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I am a People Watcher

Updated on August 22, 2011


I remember being a little girl, I was sometimes called a daddy’s girl and maybe it was true. I did hang out with my dad a lot mostly because my mom went to work very early and had stricter hours where as my dad was still going to school and working and had a bit more of a flexible schedule. My dad and I did a lot of things together before school and daycare. I remember feeding the ducks at the Berkeley Marina, riding in a huge truck to daycare. I have a lot of “broken” memories as well. Some of my memories are crystal clear as if they happened yesterday while others are cloudy and mixed with other memories in a mesh of visions.

Some of my best memories have to do with people watching something my dad taught me to do early on. It was not like a lesson there were no steps to learn.  It was just something I knew how to do from watching him.  So it was no surprise that even though I went for accounting for my undergraduate degree that I ended up with sociology as my major. I was drawn to people in so many ways mostly as a spectator and am still very intrigued by people to this day.   
I guess I have always been a sociologist. I have been watching people since I was little and was quickly hooked on the “sport”.   I still love to people watch to the point where my friends (yes even I have friends) wonder if I am having fun.  Of course I am having fun even though I might not be completely interacting; I love being a fly on the wall while watching others’ interactions.  People say and do the most amazing, funny, crazy and bizarre things.  No matter where I am I can people watch for hours whether I am at my kids’ games or the bar or the dance club or even just walking down the street anywhere I am is a great place for me to people watch.  And it always seems like I am seeing the weirdest stuff. A few months ago I was at a drug store and watched as a man was arrested for stealing condoms while his pregnant woman went into premature labor (most likely brought on by the excitement), it was amazing seeing one person leave in a police car while the other left in an ambulance. WTF?!? That incident left me with too many questions. Why was he stealing condoms? Why did he bring his pregnant woman with him? Of course there were many more questions as well.  This was just one experience but these types of events keep me interested and drawn to people watching.

But how did it all start? How did I get hooked on people watching? One of my first memories of people watching was sitting in the car with my dad and my cousins as we were waiting to pick up another family member.  We were all in the car when this guy who was obviously drunk was trying to cross the street.  He looked like the happiest man on Earth.  The man had a huge smile on his face like he had just run into an old friend. The man had just walked out of a store and had a paper bag in his hand.  I now know that the store was a liquor store and what he was carrying in the bag was alcohol but even with my limited knowledge at the time I was still able to learn so much from this experience.  Everyone in the car watched as this man tried to cross the street on intoxicated legs.  He grasped his bag tightly or so we thought because after about two clumsy steps from the curb that bag went crashing to the ground. Glass shattered everywhere (this was way before plastic liquor bottles).  You would have thought that the people watching would have ended there because there was no more bottle and nothing left for the man to do but we kept watching as he looked down on the ground at the broken bag, shattered glass, and liquid sprawled across the pavement.  The man was just standing in the crosswalk looking down in disbelief at the remains his hands were on his head, he was shaking his head maybe wishing he could turn back time and get that bottle back.  As he stood there he kept looking back and forth from the liquor store to the broken bottle back to the store and then the bottle again.  The man tried to take a step away while he kept looking back at the bottle.  He would take a step, look back and then shake his head in disbelief. The bottle of liquor was gone but he didn’t want to believe it trying to will the bottle back with each and every step he took as he walked away in defeat.  His final motion after he got to the other side of the street was to wave off the mess on the ground as if to say I am done with you.  Oh yeah that bag was done with him along time ago.

In that first people watching session I was hooked I learned so much about people in one fell swoop I saw happiness and despair, I saw the stages of grief that people go through with the loss, of course, its usually the loss of a loved one not of a bottle of alcohol but for this man it was one and the same. That bottle was his friend and it was now gone.

Ever since I was little and hanging out with my dad I have been watching people; its what I know, its what I do, its how I have fun and it definitely defines me as a person. People-watching is more than an escape for me, it really helps me to understand people; it is my sport and hobby and I definitely do not do it enough.

Arrested Development - People Everyday


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    • Triplet Mom profile image

      Triplet Mom 8 years ago from West Coast

      GT I am so glad that you can understand my pain.

    • goldentoad profile image

      goldentoad 8 years ago from Free and running....

      I can't argue with that

    • Triplet Mom profile image

      Triplet Mom 8 years ago from West Coast

      I am married nothing could scare me!!

    • goldentoad profile image

      goldentoad 8 years ago from Free and running....

      I don't want to scare you.

    • Triplet Mom profile image

      Triplet Mom 8 years ago from West Coast

      GT - Send me a pic of you and I promise I will stop staring.

    • goldentoad profile image

      goldentoad 8 years ago from Free and running....

      Just take a picture and quit staring. I know I'm weird.

    • Triplet Mom profile image

      Triplet Mom 8 years ago from West Coast

      DjBryle - Thank you so much. I agree that people can help us to understand others as well as ourselves.

      Kea - I am drawn to those that get angry over silly stuff and take it out on others. It never surprises me when someone gets mad a clerk in a grocery store and starts yelling. It would be nice if they could look at theirselves and see how pointless it is to get angry.

    • kea profile image

      kea 8 years ago

      Love the hub - hey, that rhymes! I travel a lot and love to watch people...especially the ones that get pissed off at airports and take it out on the flight attendants or people working the desk. I wonder if they ever stop and ask I really getting anywhere with this?

    • profile image

      DjBryle Works 8 years ago

      Very artistic way to present something ordinary into an extra ordinary masterpiece!... People watching, in many ways can really help us to learn and even understand others better. Thanks for sharing this great hub! =)

    • Triplet Mom profile image

      Triplet Mom 8 years ago from West Coast

      Aww shucks, Nemingha. I am speechless thanks for the validation.

    • Nemingha profile image

      Nemingha 8 years ago

      There are so many gifted writers on Hubpages - writers that can take the most ordinary and seemingly inconsequential incidents and events and turn them into a fantastic story - and you TM are one of them. I guess I must be a people watcher too!

    • Triplet Mom profile image

      Triplet Mom 8 years ago from West Coast

      Frieda - Thank you! I should do a book just have too many ideas floating around and not sure how to put them all together under one umbrella.

      Pam - Thank you very much. I love to hear stories about what others have seen. I am sure you have seen some very interesting things!!

      G-Ma - I agree completely kids are always the first to watch they are incredible. I just had a full morning of funny kids things after being at track practice and baseball.

      Gifted Grandma - Right on people watchers unite!! Reading people is hard some times but very fun.

    • GiftedGrandma profile image

      GiftedGrandma 8 years ago from USA

      Oh yes, I am a people watcher..reading people is another aspect of it as well

    • G-Ma Johnson profile image

      Merle Ann Johnson 8 years ago from NW in the land of the Free

      ...and though we watch and have an idea of what the people are really like I always think...can I walk in their shoes for a mile?  I too love to watch, but I have more fun watching the children and what they do in any given is so pure and simple and amazing...Nice Hub my sweetie...G-Ma :O) Hugs

    • Pam Roberson profile image

      Pam Roberson 8 years ago from Virginia

      Add me to the list of people watchers. :) This was enjoyable to read Triplet Mom, it was like watching the man stealing condoms and the guy dropping the bottle through you. Thanks! Now you've got me thinking and wondering if I've seen anything remotely as interesting, and I don't think I have! :)

    • Frieda Babbley profile image

      Frieda Babbley 8 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

      People watcher here!  What a great story of the man and the bottle.  Really loved that one much.  You've got to fit that into a book somewhere.  Perfect description.  Great vids and photos. Do they really make plastic liquor bottles?  Had no idea.

    • Triplet Mom profile image

      Triplet Mom 8 years ago from West Coast

      Cris - Good advice! Lol. I always have an eye on them. Not to sure what they are up to!

      BC - I thought I felt something. Don't look too hard I just might even scare you! lol

      Teresa - I bet you are right about that. There is probably a very close relationship between writing and people watching. It could be laziness on my part too. lol

    • Teresa McGurk profile image

      Sheila 8 years ago from The Other Bangor

      I'm wondering if most writers are people watchers -- I love how we pick up these habits from our parents without realizing it. Or maybe I'm just a people watcher because I'm too lazy to move. . . .

    • Cris A profile image

      Cris A 8 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      I'm prone to people watching, too. I guess it's the child in us that remains - infinitely curious!  Also, while you're at it, keep an eye on the hubby and the in-law, too! LOL Thanks for sharing :D

    • Triplet Mom profile image

      Triplet Mom 8 years ago from West Coast

      Tom - You nailed it, the feelings you get from watching are amazing.

      LM - Thank you. I would love to hear some of your stories. I am sure they are hilarious.

      K@ri - It was bizarre while I was experiencing. I kept laughing to myself because it was so strange.

      May - Ok now that is people watching in style! I enjoy being pampered and listening to other peoples stories. Thats why I like going to the nail and hair salon too bad I don't go more often.

      Feline - That is so true, I do get to people watch at home. My kids are interesting to watch. I also love going to their school and watching all the kids interact that is pretty funny too.

      Cindy - That is so cool. I love it too. I like trying to figure out if a person is really interested in talking to another person that can be really fun.

    • cindyvine profile image

      Cindy Vine 8 years ago from Cape Town

      I admit it, I'm addicted to people watching, especially at parties and social gatherings. I love picking up the little nuances here and there

    • profile image

      Feline Prophet 8 years ago

      I got into people watching as a journalist and now it's become second nature. People do the darnedest things! TM, with three little people at home you don't need to go out of the house to people watch! :)

    • mayhmong profile image

      mayhmong 8 years ago from North Carolina

      Its a good thing that drunk dropped that bag! He doesn't need anymore?! If you love watching people, you need to come and get your nails done in the Wal-mart shopping center. There you can sit in the pedicure chairs and watch what shoppers had loaded up in their carts. Not to mention having to hear the children crying and register beeping a thousand times. I kinda gotten immune to that.

    • k@ri profile image

      Kari Poulsen 8 years ago from Ohio

      I love people watching also. That's a bizarre story about the guy stealing condoms. I enjoyed the pictures, made me feel like I was watching from home. :D

    • Laughing Mom profile image

      Laughing Mom 8 years ago

      I love to people-watch!! I started a hub about some of the funny stuff, but never finished it. This was better than anything I would have done. I love the stealing condom story! That's hilarious and curious at the same time.

    • Tom Cornett profile image

      Tom Cornett 8 years ago from Ohio

      Cool Hub...I love to watch people is amazing what you can learn by simply is also amazing what we can feel by watching. Thanks! :)