Thursday, May 07, 2009


One of my favorite things in the world is to watch people. It seems I write about it here often; whenever I seem to sit in a coffee shop or Panera (my current location) or the like, I end up documenting my interesting observations. Tonight for some reason, my senses are just heightened by the scenes around me and I'm enamored by the beautiful, tangled, delicate world around me.

Here are some of the things I've witnessed tonight:
  • "The Catbed Crew" - I'm naming the group of ladies sitting to my right "The Catbed Crew." I still have no idea what kind of organization or business they represented, but these middle-aged women were planning some sort of big event. I overheard them saying they needed to get home to feed the animals. And on the table next to the 6-8 of them, there sat 3 of those fuzzy beds that cats can lay in. No cats, just the catbeds. One leopard print, one tiger print, and one cheetah print. I wanted to ask, but I thought the mystery of it all would be more entertaining.
  • I'm also witnessing something that I think is absolutely beautiful: an entire familiy or group of people in conversation with each other, engaged in community with one silence. They're speaking in sign language. They have two small children who don't appear to be deaf (because I can hear them), and I find it beautiful. I love thinking about their lives, wondering how their family functions and operates at home on a dailiy basis. It's a beautiful thing to witness other languages, including sign language.
  • To my left, a mother sat eating with her two daughters who were also doing homework and taking turns on the phone speaking to their father. It was almost obvious from the conversations I overheard that the girls' parents were divorced, and this weekend they were going to spend with their dad. Mom seemed hurried, rushed, and a little frustrated. She thought it was time to get going and even said "You're going to see him tomorrow" to quickly end their conversation. I felt sad for the girls, the mom, the dad. I wondered what kind of situation occurred, how the girls' lives were affected, and if the mom was unhappy. Thankfully, I never came from a home of split or divorced parents, and I can't imagine the difficulty and stress it incurs on the parties involved.
  • In front of me, a mother sat with her teenage daughter and elementary-school-aged son who was practicing his spelling. They were having a really good time giving him words to spell, and the teenage daughter was making him spell a funny sentence. I loved their laughter, but even more, I loved how it reminded me of my own childhood and how I used to make everyone give me words to spell. FYI: I was quite a spelling champ. I placed 6th in our county in 6th grade. Unfortunately I got out on the word "mandatory" (yes, a word partially based on my own name...I replaced the second 'a' with an 'i'). I distinctly remember sitting in my Grandma Mary & Grandpa Don's little kitchen asking for difficult words to spell. My favorite word to spell was antidisestablishmentarianism. I still like spelling it out. :)
  • My other observation has nothing to do with people, but yet everything: the weather. All day today, it was beautiful outside in Lincoln-80 degrees and sunny, and I was in the office all day. (Insert your pity here...) Upon leaving work, I decided to drive to Springfield to drop some clothes off at a consignment shop and get out of Lincoln for the evening. I knew the weatherman was predicting severe thunderstorms for tonight, but I'm fearless and continued on. So what happened? Not twenty minutes down the road, I had to pull off of the interstate due to crazy hail. (I laughed; I always end up driving in a snowstorm, thunderstorm, etc.) About ten minutes later, it passed and was suddenly sunny and I was wearing my sunglasses again.

Whether it be the weather's temperamental nature from sunny to storming or witnessing a family in stressful circumstances next to a family laughing about spelling words, I've observed the world at two extremes in a matter of hours. A family who may have once struggled with the inability to speak and hear audibly overcame with a genuine, warmhearted sense of conversation and community. Even the women planning an event for their animals and cats in beds all brought different personalities and characteristics to the table.

There is such an art in the intricacies of humanity. People's lives are colorful, creating such a beautiful painting that might sometimes appear to be like cans of paint splattered carelessly onto a canvas. This world really is a colorful world. I love that my observations help me see the bigger picture.

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