I think of myself as someone who undertakes the activity of people watching very seldom. I’ve always had my head buried in a book. More recently, of course, either the iPhone or kindle. But occasionally, it’s unavoidable. Such as when I am with someone else and it would be rude to be reading. Or, when it would be dangerous to be reading such as when driving.
I find myself wondering, why do people do the things they do, especially when in public? Sometimes, I spin mental stories around someone. When you live in a small community, everyone knows everyone which creates a special kind of dynamic. Larger communities especially cities are filled with strangers often doing strange things.
In a large city you may encounter people that you are acquainted with or know somewhat often depending upon how far you from your normal stomping grounds. You may even even run across the same people often if your mutual routines cross paths but you don’t actually know them.
Even driving down the interstate can be a form of people watching. Why did that truck today not stop to tie his flapping tarp down better, didn’t he know it distracted other drivers? Is that truck driver nodding at the wheel after forty hours if straight driving?
I’ve read about authors who were inspired by observing their surroundings while in public spaces. I need to opens eyes, unstop my ears, and practice translating my observations to written form.