Monday, August 30, 2004

People ... People Who Watch People

I like people-watching. I do this a lot, even while I'm driving the stupid little half-rusty Escort home from work and I should be watching the road a little more closely because I'm in the smallest, least trustworthy car on the road.

Today I spotted a man walking from one parking lot to another in a small shopping center area along Route 65. He must have been around 50, perhaps a little older. He was dressed in this odd assortment of clothes that just made absolutely no fashion statement at all. I didn't think that was possible until I saw this man today. I mean, everyone's dress makes some sort of statement about them, even if it's "I'm a total dweeb," or "I couldn't match my clothes properly even if they were on Garanimals hangers in my closet," or perhaps "I don't look like the kind of person you want to get too close to without a medium-sized can of Mace."

But this guy was making no statement at all. I couldn't figure out how he dressed himself. Oddly, all his clothing looked clean, so I didn't get a sense of thriftstoreitis about him. But nothing made sense. He was wearing rather white (okay, glowing) sneakers, the kind someone would wear who participates in athletic activity at least once a ... year. But he didn't look like he participated in so much as a chess match in the park with the old guys on Tuesday afternoons.

Above the sneakers he wore a crisply pressed pair of gray Dockers, but with too much pleating in the front to suit him well. Plus, with the sneakers, the overly neat Dockers just looked, well, out of place.

Above that was a silvery, shiny zip-up jacket. It had that '80s tacky look that made me think back to the bad ol' days. (There weren't many good ol' days for me in the '80s. Long story. Let's not go there. Suffice it to say none of it had anything to do with Ronald Reagan, though.)

Under the silvery, tacky/shiny jacket was a red T-shirt with some sort of writing on it. Just a regular-looking red T-shirt. A little bit wrinkly, in fact. And the writing on the shirt was worn, as if perhaps it was a favorite shirt worn and washed so often that it showed its age and then some.

He was carrying a paper bag sideways under one arm and something that could have been a large car part under the other. I don't know why. He didn't look like he was walking to his car. He was out near the road, just walking. Who buys car parts (large ones, at that) for cars they don't have, or, at least, don't have with them?

To top off the look (or lack of it), he wore a red baseball cap on his head -- backwards. Now, I'm sorry, but no one over 12 should wear a baseball hat backwards any more, and no one who's not into hip-hop. This guy was instantly disqualified on both counts.

And yet there sat the ball cap on his head -- backwards. Defiantly backwards. And yet he didn't even know he was defying anything. I could tell. He just put the hat on that way.

While sitting at the traffic light staring at this guy, I fleetingly thought perhaps this guy had a story. I'm a writer; I should be able to figure out this guy's story, or make one up just as good.

Just as I was contemplating the possibility of his alter ego being LL Cool Walter or something, the Alpha Romeo Spider behind me beeped. The light had turned green. I hate when that happens.

I've been home from work for two hours and I still haven't figured this guy out. Do I lack imagination, or does this man defy description because he fits into absolutely no category?

Ehh, he's probably just as boring as he looks, that's all.

Meanwhile, I'm still struggling with Novel #2 (tentative title Don't Ask). The story is there. I just have to pluck it out of me. (And suddenly that sounds incredibly painful.) The stuff I do for my art.



Blogger Me said...

I just started this whole "Post Comments" thing on this blog, so I'm running a Test Comment to see if it works. And to get the ball rolling. I could end up regretting this.

7:31 PM  

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