People watching – what a fascinating, no cost form of entertainment. I participate a lot in this activity. Some people stop for a coffee before heading home from the mall but not me. I plunk my tired old body down on a bench, put my parcels down at my feet and just watch the people walk by. I imagine the things they are coping with and what thoughts are going through their minds as they go about their day. My imagination runs wild.
There goes an overwhelmed mother with a spoiled little brat kicking and screaming. I imagine he didn’t get that toy he was demanding. Mummy is calm on the outside but seething on the inside. I can read her thoughts. “Just you wait, until we get home.” In my day, there was a possibility of two things occurring as a result of this behaviour. The kid would either get sent to a corner for a certain period of time or a hand would lightly cross his butt. (a totally unacceptable form of discipline today.) Instead, a conversation will probably take place between mother and child. “Now why do you think Mummy is upset?” “What do you think your punishment should be?” Or the ultimate sentence, the little devil will be sent be to his room so he can happily play with all his toys that are located there. I proceed no further on this train of thought.
A middle-aged couple, in the midst of a heated argument, pass by. Boy did I have fun thinking that one out.
Three teenage girls walk by giggling and talking, probably planning what they are going to do on the weekend. I am immediately transported back in time to my teenage years and I find myself smiling.
And the fantasies continue as the people go by.
But the most fun is watching men and women socialize in their own little groups. First, let’s check out the men. Three or four elderly, retired seniors meet at the coffee shop around 9:00 am for their weekly get together. They are dressed in their work clothes ready for their day of puttering around. They are generally a grumpy lot with very few smiles. They complain about how things aren’t like they use to be and how everything is going to hell in a hand basket. Politics, sports, aches and pains and whatever bothers them at home are the topics of discussion. Sex however, is not mentioned. When their hour is up, they trod on home wondering what the little woman is making them for lunch.
Now, let’s look at women socializing. That’s a totally different scene. The other day Chuck and I were having lunch in a local restaurant. A gathering of senior ladies was seated at a near-by table. “God, they are loud,” was the comment issued by an annoyed Chuck. I couldn’t help but smile. “Yes,” I replied, “They are loud and isn’t it wonderful that these ladies are letting loose and having so much fun.” These old girls had my full attention and although I wasn’t part of their group, I fully enjoyed watching and overhearing their chatter. They were dressed to the nines and they ordered wine, lots of wine. As the conversations and refreshments flowed, I noticed that husbands were never discussed. Jokes about seniors were told, sex or lack of it was open to discussion, secrets were shared, stories of grandkids were proudly told, photos were passed around, plans for the future were exchanged and of course more laughter and more wine. I thought, “Women really know how to live at this stage of life. They have devoted their entire lives to the needs of others and now they realize it is time for them.” I turned to Chuck and I said, “I raise my glass to these and all senior ladies who have finally decided to raise a little hell and to have a little fun because they have damn well earned it.” There was no comeback response from Chuck.
For many, money is tight right now and we can’t afford all the activities we would like to do. Observing the behaviour of others can be a very entertaining pastime. You can even kick it up a notch and imagine what their lives are like. Take a trip in your mind. Have fun.
Note to my kids: “And NO, I am not ready for a trip to ‘the home’.”