Saturday, February 10, 2007

Same Same...But Different

I like people-watching.

(Hemi-demi-semi non sequitur alert: it always makes me chuckle when I read something like "I enjoy people watching." Oh, the pitfalls of non-hyphenation! But maybe they do mean precisely that whenever they write that. Perhaps because they're exhibitionists?)


I like watching people. Whether I'm sitting alone in a café (smoking section), walking along the beach, riding the bus, whatever. Someone catches my eye for some reason, and I find myself making up stories about him or her in my mind. Sometimes I imagine what life must be like for them (which isn't very hard for me to do at all, even if I have them within my line of sight for just a few seconds).

More often than not though, I try to envision what's running in the person-in-sight-and-attention's thoughts at the moment. Is that waiter counting in his mind the number of tables he has to clean before he gets off work, so that he can go meet his girlfriend? Is that scruffy-looking guy who's humming Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds as he sips his cafe latte at the next table thinking about getting a haircut or is he wondering what it must've been like to attend a Woodstock concert? That tall woman striding forcefully in the street, pausing to hoist her big backpack and trying not to look she drinking in the marvels of a new city while battling with the need to go to the toilet, or is she wondering what the hell she's doing there in the first place?

(Click on the pictures for larger images. They'll open in a new window.)

Is he thinking about how fast he's going, or whether he can go even faster? Of the next trick he can pull to help him get better at what he's doing? Hoping for even stronger wind? Anticipating a beer later in the evening? Is he even thinking about anything at all, for that matter?

Is he wondering what the hell they're doing walking in the street and if the sidewalks jampacked with vendors' wares and other stuff will ever be cleared enough for pedestrians to use again? Is he pondering the possibility of being run over by a motorbike, or is he impervious to their sight, smell, and sound?

Is she thinking about striking a blow in the name of the fairer sex--womanhood--sisterhood, in a sport presently dominated by men? Is she wondering about ways she can make money from doing this? Or is she simply feeling the thrill, the adrenaline rush, that dancing with the wind, sun, and sea can bring?


All over the world, we're all the same somehow. We cry, we laugh, we feel, we reason. We rejoice, we get hurt. We bleed when we're wounded. We doubt. We believe. We complain. We give thanks. We hate. We love.

We pee, we shit, we fart (the only exception being the Queen of England--who Yaxlich claims pays people to do those last three things for her).

Same same...but different.

Yet, though we do and feel the same things generally, there's always a difference--no matter how slight--in the level and intensity of our beliefs, actions, thoughts, and feelings. Is the glass half-full or half-empty? Are we all alive, living, as we breathe, eat, and drink? Or are we part of the walking dead? We are human, but are we humane? Whether fat or thin, black or white (or brown), able-bodied or handicapped, learned or illiterate, sunburnt or with deathly-pale skin, we are homo sapiens--physiologically similar but worlds apart when it comes to attitude, intellect, and mental, emotional and spiritual maturity... strangers and kith and kin alike.


Anonymous said...

I like the last pic, same same ...but different
Coincidence of purposely?
However said that, we are all in a say same and different
There is so much in the same category as you speak of, we are all humans
But then when it comes to so many other things such as emotions, attitude and other stuff like that, you can really see a difference, individualistic I presume

Lizza said...

ZI!!! Thank you for your thoughtful comment. We are all the same...yet different. :-) Isn't that great?

Sebastiane said...

Everyone is the same and the only thing that differs them from others would be their actions, thoughts and also responses towards certain things in life.

Watching people is definitely nice and somehow you would realize that there are many things that can deceive your impression of them after finding out certain facts.

Have a happy weekend!

Lizza said...

Thanks, Kyels. We react differently to different things--good or bad. Also, lots of times we don't have the luxury of getting to know people more because they (or we) pass like ships in the night. Kinda fun to imagine certain scenarios, though. :-)

Have a terrific weekend!

Rachel Schell said...

very true! what a great post. I love to wonder what people's lives are like and what they are thinking at that moment.

life is crazy....

Schmoop said...

Well written as always Lizza. Love the last picture. Now go drink some beer and enjoy the weekend. Cheers my friend!!

Liz Hill said...

I am so glad you are back. What a great post. I love to people-watch. And I too imagine their lives. I do it in the car when I have to ride and not drive. I look at people in their cars and try to figure out what they are thinking, what their lives are like. I thought I was the only one who did this.

I love the pictures. I am so glad you have revealed even more of the beautiful you.

Now drink some new beer and have a great weekend!!

Odat said...

I do the same thing.....

Scott from Oregon said...

Yes, but did you ever realize that all those strangers that you watch have often thought "I wonder what SHE'S thinking? I bet she's trying to figure out what I am thinking. HA1 I'M TRYING TO GUESS WHAT SHE IS THINKING! I BET SHE NEVER THOUGHT THAT!"

You are nothing more than background movement for everybody else's life...

lastlifeinmyuniverse said...

ahhh welcome back chica :)

very thoughtful post indeed. thank god for differences ;)

ps: i love that picture of you and your son. that is.. your son right ?

H said...

LAAAAAAAARVERYLY Lizzaaa! good to get a glimpse of you yet again.


people watching IS fun, however cliched it is. But what's better still is: not attributing a fully-functional brain to those one gazes upon. You feel so much better about yourself na.

yikes. are you judging me?


disregard that last bit eh?

Ashley said...

I'm the biggest restaraunt eavesdropper of all time!

Lizza said...

Rach: It's good that life is crazy. Otherwise we'd die of boredom! I've missed your posts...heading off to your part of cyberspace in a few.

Matt-man: Thanks! Beer...mmmm. The heart says yes, the belly says no. Oh, the choices we have to make! :-D Cheers.

Turnbaby: Thanks! Watching people gets the creative juices flowing sometimes, doesn't it? Kind of some sort of mental exercise. :-D Cheers!

Odat: Seems like a lot of us are not-quite-voyeurs. :-D Happy weekend!

Scott: Haha! No no no, I'm a chameleon, I fade into the background. Nobody sees me when I people-watch. :-D

Deb: Thanks! Yep, that's my boy...who seems to be growing taller every day.

H: I'm not above being bitchy when I watch people. But I think snarky thoughts only about those who piss me off for some reason: a customer who's rude to the waitress, a guy who seems to pause at every piece of glass he comes across to gaze at his get my drift. :-D

Lizza said...

Hi, Ashley! Welcome to my site.

Ohh, the things we overhear at restaurants can be so hilarious, sad, or annoying. Interesting how people leave parts of themselves with strangers. :-)

y.Wendy.y said...

Oh Lizza - what a fab post!

Yes I people-watch too...avidly. And I also make up stories about them.

We're all human all the same but all different. I have been thinking about a post along these lines myself, for weeks, and you said it better!

houseband00 said...

Hi Liz,

I sincerely love this touching post!

I also love watching people (lait). =)

Natalia said...

Oh I am totally a people watcher. It's fun and free and it gives you insight.


thethinker said...

People watching is a great way to combat boredom. Great entry.

Steven said...

The only thing I hate about people watching is that it forces you to come to terms with the fact that most of us are fairly unimportant in the grand scheme of things.

Wow...that was depressing...

Did I type that? ;)


Lizza said...

Wendz: Thank you very much! It's a crazy, diverse world. It'd be great if the differences were causes for celebration, not for hatred.

HB: Thank you! I know it's mean, but kakatuwa manglait minsan. :-)

Natalia: You're absolutely right. Doesn't cost a cent. :-)

Thinker: Thanks! Aye, a convenient, hassle-free way to prevent boredom it is.

Steve: Awww, we're all important to somebody else. Maybe not in the grand scheme of things, but that's ok I think.

Hey! You can write a serious thought! Who would've thunk? ;-)

Migs Bassig said...

Lovely piece!

We're all the same, indeed: your readers unanimously confess to liking people-watching themselves!

Thank you for this post. Cheers! :)

Lizza said...

Thanks, Migs. Hope you're having a good day. Cheers!

CS said...

I people-watch all the time. But I think in those cases of the people sindsurfing, they are thinking nothing but "woohooo!" At least, that's all that is in my brain when I'm rafting or skiing or anything like that.

Lizza said...

"Woohoo!" is a terrific thought. :-D