Watching humans

Without a doubt, people watching is an amazing exercise in confusion and humor.

I love to watch humans. I try to figure out what their story is, who they are, do they walk with confidence, do they appear shy, are they gregarious, what do their clothes tell me and so on. If you want a writing prompt then people watching can give you plenty.

This morning I was in a lobby just as people were changing shifts and the human interactions were telling. A tall security guard carrying an ice chest lunch box strides out of the elevator on his way home passes a cute petite woman who responds shyly to his bright hello. Who are they? Why is she shy? What makes his walk so peppy and his greeting so cheerful?

The best people watching is done in shopping malls and airports. There are crowds of people moving in different directions, talking, juggling bags, looking for direction signs, noticing other humans and finding their way around.

It’s fascinating.

Disneyland is another great people watching place. I tend to notice the parents with the children, who are really too young to be there, trying to force their tired, cranky and sensory overwhelmed toddlers to “have fun”. The adults spend all of their time corralling kids and arguing with each other, while wistfully watching the childless couples strolling, holding hands, flirting and laughing. I don’t understand why people think a toddler has any business in a place with so many things that distract and agitate the child. Most of them are scared to death at the sight of a six foot tall Mickey Mouse!

What is your favorite place to people watch? What are you looking for when you watch humans? Have you ever been busted while observing someone?



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It’s been crazy fun

I’ve spent the last week with family having a very cool Christmas week at Disneyland. The five of us, all Disney fans, had a great time.

The humanity that filled the park gave me the chance to observe and study. There was every kind of situation filled with human response and activity. I love people watching and there was plenty of it.

I like observing groups of humans, especially small ones. They are so candid in their responses. Disneyland was full of families who many times struggled to force their children into having a good time and enjoying themselves.

It was often obvious that the people who had children in the toddler age group were not having fun.  This age group were the ones that were the most cranky, nervous and demanding. I found that the parents spent most of their time correcting and scolding or trying to distract the children into behaving or being happy.

As I watched this I discovered the “happiest place on earth” when it is so full of people that humans lose the desire to be considerate and patient. The staff are very friendly and accommodating but the visitors become pushy and unpleasant.

Christmas eve was wonderful. A lot of the park visitors cleared out and it was so calm and manageable. The lights and fireworks were thrilling and inspiring. Christmas morning was also very pleasant and it was easy to get around. At noon the park began to fill to the point that by 3-4pm it was at capacity and the lines and groups were seas of humans.

I’m trying to imagine how it could be any different.

I was there with my husband and grown children and we decided from the beginning to be kind and loving in words and actions during what we all knew could be trying. The magic of Disney was allowed to fill us and because of that we put on a filter of sorts giving us a time that was worth every grumpy adult, whining child and long line we encountered. We chose to laugh, hug and sing every song. We chose to immerse ourselves in the myths and legends that are Disneyland and have a good time.