Tuesday, March 24, 2015

somebody's watching me

My wife likes to watch people. At times, I have caught her, sitting across from me in a restaurant, paying more attention to the conversation in the booth behind me than to the one going on at our table. In her defense, she has known me for thirty-three years, I'm not the most interesting conversationalist and I tend to repeat myself, but still.

I. however, like to watch other people watching people. Because I am a daily train commuter, I see a lot of people. And I see a lot of people watching other people. I see it a lot.

Just the other day, I saw a group of three or four people, possibly co-workers, gathered on the train platform. One member of the group was telling an anecdote about an earlier meeting or relating a funny story about something that happened over the weekend. About three feet away, a guy with nary a hair out of place, rimless glasses perched on the bridge of his nose, dressed in a tailored suit and holding an expensive-looking leather briefcase, stood and hung on to every word of the conversation. He chuckled aloud at the funny parts and cocked his head to one side during some of the lengthy backstory set-ups. He even shook his head in disbelief at the payoff.

I watched him, not paying close attention the actual story, despite the teller speaking loud enough for everyone to hear. I may have even been staring at the man. But, he didn't notice. He was busy concentrating on a conversation to which his participation and inclusion was not invited.

It was the second time in as many days that I witnessed such blatant eavesdropping. A young mother and her son were waiting for the train. The boy was babbling excitedly about all the things they saw during the day. The mother smiled and a woman, a foot or so away, began laughing and nodding her head as though she was another family member. It was very obvious that she was not travelling with the mother and son. She was just sticking her attention in where it was not asked to be stuck.

Wait a second! Am I just as guilty? I don't think so. I am just quietly observing. I am not participating.

But, I'll bet someone is blogging about me.

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