Things I love #10, People Watching

People Watching.
Things are a bit rushed this morning; I’m on my way to the city once again. Since it pays to be early to ensure a spot on the ferry, I have a bit of time to sit and wait, for such is the nature of life on an island. It gives me an opportunity to indulge in another thing I love, people watching.
I love people watching. I love the sheer variety of shapes, sizes, and colors that we humans come in. I will now describe a few I can see from here so you can share the experience with me.
There are several small groups of men standing around, smoking or with hands in pockets, shoulders slouched, drinking coffee from Styrofoam cups and complaining about life in general. Grey cloudy mornings can do that to you.
There stands an older man, quite bald, absentmindedly smoothing his comb-over down in the breeze. His younger companion has a small goatee and shaven head. Go figure. That has to be a generational thing.
Here comes an interesting fellow. He’s a big man, heavy, wearing loose clothing. His clothes are worn, but clean, his boots run down and old. He wears his graying hair cut short, mostly hidden beneath a cap with some sort of logo. His face has seen many years in the sun, deep lines surround his eyes and line his face.
It would be easy to dismiss this man as an old fat guy who was down on his luck. Let’s take a second look, for I have an idea his appearance is deceptive. Yes he has some fat on him, but that could just be a side effect of good living. His back is too straight, his shoulders too wide, his hands look like the could crush stone, and there is an easy grace to his stride.
I smile as he walks past the car. With a wink and a nod he returns the smile and now I can see where all those lines in his face came from. That is a face that has smiled a lot over the years.
He’s gone past now, but there comes an old truck, a working man’s truck, but that’s not who is driving. The door opens and a young woman steps out. She is well dressed, in heels, tall, slim, blonde, and beautiful. All eyes are on her as she alights. She smiles and calls a greeting to one of the men, who waves and smiles back.
All the men are standing taller now, their backs straighter, tummies pulled in, cigarettes cast aside, and their scowls gone. She stops to chat with different groups as she makes her way to the coffee shop, and again on her way back. She has a smile and a good word for everybody she meets on her way back.
By the time she reaches the truck everyone is smiling. Conversations have gone from complaints to idle chat about more pleasant subjects. I’m not sure if she is aware of the effect she had on everybody, but I do hope she is. I’d like to think this woman used her youth and beauty to brighten the day for everyone she encountered.
For that is exactly what she has done. Through her a goddess came and lifted the gloom from the hearts of all the people scattered about this parking lot. Because of her a number of people, men and women alike, are facing the day with a much brighter outlook.
Whoops, there comes the ferry boat. Thanks for people watching with me folks, it is one of my most favorite things to do.

14 thoughts on “Things I love #10, People Watching

  1. Prudence, Please write more like this one. I, too, am a watcher. I have years' worth of observations swimming inky and digital inside the files that crowd my mind. Loved the tummy line. Yep, I'd pull mine in for the lady. Force of habit. That and a matter of the Y chromosome.

  2. You definitely have a gift for taking a typical everyday event and turning it into a beautiful picture made of words. Marlaine used to read from an author just because she loved the way he wrote. She didn't really like the story very much, but the telling of the story was so skilled that the storyline became a minor part of the book. You've got the best of both worlds; great storylines and a very captivating writing style. I would love to see more of your people watching art!

  3. Hi J, thanks for the kind words. Maybe I'll start a series on people watching, maybe two posts a month. What do you think? Of course, I would have to get out of the house and, well, people watch, right?

  4. Hi, Prudence,
    Yes to a series on people watching. You're kind and look for the best in others. That's why I'm not surprised you coaxed a smile from the big man and am certain you had a positive effect on the ferry crowd before the blonde turned up.

  5. Hi Pat, actually, I was like a duck hunter crouching in his blind. I was hunkered down in my car, head lowered over my notebook, while peering over the rim of my glasses, watching my quarry in their natural habitat. 🙂

  6. Wow, I feel like I was there! I think people watching is something all of us writers like to do. My husband's favorite place to people-watch is the flea market. It's like, in person!

  7. Hi jennette, I believe you're right, writers, by the nature of what the do, are likely to be people watchers. The flea market idea is great, I'll have to try it next summer.
    Two of my favorite places are the mall and coffee shops. I know, I'm completely shameless. 🙂

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