffic lights we shared until I turned the other way to get to my house.  Each time the light turned right, he immediately pulled out his horn.  It didn’t take long for others to notice what he was doing.  Laughing to themselves as they witnessed the random happening.

Was he just trying to squeeze in some extra practice time for an upcoming gig?  Or a recital?  The man was at least 30 years old. 

Or maybe he just really has a passion for music?  After all, this is Music City.

For another humorous  social observation in Nashville, read Operation: Mustache (A Social Experiment).