Monday, August 2, 2010

The Balance Of Interest

I think I've spoken of my habit of reading to pass the time while on public transportation. I've also mentioned how I sometimes have trouble focusing on that. I do have other things that I end up doing with that time. The phone now does many things to occupy me, sometimes even when I'm on the subway, where signals cannot penetrate (unless the operating agency springs for infrastructure which allows it to). Sometimes I get too drowsy to do either of those things, or I'm too preoccupied with making sure I don't miss a stop on an unfamiliar trip. I choose one alternative to reading more often than any of those, however: people-watching. It's most often practiced at places like the beach or the mall, but I don't spend a lot of time in those places, and I enjoy indulging in harmless voyeurism as much as the next law-abiding decent person.

I often want to cast people in a film. Sometimes I contemplate casting an entire film with people from a single bus or train car. Sometimes I see the same random assortment of people as something like an unspoken, surrogate family or circle of friends. Let's say I'm on a train. Each stop compels me to say goodbye to some, but hello to others. Naturally, I hope for the exchange to be a favorable one from my point of view. I turn towards the doors, looking to see who among the strangers I have gotten used to seeing I'm losing, and what fresh faces I can count on seeing for at least the next couple of minutes. It's often bittersweet, and sometimes just bitter when the car loses some good ones and gets no one good back.

People catch my eye. I fall in love often. Many types of women provoke that reaction in me, and perhaps not all of them are the conventional sort. I tend to be prepared to make allowances for a lot of things. I'll admit to often being too shy to make a move, but can see no way of getting the job done in the time between stops as the Red Line rushes along underneath Hollywood Boulevard. I would certainly like to sometimes. In any case, I don't. A women I've developed a fast crush on gets up, exits, and my heart sinks.

Of course, it's all a kind of fantasy. I suspect that acting on many of the thoughts that form as I casually glance around the bus or train car would result in undesirable consequences, the least of which would be a momentarily bruised if not broken heart on my part. Tangible injuries would seem to make the emotional sort easy to get over. What I'm sure of is that people-watching is a woefully underplayed card in the general campaign to get people to leave their cars at home and start using public transportation. Sure, it's good for the planet and often eases the stress of traffic and parking, but those are not the emotional trigger that is love at first sight.

No comments:

Post a Comment

What say you, netizen?