Observing People as a Pastime
Watching the World Go By
A search on Google for 'people watching' led me to find some information on this topic.
They also call it 'crowd watching' - it involves observing people and their interactions. One gets a first impression of the people passing by.
Authors sometimes use it to make up characters in their stories. Artists with a vivid imagination might observe a crowd of people then paint them from memory in a style that is not too detailed.
As the word 'pastime' suggests: this particular pastime is a way to pass the time, rather than feeling bored.
An Absorbing Pastime
Observing people can be an enjoyable way to pass the time while waiting in places like shopping malls, airports or parks.
This is a completely non judgmental pastime and is not in any way obtrusive.
It can be done while having coffee in an outside area of a coffee shop or anywhere where lots of people pass by.
If I'm waiting for someone in a shopping mall I sometimes sit and observe people as they go about their daily business, it beats getting bored or restless.
Observing life going by usually occurs when I have some time on my hands, when I'm in a place where lot's of people pass by.
When I sit somewhere and observe people I don't stare at them if they happen to catch my eye; I look away and then observe them as they walk by. There are so many interesting people around; one can observe: how they dress, the expression on their faces, the pace they walk at, if they're alone or with others, whether they're eating while they're walking or not, if they're pushing supermarket trolly's, talking on their cellphones, doing window shopping, or whatever.
Stories from Life
For the author looking for an interesting story to write, perhaps seeing the beggar with no legs sitting on the pavement, day after day, in the city centre might be potential material for his writing quest. Finding out more about the unfortunate man by talking to him will complement the story.
This could then become a mini-biography or short story. It might attract the media to investigating the mans situation and to finding organisations who could help him financially so that he doesn't have to spend his days on the street waiting for passers-by to fill his cup with coins.
One can create a story by imagining who a person is and what they are doing. A backpacker travelling around a country could be fuel for a story about his experiences along the way.
I can't tell what a person does for a living just by looking at them, unless they're wearing a uniform such as a security guard, but I can at least look at the expression on a persons face and notice whether they're feeling sad, mad or glad.
Oh and there's the children, the teenagers, the business people, the middle aged, the ancient, the waitresses; the tall, the short and all types of people that make up our wonderful world.
Observing passers-by can be an enjoyable pastime, sometimes when I've had enough of it, I just have to go and browse through the books in the bookstore.