A Quick Consideration: People Watching People Watchers

As I sit in Portland’s airport writing, I am simultaneously taking part in one of my favorite activities: people watching.

It is always funny to me whenever this topic gets brought up in conversation, because the response is generally always something like, “Oh my gosh, I LOVE people watching! One of my favorite things to do!” Basically implying that they are so pumped that you are in the people watching club too, because, you know…

People are weird. And it is fun to watch them.

But all the weird people you are watching – that guy with the hook nose who can not for the life of him figure out a graceful way to eat that sandwich, that young girl practically dragging her little brother across the terminal by the arm, that couple sitting in the corner trying (and failing) to keep their PDA action PG – they are all watching you.

We are constantly immersed in a web of experience too complex for us to fully realize; each and every strand composed of a thousand heartbreaks, victories, beliefs, convictions, friendships, rivalries, memories and hopes. Too many to keep track of. Each person you see carries with them the same number of dreams and aspirations as you. The same amount of doubt and uncertainty.

Or more.

Think about all the lives you have touched, for better or for worse. Think about your fears. Think about the people you love, the people you would die for. Think about all of your complexities and quirks you cannot even begin to explain coherently to yourself, let alone a stranger.

And despite all of this, you are merely a blip on everyone’s radar-that guy who stares too much and probably does not realize he is picking his nose.

There is no “people watching” club. We are all watched people watchers watching people.

And oh, how little we actually see.


2 thoughts on “A Quick Consideration: People Watching People Watchers

    • I think you are right! An interesting twist to any idea: does it change the consequences, both external and/or internal, of one’s actions if one is unaware to what extent they are acting? I feel like I would be scared if I ever met a people watcher who didn’t self-identify. Although with a rise in a lack of awareness (both self and otherwise) this may be a problem we will see more of…

      Regardless thanks for reading and commenting!

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