Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Caught in the Act of Looking

This afternoon, I had a few spare moments as I was waiting for by bus, which wasn't scheduled to arrive in 45 minutes (and they profess that Portland has some of the best public transportation in the country. Cha!). After having been to the Farmers Market and purchasing some local spinach and zucchini, I thought it wise to sit down and read a textbook for my history class. So I found a nice bench, under a massive well-established tree and cracked the book open. But I became distracted because there was just too much to see.

Instead of being the studious student, I decided I would quietly observe life on my bench. So, here is what I saw today between 1:00 and 1:30 in the park blocks.

Several people walked by in either Dansko clogs or Keens. Very Portland.

A mother and her young-questioning-son passed. I overheard a sound bite of their dialog.
Mom: "Well then we might get a ticket."
Son: "What happens when you get a ticket?"
Mom: "You have to pay a lot of money."

Approximately five people walked by talking to a device in their hand: the cell phone.

A middle-aged man with walking shoes, khakis and a beret strolled by. His hands were in his pockets and he looked directly at the ground when walking.

Pigeons pecked the brown bricks searching for remnants of perhaps...a french fry.

I made eye contact with what was most likely a student at PSU. She looked away and so, then I did too. But then I was reminded of wisdom an older relative passed onto me. When making eye contact with strangers, relax. Don't look away in shame as if to say "Sorry that you caught me looking at you." Looking at people shows and interest in people...and I am interested in people, so it's all good if I look at them and they catch me. So after I remembered that, I smiled at people who caught me looking at them.

As a full-time, working student, I rarely get time to literally stop at smell the flowers, or in this case, sit on a park bench and quietly witness life taking place right in front of my eyes. However, my bus did eventually come and away I went.
Watching people is fun; you should try it.

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