I am first and foremost a story teller, which makes me inherently a people watcher. I can’t help myself. I listen to the way they talk, I watch the way they move. I pick up subtle clues that non-writers miss. Perhaps being more in tune is something in my DNA, I don’t know. Lots of times, the stories I concoct never leave the confines of my head. They rattle around in there, offering entertainment and inspiration. But sometimes they find themselves dashed upon paper, building the skeleton of a character in my story.
How often do you look at people? I mean really look at them, devouring more than their physical appearance. Do you ever look into their eyes and see the sorrow hiding there? Do you watch the way a smile plays across their face, concealing their discomfort or unhappiness? Do you ever look beyond designer purses and freshly pressed clothes to see the sinew and the muscle holding their core together? Of course, I mean that figuratively.
I suspect most of us hurl along through time and space so wrapped up in our own everyday lives we never make a moment to imagine what someone else is going through. That waitress that forgot your toast – she just might be juggling a job and a sick parent. The guy who cut you off on your drive to work? Maybe he was headed to a hospital to hold the hand of his dying spouse. The child who threw a fit in the middle of the store, refusing to cooperate just might be missing a parent who no longer lives at home.
Take a moment. Don’t react, just watch. If you see an opportunity to do a good deed, swoop in and make someone’s day. Read the stories on the faces around you. It’s your chance to be a better human.