P is for Perspective of a Stranger

Sometimes, when I’m out in the world, I like to imagine what strangers’ lives are like. I don’t really do this intentionally…it just sort of happens.
I see a man eating by himself, and I wonder if he is alone in the world, or if he is taking a lunch break and will later have a big family dinner surrounded by others.
I see a woman at the gym, and I wonder if she is a total fitness buff, or if she is just trying to get through 45 minutes of working out so she can go on to more enjoyable tasks.
I see a group speaking a different language, and I wonder if they are visiting, if they are new to the country, or if they have lived here for years, but have kept up speaking the language of their home.
I see people at the airport, and I wonder if they are going away, or coming home, and I wonder which idea makes them happier.
I am not a people person. I am not very social, and I will readily admit that there is a lot about the human condition that I severely dislike. But I do find people utterly fascinating. I don’t people-watch on purpose, but my mind can’t help wandering sometimes, pulling together a story and deciding which option I like best.
I have a memory of when I was fifteen. It was night, and I couldn’t sleep, so I stared out my bedroom window, and across the street a neighbour was out washing his car. I don’t know why he was washing his car at night (perhaps there is a good story there, too), but I didn’t care. I just watched him for a while, and I found it interestingly calming. I like seeing everyone else go about their day, seeing everyone else living in this crazy world, too.
And watching others just screams for potential inspiration, doesn’t it? As a writer, it’s always good when my mind swirls through possible lives. I can’t specifically say if people-watching has given me a story idea yet, but I wouldn’t doubt it possible.
So what about you? Do you ever people-watch?

4 Responses so far.

  1. Oh yes. And speculating about who they are and what they do is the best.
  2. Karen Tamara says:
    I love people watching. I don't do it on purpose either. Usually it starts with me thinking of how I'd describe them in a book, then I image a story around them. It's fun and definitely a way to get the creative juices flowing!


  3. Brandon Ax says:
    Both me and my sister love this we will actually comment on it with each other. I think people watching is a great writing tool.
  4. T. Drecker says:
    I'm betting that people watching is an important writer past time. It's the only way to be able to put yourself in someone else's shoes for a while. Nice post.