People watching….


As a young soldier in the Army, observation was always stressed to us. Your survival counts on seeing them before they see you! My grandfather and father taught my brother and I this lesson, prior to me joining the military. Moving silently through the brush was often the difference between a successful hunt and an unsuccessful one. Often to my dad’s chagrin, my brother and I did not always adhere to the lesson that he was trying to teach us. Son, pick your feet up! Be quiet and listen….

Only after I had aged did I pick up on the lesson that he was teaching me. In Iraq and Afghanistan, observation can save your life. Noticing small, subtle changes in the earth, and other indicators can keep you from walking/driving into a bomb. Alas, my career in the military was cut short due to epilepsy. When I retired from the military, I took my habit of observing and applied it in restaurants, malls, and church. People are fun to watch.

Examples range from watching older couples hold hands in the mall, to watching young couples squabble over things that appear to be minor. Children will often be told to not wander off, and you can see them sneak toward the toy aisle. If a young wife is spending too much money or vice versa, you can notice the grimace on the face of their partner. The way that a young wife will crinkle up her nose at something her husband finds amusing is another example of people watching. It never fails, someone somewhere is sitting on a park bench or seat and observing the people around them.

Throughout much of my life, I have found laughter and joy in watching people. People do not disappoint you when you sit and watch them. Some minor things occur and people will have major overreactions because of them. One morning I was ordering breakfast at McDonalds when a woman came flying into the lobby. Yelling, this pajama-clad hurricane angrily hurled her order at the manager because they didn’t put napkins in her bag. It took everything I had not to burst into laughter. In these momentary lapses of judgement, it is too bad we can’t put life on pause, step out of the situation and see how hilarious we look to other people.

Ah well, if we could pause life there would not be any hilarious situations to laugh at. Thank God, there is an abundance of things that bring us joy.

Take care.

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