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Monday, September 5, 2011

Watching

I love to people watch.  I enjoy making up stories about people I see and what their lives might be like. I'll notice someone in line with me, sitting at a nearby table when I'm eating out or when I'm running errands.  They'll do something to make me take note of them and I do.  Maybe they have a limp, a scar or wild hair that stands up all over ~ whatever it is, I'll put together a story from what I observed.  "What's the tattoo by that man's eye?" I'll think to myself.  And then I go on to ask myself who could he be, why is he here, how did he get the scar and when did he get it?  I want answers so I make them up about the people I watch.

People watching at the airport, to me, is the best.  Watching people come and go from the airport is in a class by itself.  People from every walk of life are there ~people with stories that are rich and vibrant.  I watch frazzled parents with young kids struggle to make it to their gate and I make up a story that they are headed to Disney for the first time.  The kids race around, out of control because their excitement can't be contained.  Then there's the harried businessman working hard to get his job done and get home.  He's tired and grumpy and the people in front of him at security are holding him up.  He disdainfully looks down his nose at those who aren't used to flying and have no clue about procedures.  He just wants to get home. I see the grandparents  and I imagine their excitement.  I see the twinkle in their eye and I imagine their joy at the thought of their grandchildren at the end of the journey.   And then I see the  people who look like they just saw a ghost.  I imagine them as a someone who is deathly afraid of flying and their fear is palpable to all who are around them.  Their stories scream out to be told, if only to myself.  I love to capture the essence of their story, make it what I imagine and finish their story in my head. 

The grocery store is another good place to people watch.  I would so much rather watch people in line at the grocery store than read the gossipy magazines sitting near the conveyor belt.  Real people standing in  line at Kroger conjure up good stories in my head.  It amuses me to no end to make up details about their lives.  I'll make up stories about some guy in front of me with a long, scraggly ponytail.  I imagine him as some kind of a badass, biker dude with his Harley parked outside.  I don't want to do anything to piss him off so I make sure my people watching is a little under the radar. 

I weren't so dang blatant about my watching some might think I'm a voyeur ~ ah, who am I kidding, I am kinda like a voyeur only my stories are made up, I don't go cruising into someone's real life!  I just people watch.

Maybe that's why I love to write.  I love to take what I see and tell the story.  People watching gives me the gift of a good story line.  I have pages of notes tucked in my trusty black bag.  It's a favorite ~ it the one that holds my iPad and laptop when I'm traveling.  I'll jot down little thingsI noticed at the mall; little blurbs that pop into my head when I'm out and about living my own life.  Taking what I see and tweaking it enough to make the story interesting is what makes it fun to me. 

Life here at home provides me with more than enough material...there rarely is a dull moment around here. Our family storyline needs no embellishment.  Our life is embellished enough, thank you very much. Lucas is a walking embellishment with his quick wit followed by a few good blond moments!  Stan is larger than life ~ his booming voice and large stature only add to the larger than life perception.  Zach is neat and tidy but also loud and completely wacky.  And Claire, well, she can be decidedly messy but also delightfully charming.  Every one of them add to the craziness that is life here in our house.  I don't need to make up stories about them...they provide me with weeks of material at one sitting.  Sitting back watching them gives stories that are ripe for the picking.  Someday, I hope these stories provide hours of entertainment for the kids when they are grown, gone and looking back on their own childhood. 

That's what I do.  I sit back and watch...for the love of my children.

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