I am a people watcher. I make no apologies about it, and I’m going to keep doing it. So there.
I people watch as I do my paperwork at the coffee shop. I usually sit at an out of the way table in an area of the shop where no one really notices me, and you’d be surprised at what I see.
That short man with only a tuft of hair circling his otherwise shiny head? Lawyer. No doubt about it. His skin is pasty white from endless hours in the office and he has a perpetual scowl on his face as he hurries from wherever he came from to wherever he is going. His dark suit, white shirt, understated tie, and over-stuffed briefcase give him away.
The woman sitting at the corner table sipping tea with her eyes closed is a teacher. Her hair is in need of a trim, her clothes are comfortable and a bit disheveled, and she looks tired. Really tired. She could be confused with a stay-home mom if you’re not a savvy people watcher, but the clue is the small handbag on the table. The mom would have a large bag with all sorts of kid paraphernalia sticking out the top.
That tall man over there, the one with his nose up in the air – he’s a banker. One of the old boys. I know this because I worked with enough of them. They dress in tasteful business casual style and they’re seldom in a hurry. They never smile. Unless their bank shares are up.
The guy with the laptop at the other corner table is a work-from-home information technology expert. He has his own business and does very well, although his appearance wouldn’t indicate that. I just know because I’ve talked to him. Come on. Sometimes you have to satisfy your curiosity and strike up a conversation!
The pretty young lady at the round table by the fireplace seems to be deeply engrossed in her file folders and notepad. But she looks up every time the door opens, as if she’s waiting for someone. She isn’t, because she’s been sitting there for almost two hours and you’d think whoever it was she was expecting would have shown up by now. I think she just wants people to notice her.
The high school kids. A half dozen or more of them come in every day on their lunch break. They push tables together, move chairs around, and eat their bag lunches. On occasion, one or two of them may buy something from our menu. We kick them out. They keep coming back.
The mommy’s club meets on a regular basis. These ladies do not have a formal organization, but they might as well. They show up at 8:35 after they have dropped their kids off at the nearby school, and they stay until 11:10 when it’s time to pick them up. Every day. Medium soy sugar free vanilla latte and a blueberry bran muffin. The order never changes.
Then there is the endless parade of construction workers, insurance people, college students, seniors, and nannies who come in, pick up their coffees, and leave. You don’t get as much time to observe them, but you can figure out a whole lot about them if they are regulars.
Come on over and say hi next time you’re in. I’ll be watching for you.