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people watching

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Everybody people watches, in one way or another. Once upon a time a friend and I would sit on a bench at the beach with our morning coffee and watch people passing by. We sat drinking our coffee and as each group neared we concocted outlandish stories based on the impressions of what we saw. It wasn’t mean-spirited in any way. It was more an expansion of what we might think if we had simply walked by them on the street.

I don’t make up stories anymore, well not really, but now I want to know the story. I want to know the 5 W’s of their daily lives. It’s more because I’m curious and just a tad nosy. Now as I sit passively, keenly taking note of details, I wonder. It’s what I do out of habit more than entertainment.

Yesterday an Asian man sat across from me wearing a mustard coloured jacket and heavy boots. Both seemed like were far too big for him. He’s doing that obnoxious man spreading thing and beside him sits a giant bag (doubly bad). He would be what someone would call nondescript perhaps; a little mussed with a receding hairline and thick glasses. He held his hands in a strange manner and it immediately piqued my curiosity. Then he pushed the glassed up his nose and I caught a flash of colour on his thumbs. A little while later he checked his watch and I saw all his nails were painted a deep blood red. Then as he had before he tucked his fingers into a fist, tucking in his thumbs into his hands, hiding his nails and he became just another person riding the train. And there was me on the other side of the aisle, still wanting to know why. A phrase popped into my head “what’s your story morning glory?”.

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I went for a walk this morning, not willingly. I had to force myself out of the house. The sun is still hiding behind a thick layer of grey and I wanted nothing more than to curl up into the softness of a blanket and begin binge watching something. I went before my second coffee or crosswords or any distractions could give me an excuse to put it off or not go at all. At first it was just going to walk around the block to say I’d done something but I forced myself down to the sea wall. My hands thrust in my pockets I passed groups of eager runners and the occasional dog walker as the clouds dispensed a pit pat of misty rain. I managed 25 minutes of striding with some purpose before looping around back toward home. As I neared the paper box I realized the paper’s not published on Sunday although the happy reward was that someone had left the display paper behind. I’ll get some brain exercise as well. Look at me go.

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