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Feature: People Watching
Posted by psychopixi on Tuesday, October 29, 2002 - 07:48 AM PST

Experiences
I'm on half term from school at the moment, and I've spent most of my time in town, people watching. It's fascinating to just sit there and watch as people live their lives. Sitting in the colossuem, I get a brilliant view of all the people passing by. An old man hobbles past, way down below. His grey hair, worn in a comb over, is being swept off his head by the wind. Peering through his glasses and looking nervously at the teens around him, his distrust is evident. He keeps his arms in close to his sides, edging slowly past a group of boys on bikes. They pay no attention to him, he's nothing more than another dull grey jacket and pair of tweed trousers to them. He is insignificant in their self-centred world.

The leader of the group, a youth of about 16 or 17, decides it's time to move on and the group obediently follows him. His padded jacket, with its neon green sports stripes, is supposed to make him seem butch and dangerous. Watching as he stands on the pedals of his bike, pushing down as hard as he can, I think it just makes him look fat. As he and his group pass the skate park I see him give the skaters a disgusted sneer. He knows he's much better than them. The skaters don't notice his glance; he's just another townie to them. Another blur of Adidas. He's insignificant in their little world.

One of the more talented skaters glides along a ramp, reaches a ledge, jumps and lands on his feet. He looks around, wanting the others to acknowledge his accomplishment. His friends skate up to him and high five him. Congratulations all round. A few less able skaters try to emulate him, but slip, trip and fall. Shiny black knee and elbow pads crack when they hit the floor. The plastic is scratched, dug into by the stones littering the floor. The smallest one picks himself up, looking like he wants to cry. He sees the others looking at him, and as the good skater looked round for praise, he turns away to hide the flush covering his cheeks and the shininess in his eyes, the tears begging to be allowed to fall. He pushes them back and walks up the wet grassy bank to join sit down. Looking over towards to colosseum I can see him watching a group of girls. Drunk and barely able to stand he laughs at their attempts to walk down the steps. They don't notice his amusement though. He isn't important; he's insignificant to them.

One of the girls, a young blonde, with her hair in pigtails staggers away from the group, trying to hard to be indignant and pompous. She sits down by a tree, and casts a sly glance at her friends. When she sees they're wondering what's wrong with her she buries her face in her hands and starts sobbing. Her friend ambles over, tripping on her trousers, which are dragging on the ground. Kneeling down next to the sobbing blonde she tries to give her a hug, but over balances and knocks them both over. The blonde pushes the other girl off her, and tries to continue crying. She's watching her friend though, and when the girl pulls a funny face she cannot subdue the laughter that bubbles out. A well built, and sober male walks over to the two teenage girls and offers them each a hand up. He isn't wearing a tee-shirt and when he tenses his biceps the girls give each other a brief glance before quickly grabbing hold of the proffered hand and standing up. They each wrap an arm around his waist and he walks them over towards me. I can see the expression on his face quite clearly and he looks more than happy to have to have two attractive girls draped around him. They pass me by but they don't notice me. What's one more girl, when this place is full of people? I'm insignificant as far as they're concerned.

I realise that I've been sitting here for over half an hour just watching the people around me. Seeing the things that their friends don't see, the things they don't want anyone to see. I've just been thinking about their lives, everyone just living - doing nothing more complicated than existing and yet it fascinates me. Thinking about how they behave, and why they do what they do. Thinking about how to them, they are the most important people in the world. Thinking about what it would be like to be them, to live their lives.

Thinking about all of this and watching all of these people makes me realise how glad I am to be me. No matter how many times I zone out and people watch, when I think about it every time I feel refreshed that I am me. Not because my life is great; it isn't. Not because their lives are so abysmal; they aren't. I just feel safe in the fact that at least this is me, my life is made up of all the things I like, all the people I spend time with, all the decisions I've made. It's fascinating to watch other people living, but it's good to be able to come home to myself.


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People Watching | Login/Create an account | 15 Comments
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Re: People Watching
by Psychopixi on Oct 29, 2002 - 08:57 AM
(User info | Send a Message) http://psychopixi.com
Eeep, I thought I posted this at the teen shmeng site. Oopsies.


Re: People Watching
by Meranda_Jade (Meranda@mymind.com)
on Oct 29, 2002 - 09:56 AM
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Great article, I too, am glad it ended up here. I love to people-watch, but you've put a very interesting perspective to it. You're not just watching, you're thinking too. More people should do such things...


Re: People Watching
by IamSquid (undisclosedgettheaddressfrommeepersonally)
on Oct 29, 2002 - 11:48 AM
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Yoo should see a movie called "The Following." It's about people watching gone wrong but it brings up the issue of the people yoo see just walking down the street as being actual people with personalities, experiences, secrets, etc.


Re: People Watching
by ThatOneWastedChick on Oct 29, 2002 - 02:28 PM
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Muy intrestante! Very good!


Watching toooo much.
by MorteAscendo (corpsmanwix@aol.com)
on Oct 29, 2002 - 03:34 PM
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Heh..i like to watch people. But it usually ends up in a restraining order. *giggles*


Re: People Watching
by Merry_Widow on Oct 30, 2002 - 01:44 PM
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People watching is fantastic. I try to do it at the airport and train station. People get so emotional in places like those.


Re: People Watching
by Psychopixi on Oct 30, 2002 - 03:21 PM
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Thanks for your comments everyone, I'm really glad this piece went down well! :)


Re: People Watching
by dead_cry on Nov 06, 2002 - 07:12 PM
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wow great article i loved it =)


Re: People Watching
by AltarielOfTheUnderworld (seregiel@hotmail.com)
on Mar 15, 2003 - 07:34 PM
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Ah, I just love it when people take the time to consider what they see, and what lies behind it. Nothing is more interesting to read than stories from everyday life.


Re: People Watching
by Abbadon on Jun 10, 2003 - 12:14 PM
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I have wasted substantial chunks of my life following this hobby.


Re: People Watching
by blood_rose (-)
on Feb 03, 2004 - 05:50 PM
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hey i love the article, i used to people watch all the time, but due to one reason or another i dont have much time to myself any more. none the less i love what you did, its an extremely interesting perspective.


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