Saturday, May 2, 2009

People Watching



I have a thing for people watching. I just find it so very interesting. I love to make up stories to go with expressions, body language, outfits. Every once in a while I take the time to write down what I see. Here's an example.


Saturday night, February 7, 2009
Kansas City - on the Plaza

I'm sitting in a cushy chair near the Barnes & Nobel Cafe. There is a man sitting there who caught my eye with his intensely studious expression. He has that scowl of concentration and he flips through pages and jots down furious scribblings in the notebook beside him. Here's the thing that intrigues me. That make me want to write a story with him as a character. He is completely intent on what he is doing. In front of him is a pile of four books topped with a stack of papers. Two of the books have spines that are five inches thick. One book is emblazoned ACT Victory. One is called College Majors.

He is probably 45.


It's a perfect movie scene, actually. He's in faded jeans and a white button down. His wedding ring gleams on his finger. His glasses are black wire rims and his hair is a silver-tipped black. Both books are black and red with white lettering. One has words ----->. The other reads upside down <--------. The stack is just crooked enough to be completely random. The man is Everyman. Not especially good looking. No ugly. Just an ordinary guy fast approaching the end of middle age. His concentration is fierce. The whir of the espresso machine, the clink of the forks, the quiet conversations all around him, even my steady scrutiny. This guy never wavers.

I wonder what his story is? Is he a dad with a slacker kid, so he is compelled to take furious notes on her behalf? Is he heading to college himself to complete a long-held dream? I wonder.




This is my first SOOJ blog post. The first picture is a few of my journals, the next is my actual journal page of this writing. Also, I took the third picture surreptitiously because I was terribly nervous. It's not great, but I thought you might like to see the man.

27 comments:

Teri and the cats of Furrydance said...

I so liked this story...it's day-to-day life that stories are made of and you made it feel like I was there with you. Thanks for writing down something we all see everyday that passes out of our minds without being written down...

Lubna said...

OMG, Relyn... I do the same thing. I hope he is pursuing his dream and I so hope he succeeds.
Here is one of mine, but a sad one.
http://writerscyberslate.blogspot.com/search?q=india+coffee+house
I so wish I had reached out.
Best,
Lubna

Joanne said...

I like how you grabbed a photo too! What a great journal entry, raising so many questions. You can just see how intent he is on what he's doing there. Whatever his goal, he seems focused enough to reach it! It's actually an inspiring post/photo as well.

beth said...

we do the same thing all the time...my favorite spot will always be an airport...but we do have fun sitting at the bar of our favorite restaurant watching couples and singles mingle and we make up stories the whole night while we're eating....usually something along the line of...."he soooo took off his wedding ring to be here tonight with her"

Jessica said...

I love to people watch as well. It's part of the reason I love to go to the market early, get a cup of coffee, and sit down for a bit. You see people walking and buying and thinking. It's a perfect way to start a weekend in my book!

Char said...

or is he a displaced worker going back to school to get another degree so he can restart a career?

Jeanne said...

I too love to people watch.
Love you

moonshin said...

it is interesting to watch other people living their lives. i enjoy trying to 'see' what's the person is thinking. what is the girl at the bus stand is thinking while waiting for the bus, for example.

wonder what motivate him to have such determination and fierce focus in his study? hermm.....

once, i was so involved in 'deciphering' the people i see, i forget where i was. get too carried way. lol!

interesting post, Relyn.

spread your wings said...

it's so much fun to people watch, but i love that you actually record the stories you make up about them AND take photos.
i enjoy doing this at coffee shops. i can usually spot at least one couple who have met through the internet (match.com or something) and are meeting for the first time. half the time the guy is going on and on about himself and the lady has such a bored looked you know they won't meet up again... cross that one off the list, on to the next one.
i have a feeling your SOOJ post are going to be very entertaining. can't wait for the next one.

smith kaich jones said...

Yes, yes, yes! He is pursuing his own dreams, but it is hard, you know, he has responsiblities beyond himself - he's not all that young anymore - and this is his only chance this week for alone time, for the chance to be serious about these dreams, and he is fierce indeed in his determination to not let even one minute slip by wasted. Oh, I am so pulling for him - I know he will do it!

Love this!

:) Debi

SE'LAH... said...

I have never really tried people watching...sounds intriguing. You got your hook in me with this story.

Great post!

Suvarna said...

Oh yes, he is studying furiously, his only time in his busy week away from his responsibilities. He must pass this exam in order to get into his dream course. i love this story. keep on wondering, great post.
xoxoxo
S

MrsKraft said...

Relyn,
My new cyber friend and fellow soldier in the classroom! Thanks so much for stopping by my blog! I love when I get new viewers!
I teach at a charter school in Kansas City, although I am a recent transplant from the east coast.
I teach high school English and poetry and do some college counseling--this post both warmed and broke my heart, and I found myself cheering on your coffee house student!
If you're ever in KC and want to vent teacher-style, let me know! The B&N on the Plaza is one of my favorites!

Amy said...

Fun stuff! As a fellow wordlover, I must say that I really enjoyed your thoughts and observations.

Patti said...

I love doing that too- I have never been brave enough to get a picture though- good for you. Everyman is right..and EVERYONE has a story... Have a wonderful day!

Miko's Girl said...

I like it!

Christina said...

Oh, are we two peas in a pod. ; )

Ms. K @ Write On Thyme said...

What fun, Relyn!
Writers also love to sit and listen to other's conversations to play with their dialogue. Don't forget to stop by and pick up your One Lovely Blog Award!
Happy Monday!
Kirsten

Lee Ryan said...

If he's a dad - and he's looking at ACT materials - he's been a dad long enough to have given up on the idea of infusing his children with knowledge like a Vulcan Mind Meld.

He's pursuing his ambition and knows he doesn't have time to waste with distractions.

dutchbaby said...

With a lot of layoffs here in the Bay Area, many people are choosing to get advanced degrees since it's so difficult to get a job right now. I wonder if he's in the same predicament.

Susan Tuttle said...

i too love to people watch. i enjoyed your story:)

your comment brought tears to my eyes -- thank you for sharing it -- they sure do grow so very quickly:)

Pastor Sharon said...

Love the story. What an interesting way to blog. I love it! Interesting you wrote about watching people. Check out my blogspot. I did the same thing at the hospital this past weekend. Check out a fly on the wall at my spot.

I will keep coming back.

Jaime said...

How I would love to sit on a park bench with you one day and watch the comings and goings of the world.
Who could ever be bored when there are so many stories evolving around us all the time?!?!

xo

Derrick said...

Hi Relyn,

Despite his intensity it's hard not to feel that one is being watched. Then I would lose concentration, wondering if I had spilt something down my front or had a feather in my hair, or my flies were undone!

elk said...

oh this is so good...so inspiring!

dutchbaby said...

Hello Relyn,
Pop over to dutchbaby when you have a few minutes, there is a little bling waiting for you there.

Jeanie said...

Everyman. I like that. I'm sure he has his story, but I suspect the one you can write about him is equally compelling!

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