Have you ever spent time in a coffee shop or a pub? (Bar or lounge to you non-British influenced folks.) I’m sure I’ve mentioned before how I enjoy sitting in a coffee shop and reading. What I may not have mentioned before, is my enjoyment for people watching. In the most non-stalkerish way imaginable. 🙂 And anyway, who hasn’t done their fair share of people watching?
Even before I was old enough to appreciate the quiet time I could get in the corner of a busy coffee shop, I liked to people watch. I remember sitting in the mall with a friend when we were fifteen or sixteen years old and watching the other patrons walk by. We’d get pretty involved and create background stories for them. We’d improvise some dialogue then laugh at our own inventiveness.
Now, I refrain from spouting dialogue, but I haven’t stopped people watching. I enjoy observing people in a common space like a bar or coffee shop and seeing how they interact. Not just with their companion, but the baristas or servers. I like to see how kind people are with each other and how animated a discussion can become.
Last night, I was out with a friend and we noticed an interesting pair in the coffee shop we stopped in. There was an elderly gentleman who was perhaps 4’11” tall and about 75 years old. With him was an elegant-looking young woman, maybe 26 years old, and she was maybe 5’10” tall. My friend and I noticed this couple, we looked at each other and both wondered out loud what the story was there. We weren’t being malicious, just curious. How could you not be looking at such an odd pair? What was the story? Who knew? I just know it was probably a good story.
Observing people contributes a lot to my work as a writer. How else would I learn how people interact outside my own family or circle of friends – side note: I don’t get out a lot and have a limited, close circle of acquaintances. I’m not complaining, I’m just explaining that if I want to see how other people act with each other, then I need to get out and see how they act. I’m not saying I eavesdrop, though sometimes you can’t help it. It’s shocking sometimes how much people will say in a public, busy setting, when you think you’re anonymous. It certainly makes it easier for me to imagine their backstory in those cases.
Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that you ought to be careful how you act out there in those busy places. Take care with what you say or how you say it. A writer could be sitting behind you, taking notes. 🙂
Take care and happy reading.