A View From The Corner
WHO NEEDS TELEVISION? Who needs movies? Who needs any form of traditional entertainment when you’ve got people walking around? Every day, free of charge, there is a non-stop parade of the Human Animal passing by in all its variety. I almost said, “Passing by in all its Glory,” but Glory is rare in humanity. Variety is a better word to describe the people I see every day.
People Watching is more fun than Movies or TV. With the actors on the screen, who are always good looking and mouthing someone else’s words, they are following a Director’s commands. Their moves are predictable and rarely surprising. However, the folks wandering in front of my astigmatic eyeballs are anything but predictable and continue to surprise me on a daily basis.
While I sit in the corner at St. Arbucks struggling to wake up there is a constant flow of people lurching through the door in search of caffeine and sugar to start their hearts.
Because it is cold outside the customers have to decide what to wear before venturing out. Some defer that decision until later in the day I think. How else can I see the reasoning behind going out wearing pajama bottoms, a tank top, and flip-flops when it is 33 degrees out?
Then there are others who go off in the other direction.
“What should I wear today? Hmm, I can’t decide, so I guess I’ll just wear everything I own.” They are beyond being warm. They are half cooked.
All too often I see people coming in the door who found a “look” that they liked and they are going to stick with it come hell or high water. Every morning I see a woman who found her “look” in the 1980s. It may be 6:30 AM, but she is wearing skin tight jeans with enough fake rhinestones and fancy stitching to make Dolly Parton blush. Up above she has a top that must have been rescued from the dance floor at Studio 54. She has her long red hair piled up on her skull to the point that I suspect that there must be some structural framework in there. Picture Marge Simpson, but with red hair instead of blue. I’m sure that she is a wonderful person who loves puppies and never plucks off a grape or two while passing through the Produce Section at Kroger’s. And I’ve never heard her say a discouraging word.
While she is living her life her way I see others who make me wonder, sometimes out loud, “What is their story?”
I see the local businessman who has his hair cut in a style I can only equate to something I once saw in a Japanese movie about some 17th century Samurais. How this fellow wants to wear his hair is his business. He may not even be Japanese and he does run an excellent Pizzeria. I see it all as his very own miniature Culture Clash homage.
I know. I know. Who am I to be critiquing the way other people dress and present themselves? On most days I am clad in Workboots, blue jeans, and either a truly gaudy and offensive Hawaiian shirt or a sweatshirt. On my head is a thinning thatch of graying hair under my San Francisco Giants baseball cap. I admit it – I look like a refugee from a Senior Citizen Slo-Pitch Softball League.
When I comment on the people I see through my cataracted lenses I am not trying to denigrate them. If that was my intent there would be no doubt about it. No, I am celebrating the Free Spirit in them that lets them feel loose enough to be themselves.
To paraphrase the incredibly late Hunter Thompson:
“I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence or insanity to anyone, but they’ve always worked for me.”
People are people. They live according to whatever rules work for them. For me its coffee at a corner table, a pen and paper, and a sprinkle of sarcasm.