People Watching

I love people watching. It is a way to develop characters and fine tune details. I often sit in a shopping centre or on a bus and look around at the myriad of people, teenagers, business people, Mums. What separates them from each other? Makes them unique? What are the details of their personas? The way they walk, dress, hold themselves. What are the expressions on their faces. All of these details combine to create a ‘character’. I recently went to the Sydney Easter Show where there was an entire smorgasbord of people.
Old men in flanny shirts sat back while watching the wood chopping. These men let their faces go slack in the hot sun, and crossed their arms to show their indifference. They would occasionally give a few claps or a nod of their head to show approval. But generally they were still.
Kids ran wild around the showground. When they had to wait in lines for rides and fairy floss they did so impatiently. Inside the farmyard nursery, they crept up to baby goats to have a chance to steal a pat. They crept, ready to run at any movement, but the goats just sat there, chewing away, completely bored with the whole event.
Some of those wild kids later collapsed in strollers. The excitement of the day clearly too much to process in one hit, and so a nap was required. I envied these children. How I would have loved a nap. But it’s generally not accepted for adults to sleep in public, with the important exception of long haul public transport. Why does our society expect adults to stay awake all day? But I digress.
The other ‘character’ which was abundant at the show was the parents. Sensibly dressed, wearing flat shoes, usually with a backpack or the like, the parents were ready for anything. Loaded down with water bottles, sunscreen and the already boring novelties of the show, the parents guided the kids towards the occasional attraction, but were generally following. The strained faces were polar opposites to that of their children, as they balanced their loads and wallets and longed for that blissful trip home.
The movements and emotions of the parents and kids were heightened inside the show bag pavilion where even I felt the happy dance start to come out. The colour, noise and crowds inside the relatedly dark shed amplified my excitement and I allowed myself to get caught up in the joy of buying useless crap. The fever took hold of everyone, as wads of cash were exchanged for brightly coloured bags.
The kids jumped, the parents consulted their lists and the old men were nowhere to be seen.
The over stimulating and exciting day made thoughts crash around my head as I attempted to process all the colour, characters, events and general awesomeness. It was so much to process in fact, that I took advantage of the one exception to the adult nap rule; I slept on the train ride home.

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