One day, many years ago, mankind was created. We could spend all day debating how this happened, whether some sort of slimy creature crawled out of the ocean and decided they would rather walk on two legs, build civilizations, and create marvels of human creation like the pyramids or the Big Mac, or whether some divine creator, in a momentary lapse of judgment, thought that humans would be a great idea. Either way, we were here.
From that time, we began to divide ourselves into two very different camps. Camp one is full of people who tend to forget how society should work. These people’s brains often seem to lack basic functioning. They will do things that most people in the world would deem “very bad ideas.” The second group is everyone else. For some reason, all they want to do is watch that first group, basking in every bad decision that they make.
This separation has created a world where reality TV runs rampant as group two watches the admittedly disturbing lives of Honey Boo Boo, 28 seasons of The Real World, and real housewives from every metropolis area within the continental United States. It causes people to buy issues of People so we can find out whether or not Kim Kardashian is cheating or has been cheated on. More often, though, it leads us to an activity called “people watching.”
The premise of “people watching” is simple. A person will head to a heavily populated area. Once there, they will find the most inept looking individual and wait for them to do something that is considered dumb. Then they will proceed to tell all of their friends about the stranger that they were watching and how they spent 25 minutes debating with the cashier at Burger King on whether or not breakfast is still served at 11:30 (It is not).
Yes, it is does sound like a very rude activity, but there are worse things a person could do. Dealing drugs or murdering people come to mind very quickly. I would even say it’s better than most white-collar crimes. In comparison, “people watching” is great!
This is the logic I had backing me up as I headed to the Nashville Hot Chicken Festival this last week. It was a rainy, terrible day full of mud and standing water. The rain was coming down as I stood in line for some spicy chicken tenders. Tromping across a field, I landed in a mud puddle so deep that I believe there was a danger of drowning in it. I headed to the one relatively dry place, a large tent with far too many people and far too few tables. I stood at a table (Apparently those who organize festivals revolving around spicy fried chicken feel no need for people to ever sit down. It’s probably for the best as the chairs might have sunk so deep into the mud that there would be no choice but to leave them as artifacts for a future civilization.), and basked in the single moment of being dry I had experienced since leaving home.
As my wife and I discussed how the chicken was not that spicy, me doing my best to hold back tears, a group over at the edge of the tent began to cheer. They were screaming and clapping, one guy pumping his fist as if he thought this was 1990 and he was watching Arsenio Hall. We ate, watching and wondering why these gentlemen were so excited. No doubt one of their “bros” had done something very brotastic. It was probably a fart or something.
A man came to our table and, seeing us staring, decided to enlighten us. “Oh, they’re watching a couple of people get arrested outside,” he said.
This disturbed me. That meant that the people I had been judging and watching were simultaneously judging and watching others. There could be someone that very second staring and watching me, thinking I must be a big stupid idiot and planning on the fun story they would tell their friends about that big stupid idiot that was at the chicken festival and all the dumb things he did. Perhaps there was a full cycle, the people being arrested looking at the people looking at me, thinking “At least we aren’t those guys!”
Maybe at any given moment, every single person in the world is being watched by another person. We aren’t observing as much as we are being observed, all of us like those tiny adorable spider monkeys at the zoo. Even they’re probably watching and making fun of us. “Oh, they ALL go in that ‘restroom.’ I mean, just fling your feces like a normal person would do. Ugh!”
We headed out the front, past the couple being arrested to our car where I vowed to hide in a windowless room the rest of my life. After washing my feet in a puddle (they were very muddy) we hopped in our car and headed home.
Man, I really hope no one saw me wash my feet. That would definitely be something to make fun of.
- People Watching (jamaiquina.wordpress.com)