People Watch
Off the Wall, January 04
, 2013

Did you ever give thought to the idea that when we watch others for one reason or another, they may be watching us as well?

I think a lot has to do with how we conduct ourselves, clothes we wear and in the case of travel, what we are toting behind us.

I’ve always taken interest in what I refer to as “People Watch,” for no other reason just to see how others conduct themselves.

Recently, I had the stay-over at the Tampa, FL, airport where I had the pleasure of viewing men, women and children being themselves. One side of the room off to my right, two playful children were running about doing more than looking at the aircraft on the tarmac. They would approach the windows, leaning against them with both hands, each trying to outdo the other using hand motions to climb the window. One would just use his palm and digits while the other, the older fellow, would climb the pane as though each digit represented spider legs making way in an upward direction. To me, the observation was pure joy.

The use of cell phones has boomed since my travels to St. Louis several years ago. During my “people watch,” I had no trouble hearing conversations of travelers calling home, checking with loved ones, or general chit-chat to pass time. In my opinion, this has increased ten-fold. It’s s funny, but it’s hard to imagine how things were before the “electronic age.”

My excursion this trip took me down to the Florida Keys, Key West to be exact. I was invited to my nephew’s wedding on the beach. Talk about observations concerning a cross section of dress, or should I say undressed individuals. I’m sorry, but I am one gent who does not approve of scanty women’s attire. I won’t describe what I saw. I think you, the reader, already has some idea, and it wasn’t to my liking.

I realize strangers don’t clothe themselves for my approval, for 99.8% of them didn’t even take into account that I had eyed them walking by or lying on the sandy surface near the water’s edge.

When I returned to Latrobe, I had mentioned the fact of the “unsightly” spectacles of these young ladies, and I received comments from young to middle aged men I didn’t expect.

“God created breasts to be admired, you know,” was one statement. Another was similar, “What you were looking at was God’s creation. If He made a woman’s body, then one can’t consider it bad to look at,” and third, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” Somehow, I always receive the latter with the interpretation of one way or the other. Just to set the record straight, I disagreed with most the comments.

I am one who believes that God created breasts not to be an object for men to stare at or an eye catcher, but something designed to feed the young. I also believe if they are to be admired at all, it should be between two married individuals, a man and his wife and vice versa, period. Women should do their part as well, dressing appropriately, both on the street, in church, or on the beach. In my eyes, it doesn’t speak well of a female who shows off as much of flesh as possible. That’s degrading and to me, a real eye sore.

Moving on…

But my “people watch” doesn’t always occur at airports, not to mention train or bus stations. Much can be learned by watching interactions between a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship. You’ve seen them I’m sure – holding hands, nestled together on a pew in church, for example, or sometimes walking with arms around each other. Sometimes they make spectacles out of themselves. Sometimes people like that, others don’t.

I asked one fellow recently why he doesn’t address the young lady in public as “sweetie” or the ever-so-popular Latrobe area’s “honey.” After all, they have been dating for around seven years now, if I can remember. He told me he does so at home. Now, that’s special. On the other hand, I have observed one fellow almost treating his gal like a slave, expecting her to always do as he wishes, not considering her needs or wants. It’s enough to make a grown man cry.

This all comes down to the statement I made in the beginning. “If people knew I was on “stand-by,” observing their every move, would they act the same or differently? Who knows, their act may be more “proper.” How is that for a word?

- Paul J. Volkmann
Contact me by email

To buy my book, Off the Wall Favorites, call me at 724-539-8850.