As much as I dislike people, I enjoy looking at them. Maybe it's the artist in me. Maybe it's my natural curiosity. Maybe it's just a weird fascination. Whatever the reason, I often find myself observing people — old, young, male, female, tall, short — across a wide variety of body types and ethnic make up. Humans are an unusual bunch. And, because of my daily route of travel, I am exposed to a diverse assortment of people in their natural habitat — the city. After many, many years of study, I have come to one very jarring conclusion: People are sad.
Every day, for the past seven years, I have taken the train to and from work. The train is a great place to watch people and I have watched them closely. I have seen any number of women — dressed in power-wielding, business-executive suits — sit in a train seat and apply a full face of makeup from an open, amply-stocked palette of cosmetics resting on the seat beside them (a seat normally reserved for another commuter). When they are through administering the final touches (a dabbing away of stray smear of lipstick or the removal of an errant clump of mascara), they look sad. Not stunning, nor attractive, nor intimidatingly corporate, but sad. I have watched as men thumb absentmindedly through a newspaper — their hair unkempt, their neckties askew, a stain on a lapel, a time-worn briefcase on their lap — with a forlorn expression upon their weary faces. Not one of joyful "I'm ready to close a major deal!" or jubilant "Today's the day I get that promotion!," but one of sadness and grief.
As I make my way through the train station on my way to my office, I pass hundreds of sad faces. Some dressed to the nines in suits that I could never afford. Some in dirty, inappropriate-for-the-season outerwear clutching a shabby bag of their meager worldly possessions. I see people yammering into cellphones and others talking aloud to no one in particular.
And none of these folks look the least bit happy.
C'mon! Cheer up, everyone. Things could be worse.
Not much, but still.