It is absolutely one of my favorite things in the world to do. I can stay occupied for hours upon hours just sitting and watching people. I suppose, that being a writer, I could say that it’s like research to me, but it doesn’t feel at all like work. To be honest, writing doesn’t often feel like work either. I really enjoy human behavior. We are interesting, and hilarious…and often pretty ridiculous. I also could have gotten the obsession from my father. My dad loves to people watch too.
One of my favorite venues for this activity is at the theme parks here in Orlando. I have vertigo and I don’t do roller coasters, so I send my husband on with the kiddos and I get to wait around and watch the crowd. I think that it is my favorite part of the parks. To be fair, people are not really at their best when they are trying to make the big family vacation happen. I have seen some relatively disappointing behavior, and it is definitely not just coming from the kiddos. I have seen mind-boggling things as well. I have seen entire family groups on handicapped scooters…well except for the dad who was pushing the stroller. I have seen some of the toughest hardest biker looking dudes ever in leather and all, wandering the parks in ninety-five degree heat. I saw two British teenagers come off of a roller coaster and throw up simultaneously as their father looked on in horrified embarrassment. The parks are never ever boring.
People watching is a brilliant exercise for me in the pursuit of personal control. I think that we are all ingrained with an instinct to judge others. So as I sit and watch the crowds, I concentrate on observing others only for the purpose of learning, and better understanding, other human beings. There is often the pull to think judgmentally. Of course, there are some disappointing things to be seen at the parks. There are a lot of inspiring ones as well however, and there is no end to the insight that can be gleaned from watching it all happen. I am never left without a new insight when I take the time to simply sit and watch the people go by.