by The Urban Blabbermouth
I like people-watching. Some others watch Keeping up with the Kardashians reality TV show, but I prefer the real thing, watching the people around me.
This morning, I am loitering on a street corner, in front of Starbucks, sipping my coffee. I watch a sea of humanity stream out of the Subway across the street into the station's courtyard. So many people. The stream comes in waves lasting two minutes or so. It’s as if the train is having the heaves and is coughing up passengers.
The first thing I notice is everyone reaching for their cell phone as they emerge from underground into the sunshine. Gotta check for messages just in case it's the end of the world and someone must save it, like the teen-age girl always does in a disaster movie.
I watch a pair of blonde women holding hands as they exit the station. They look pretty and professional in their light grey suits and white blouses. I take them to be finance types, bankers maybe? They intimately kiss, much lip touching, the kind you only see with new love, then each goes off in separate directions. This is the new normal in America.
A young black woman drops her scarf as she crosses the street. An older white man calls out, “Miss!” He struggles to pick up the scarf - his beer belly paunch in the way - and hands it to her. She smiles and thanks him. We have terrible race problems in America but there is still lots of kindness too.
A Chinese woman splits from the crowd crossing the street, and approaches me. She is middle aged, slender, and short enough that I can see the top of her head and her thinning black hair. She looks up at me, hands me a business card, and says an accented, “Where?” It’s for some home health care office nearby. I guess that her English is poor, so I point towards the backside of the building, saying "two blocks," and gesture two fingers in a V. I hope she gets it. She says, “Thank you, thank you,“ and walks on toward the back of the building.
I am not the only one watching the crowd. The police are there too, a Sergeant and three officers, standing near the station's exit. They are wearing puffy bulletproof vests that make them look like barrel-chested body builders. Their riot helmets remind me of the ones skateboarders wear - round with slots on the side and probably on top too for cooling air to pass. They are armed with rifles, M16s I think, slung on their shoulders with the muzzles pointing to the ground. It’s a position from which they can instantly swing up the rifles and shoot if necessary. Another new normal in America -- police officers on city streets who look like soldiers in a war zone. This is a mirror of Israel's city streets.
Inevitably, my people-watching turns into girl watching. It’s at moments like this that I appreciate the sartorial splendor of women in short skirts and women, including the thick women, wearing spandex leggings to work.
A parade of pretty women walk by. I wonder if pretty girls are lonely. It’s the idea that beautiful women attract handsome men and unless you are handsome, don’t bother. This intimidates guys that the girls would have welcomed to approach them. You rise to your level of beauty or fall to your level of ugliness. How do I think up such strange notions?
The women are guy-watching too. It's fair. One or two look me over as I look them over. Wonder what passes through their minds, “Hmm, yummy!”
My reverie is disturbed by a couple arguing. They are yelling at each other. The lady screams, “Take a look at this pussy,” and she pulls up her tee and pulls down her sweat pants. I see lady bits that I should not see. She flashed so quickly it’s all over before I can take a picture. I am guessing the man has other female interests and the lady wanted to remind him what he would miss after she threw him out.
My cell phone chimes in the midst of this excitement. Work calls. It’s a text of my daily To Do list from the Company.