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Ostomy Memories of People Watching


PEOPLE WATCHING IS A FASCINATING SPORT for which one need never purchase a ticket nor attend a crowded stadium.  There are interesting-looking people everywhere, but I would contend that choosing one’s lookout point with care will result in more intriguing results.  For instance, since I live in a college town, I can go wander around campus whenever I wish.  They would probably take me for an aging professor.  But the young people I would see would hold no interest for me.  Some might be attractive but only insofar as all young people are good-looking in the way of youth.  On the other hand, going up and down the aisles of a local grocery store the other day, I saw a fair number of people it would have been easy to stare at.  One old guy, not quite my age, had a gorgeous head of white hair for which I would have unhesitatingly killed.  A middle-aged woman was so put together that I could almost picture her earlier, back and forth before her bedroom mirror, carefully choosing her clothing for her coming trip to market.  “Beautiful young people,” said Eleanor Roosevelt, “are accidents of nature, but beautiful old people are works of art.”  Perhaps this is because, over the long haul of life, we reach a point where a little creativity is necessary to make us as presentable as possible.  Or, maybe, it is the difference between natural and designed, carefree and careful, vanilla and rocky road.

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Hello HenryM.

People watching is indeed a fascinating hobby, which can be indulged in free of charge and whenever one has the inclination. 
I have indulged in this activity all my life and have received great satisfaction from it. You are right about choosing one’s lookout point with care may result in more intriguing results. However, I have chosen all manner of opportunities in different places and found that each and every individual is fascinating in their own way/story. 
Whenever possible, I like to strike up a conversation, to get a clearer and more detailed picture of individuals, especially those who strike me as ‘interesting’, yet might strike other’s as a threat, a nuisance or simply ‘dull’.
I recall once, walking down a street in NY city (but it could have been anywhere), behind a lady who everyone else was giving a wide birth because she was behaving strangely (for them), and talking to herself in a somewhat aggressive manner. As I came alongside her I adjusted my pace so that I matched her stride, without imposing upon her physical space. 
As we progressed along the route she chose, I indicated a non-verbal friendliness and non- intrusive acceptance of whatever verbal abuse she directed at me. After a while this diminished and I asked her if she would like to join me for a cup of tea and snack; She accepted my offer and we entered the next coffee bar. The next hour or so (difficult to keep track of time when you are enjoying yourself) was spent listening to her stories and allowing her to explain how she came to be living on the streets. Apparently, her verbal aggression and abuse towards others turned out to be a defence mechanism to keep people at a distance, because the streets of NYcould be a dangerous place to dwell if you were not physically powerful. Once she felt comfortable and safe in my presence, all that bluster disappeared.
This was a lady who had worked hard earlier in life and was undoubtedly what most might describe as ‘intelligent’. Or, at least, she had held down some prestigious teaching roles.
What she described as ‘luck’ had not been kind to her, both in health and in social circumstances and, when the financial side of life in the USA had finally caught up with her, she found herself homeless and broke. She had some insightful things to tell me about her view of the monetarist ‘system’ and society, which reflected her own, first-hand experiences.
I felt privileged to have had the opportunity to talk with, and listen to her, and I would not wish to have swapped this experience forr any of the alternative touristy-type things on offer within that same locality. It struck me at the time that all the fancy buildings, the commerce, and the demonstrable wealth in the big city had very little to offer compared with the fascinating human beings that society had seemingly discarded without a second thought.
Thanks for the reminder of one of those people-watching times from the now distant past.

Best wishes



Hi Henry in our younger days we would go to a mall so my wife could do some shopping and me and our daughter would find a bench to sit and watch people and we would take turns making up stories about the people coming and going.


I try to not people watch. If I do, I tend to get a headache from shaking my head so much. Plus, I find myself saying dumbass a lot. 


AlexT wrote:

I try to not people watch. If I do, I tend to get a headache from shaking my head so much. Plus, I find myself saying dumbass a lot. 

Is this your face?!


eefyjig wrote:

Is this your face?!

Yep, pretty much. 


I do love people watching! Humans are fascinating creatures. 😄 

"...we reach a point where a little creativity is necessary to make us as presentable as possible." LOL so true Henry! 


One of the best places for this activity is an international airport, especially if your connecting flight is some hours away and you are in economy class. The others are in the airline lounge enjoying the free drinks and snacks. You will observe the seasoned traveler's not boarding when the flight is announced and there is a long line but waiting till the very end to board. Emirates is a popular airline not for nothing. I once flew to London with them in business class. On the return there were no business class seats available, so I flew economy, no big deal, even though my ticket was premium class. When I reached the airport counter, the young lady apologized and told me that I can go to the first-class lounge even with an economy ticket and the chief steward has been told to look after me. So off I went happily and was admitted to the lounge and the chief steward welcomed me on board later and said he had been told about me. What excellent service! Hopefully, they didn't mistake me for somebody else, but I don't think so, they would have done it for anyone.


 Hi Henry,  People watching has always been one of my favourite sports!  Before we moved to the 'burbs, we lived in a neighbourhood in Vancouver that was known as Little Italy, for obvious reasons.  Around the late seventies, that started to change as many Italian families started moving to the 'burbs too, and taking their place was an interesting mix of newcomers.  There was a mix of ethnic groups, many who were new to Canada. There were also young hipsters, musicians and other artists, and it became home to some of the city's female gay population.  There were still remnants of the neighbourhood's old self, many of the best Italian delis, restaurants, and Italian coffee shops were still there and some of the old families still lived in the area, but the streets had taken on a new vibe.  The main drag was the best place for people watching, and never boring.  We walked it every day, and there was a constantly changing cast of characters.  There were the regulars too, some we had given nicknames, like 'spoon man' who played the spoons (a lost art) constantly as he walked the streets, or 'pigeon boy', who cooed like a pigeon as he flashed the 'peace' sign at you.  It was a people watching paradise. It's one of the few things I miss about living in the big city.



AlexT wrote:

I try to not people watch. If I do, I tend to get a headache from shaking my head so much. Plus, I find myself saying dumbass a lot. 


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