I’d love to have the freedom to say what I wanted. Even as a kid I was so well behaved that I never really spoke out of line. I’m sitting in Costa, partly reading, partly Tweeting but mostly people watching and judging. I love people watching. Always have done. In fact, some of the best afternoons out have been me and a mate sitting in a coffee shop window, commenting on the people walking by. Rude, sometimes crude observations, but always something that would raise a smile.
There’s a woman who has just walked in who has hair similar to that of an Action Man. Short and suede-like in appearance. My initial thought was that she was a female action man. That swiftly moved to guessing she was a lesbian followed by a wondering whether she’d had cancer and that’s why her hair is short. I’d really love to ask her why she feels that’s the best style to have, but common courtesy and manners dictates there’s no way of breaching this subject, so instead I’ll just sit here, tapping this out on my phone and hoping that she doesn’t have a magical way of knowing what I’ve written.
She’s sat down next to me and has taken the place of the previous occupant of the seat who I quickly pegged as a weirdo bag lady. This was based solely on her wearing an overcoat and being on her own.
Then there’s the couplets of women dotted around. Mums with babies meeting friends, smartly dressed business women acting like Alpha Males, retired women gossiping about nothing. There’s so much to read into here, and no doubt I’d never get close to guessing what some people do when they leave, but it’s still fun.
It’s good to see the chemisty between people too. The couple that are drinking lattes while maintaining a negative body language towards each other. They were probably madly in love with each other once, and now that has changed from “in love” to just “love”, a subtle change of wording with a massive change in perception.
There are friends, obviously extremely comfortable in each others company, sitting openly and idly chatting. Conversely there are friends talking and looking downbeat and extremely uncomfortable with each other.
Then there’s me. A guy who hasn’t shaved in a week, reading a book called “How not to grow up”, sitting in a seat long after I’ve finished my coffee. I have a rucksack with me and a coat that’s drenched through from the downpour I got caught in on the way to work earlier. I have two mobiles with me, one personal and one work, and as I sit here judging others, I can only wonder what everyone makes of me.
I’d love to be able to ask, but people wouldn’t be honest. Even friends tiptoe around what they really think most of the time, revealing weeks, or even months later something you said or did (or didn’t say or didn’t do) that annoyed them. And they couldn’t say anything at the time because they didn’t want to hurt you or didn’t want the confrontation. Which is a shame, as the one set of people you’d want to be immediately honest with you are your close friends.
If only the whole world were more honest, open and accepting.