The word ‘roam’ is used nowadays in connection with mobile phones. However, there was a time when the word ‘roaming’ referred to wandering about here and there, on the prowl for something, or taking a relaxing stroll around the neighborhood park. Roaming can be the best available thing for getting rid of stress-causing problems: and it only costs a little bit of time out of the daily routine, and nothing from the pocketbook, hopefully. Add people-watching to this activity and there’s humor galore awaiting.
My two favorite places where I think people-watching is fun are busy buffet restaurants and shopping malls where there are plenty of people to watch, and plenty of opportunity for a mind to be taken away from the problems of the day.
There are all types of people passing by. There are people who are short, tall, skinny, fat, obese, morbidly obese and beyond; nicely dressed, poorly dressed, and barely dressed. There are people who are energetic walkers; those who need a walking cane, and those who are bound to a wheel chair. There are mothers with young unhappy children, and there are adventurous and daring folk who planned to rendezvous with a stranger they just met on one of those internet dating services, and there are tweens and teens talking about school matters and such. All are livng life as they see it, and most will end up having a good day.
People-watching at the buffet restaurant is curiously interesting and includes hearing conversations from those seated nearby. Some are boring and some are captivating enough to qualify as a soap opera.(I remember once when I wanted to know how that person’s problem turn out.) There are discussions about a so-called-friend that no one likes, an aunt or uncle, the children, coworkers, the boss, estranged spouses, and the sports game the night before.
There are people who stereotype other people. When they see an overweight person go to the food bar, they expect to see that person come away with a plate piled high, but that is not always true. Some overweight people are not overweight because of food and beverages, but because of a long rehabilitative period of illness, or a problem with their thyroid, or an active tumor taking up space in the body.
Skinny people are expected to hardly fill their plates with food, and that, too, is not always true. There was a skinny man at the buffet who could not get enough of fried chicken wings. This man had two plates on his table; one stacked high with chicken wings and the other to hold the bare bones stripped clean of the meat. Anyone could see that he loved chicken wings. He ate two additional servings, and the restaurant manager never asked the man to leave (as far as I could tell).
On the other hand, there is something to keep in mind about skinny people if you ever go to a deli for a sandwich. Consider selecting the overweight person to make it. I’ve had the experience where a skinny person made my sandwich and it was skimpy on everything except the bread, and I rejected it.
The busy environment of a shopping mall is noisy for people-watching, and not as peaceful as a restaurant although just as interesting. A stranger might sit down next to you because they, too, are seeking relief from something and sometimes a conversation ensues. It is at this time that you might hear a person’s whole life story, or about a problem at home. While seeking relief from your own problem, you get to hear about someone else’s problem that is far worse than your own. You get to help that person simply by being there to lend an ear.
People-watching is a time for reflection; a time to rethink those stressful things that seem insurmountable. At the end of that hour, go home with a different attitude or perspective on things in life. Be grateful to be alive, and make a commitment to practice random acts of kindness whenever opportunity presents itself. “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your wrath”(Ephesians 4:26).
Seeing more clearly,