I thoroughly enjoy people watching. Part of me feels like this habit is perverse and mildly twisted, but I can’t help doing it. The fact of it is that people are interesting. It’s incredibly intriguing to look a person and guess at their life. You can speculate their personal taste, their love life, their fashion taste, their political views or family life. It is almost like standing firmly in reality while creating an entire fictional world, which in itself is a pretty fascinating observation of people. In a place like New York, you have to be careful about it as well. Staring directly at people here will be met with a reaction similar to what one would expect when sticking their head in a lion’s mouth. There is a way to go about it discreetly that almost makes you feel like a private investigator, secretly snapshotting someone’s life.
One of my favorite people watching past times is to look at 2 people and contemplate as to what their relationship is to each other. Are they parent/child, outfit friends or perhaps mismatched lovers? What matter of chance has brought these people together in life? In Manhattan I see examples of this on a regular basis. Just last week I was standing outside my building smoking, when I saw an abnormally tall man walking down Madison Avenue. His pace was so slow, it almost seemed funny. I remember thinking that it couldn’t possibly be comfortable for one that tall to walk so sluggishly. I began, in my way, making a life for this man, slowly turning him into a fictional character in the story of my life. His name was Henrick and his slow amble was caused by injuries incurred by years of Circus performances in his youth followed by a professional basketball career. I had it all played out in my head and it was quite entertaining, but nowhere near as entertaining as the truth. The closer he got I could see that he was speaking to someone, though I couldn’t see the person. At first I thought he had a Bluetooth device (which is the bane of human existence, but I will get to that another day). As the crowd thinned, however, I saw his companion and couldn’t help but giggle. She was a woman who stood approximately 3’8” in pink and black zebra print head to toe. Talk about an unlikely pair! For those of you who are unaware I am actually petrified of midgets, but this situation was too funny to look away from. They were giggling and having a grand time; he kept patting at her head and looking at her longingly. At this point my imagination decided that they must have worked in the circus together and recently reconnected as old friends. They stopped at the bus station and began waiting. They were so close and I couldn’t help lighting another cigarette just to stay outside and watch this story unfold. I heard bits of their conversation and it seemed so normal, which made it feel entirely out of place to me. They were discussing basic life events, the same types of things that I would discuss with my fiancé after work. It hit me slowly just how odd their relationship was, but then I couldn’t stop the realization from assaulting my mind. As that mental attack took place I saw him sit on the bus station bench, I’m assuming to get closer to his little friend. As she was talking and looking at him lovingly he simply picked her up and put her on his lap. This gesture screamed Father/Daughter to me in the worst of ways and I felt my senses on overload from the situation. Before I had time to adjust they were kissing. Not little public appropriate kisses either; this was full on porno kissing between a giant and a midget in the middle of Madison Ave. I was no longer discreetly watching the scene but full on staring at them out of sheer confusion. This was quite a spectacle they were making. I noticed that I was not the only person amused by this unique relationship as others were looking at them as well.
I forced myself to look away eventually and pulled myself back up to the office, where I told everyone about the aforementioned event. Now to be clear, I pass no judgment on these two. I would never begrudge anyone their choice to love who they want. I think there is something wonderful in the fact that these two people allowed no boundaries to stop their love for each other. But, let’s face it; there are some things that are just plain odd to look at it – midget and giant lovers being one of them. But it is also interesting, like a view into the unstoppable human resilience. It shows you that when you really want something or believe in something than nothing will stop you.
This is exactly why I love People watching, because people are always surprising me. Whether it is hilarious, disheartening or exhilarating there is ALWAYS something interesting to see.