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Saturday, April 16, 2011

An innocent past time...

  I have a hobby, well, almost an obsession, and that is 'people watching'. There is nothing more interesting than to sit in an area which has a diverse grouping of peoples walking, riding and driving by. There is so much to learn about your town, and the fastest way to really know the town, is to know the people. I have no real desire to meet all these people, not in a town of over 65,000, but to watch them, and how they act and interact, shows me how this town actually feels on a 'human' level.
  Many things I see doesn't mean much to them, they are acting 'normal' in the public's eye. Yet I sit here and am secretly the public eye. I observe many and they almost always never 'see' me. The guy who caught his coat in the car door as he shut it. The couple chatting as they hop over the puddle in the parking lot. The kids talking about how unfair one of their classmates is as they lock up their bikes. All pass me by without a second look. I become an invisible force of observation, melting into the background that all who pass by take for granted.
  Once in a while, an old man engages me in conversation, he's not here today. I look forward to seeing him now. Funny, we have never exchanged names, nor shook hands. He too, is a 'people watcher'. A native to the area, an encyclopedia of it's people. We have spent time discussing the changes of the town, it's people,it's stores and it's government. He knows that I am not from here, but he knows I want to belong here.
  Today, so far, the most interesting of things I have seen, is the 2010 Caddy, driven by a mid 20's Hispanic girl, with a German breed puppy in her lap, which was speaking French into her Japanese cell phone, and ordering a English Toffee latte.  And that was normal here, I am guessing so, no one else seemed to notice it. I counted 30 cars passing by in the lot, 22 of the drivers on the cell phone. 16 people walking by, all but 2 on a cell phone. are we really that connected? Do we need to be that connected? I have mine with me, true, but I am not on it that much. (well, now it rings) 30 seconds later I hang it up, just a short chat with my daughter and I am back, invisible, watching.
  People come, people leave, some with pets, most without them for I am in a shopping center. 4 stores here, groceries, auto parts, books and movies, and a gas station in my range. Most shopping for entertainment, or food. This town has a lot of book stores and movie retailers and rental business, we must be doing okay to be supporting so many. The town is alive in the early spring weather, although rain falls every once in a while from the clouds overhead. This is Saturday, everyone is out it seems, and I sit in only one corner of town.
  Time fly's as I sit watching the world, hours pass as the day slips by. Again I see things that make me question why mankind is so adept to go into war, and then I see things that enforce the human nature to war. I am rarely bored watching, and even rarely surprised by the things I see. Tomorrow I will be busy interacting with the world, and will miss this time. But then, the next day comes and I will watch again. there is so much to learn...

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