I’m not the only person who likes to ‘People watch’ for fun I’m sure, and I doubt I’m the only writer who does it. As being in the right place and circumstance, really does give you a great stage for watching others live their lives as they pass briefly through your shared space.
Not every place is good to carry out this hobby and it does have to be done in a certain way so you don’t come across as looking weird or darn right rude by gawking or staring at someone. I’m not quite sure what the technique would be? Perhaps using reflected glass, periphery vision or ensuring who you might be watching is too preoccupied to notice you, would be a few tips.
One of my favourite places to people watch has to be at an airport. There’s something almost therapeutic about watching other people stroll or hurry by, bags or cases clutched in hand. Or those sat with you, reading their papers or scrolling on their phones. In fact the invention of devices probably makes it easier to people watch as so many are immersed in their cyber lives they don’t notice much of what’s going on around them.
One of the things that always makes me chuckle is when a flight is announced for boarding, the sudden rush like gazelles of people rising and hurrying to their gate, afraid the plane might leave without them. Their fast gait through the corridors, eyes on the goal and nothing else. I can’t say I’m any different when my boarding is announced, but I wouldn’t have noticed our collective response, unless I’d been watching others do the same.
I think that the art of people watching, is a great tool for a writer. Studying another’s appearance and actions, what they wear and how they move, can only gather dust in the big library of useless information in my brain. It might one day become part of a scene or story. Even the simple act of seeing an individual and wondering where they came from and what they do allows the imagination to run free and come up with ideas for future reference.
All parts of life can lead to inspiration, whether living it or observing, and I guess People Watching is just one of them.