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People Watching...

I take at least 20 trains a week now, but often more (this coming week it'll be more like 40 thanks to visits all over town to meet Metro Access Officers in several different councils). I have also formed the habit of getting to Southern Cross station with about 20 minutes to spare before my train to work from there so I have time to have a real coffee - well, often it's a mocca, but let's not get too pedantic - - and sit watching all the people walking by on their way to work or wherever. Most people are walking away from the station than to the station at that time of the morning (about 7.40-8am).

All this time in trains and at train stations gives me one of my greatest joys in life... People watching.

I'm keenly aware that one day I won't be able to see people anymore. Already, their features are blurred and so I'm mostly watching blobs of colour walk by - though I see clearly enough still that I see arms, legs, general clothing, whether a man has a beard, or if a woman is wearing high heels. I just can't tell you if the person is wearing glasses unless their frames are dark, or if their faces look happy or sad, or impassive.

I have come to know some of the people quite well, the ones who walk past every day. The casually put together young Classics lecturer, the very stout office guy who always seems to be running late, that woman in the bright red coat over nought but black - every day, black, no other colour except the red of her coat, like a uniform for no workplace I've ever seen.

I also see trends. Men are currently carrying old fashioned satchels. The vinyl laptop bags have all but disappeared, and in their stead there is a parade of brown leather school satchels from the 40s and 50s. The brown satchels are not matched to the shoes, in fact, there seems to be some sort of rule about not matching the bag to the shoes. Brown bag = black shoes, black bag (much less common) = brown shoes. Brown shoes do seem to be very popular, though - with any colour suit. Men are all wearing pointy shoes. Pointy shoes are very sexy - sadly, the faces at the opposite end of the body are more often disappointing than satisfying.

I've become a little obsessed with how women walk. Specifically how they walk in heels. Most women seem unable to walk upright in heels. They walk with an awkward knees bent, bum out, shoulders forward balancing act going on. As if their can't find their centre of gravity. The percentage of women who walk properly upright in high heeled shoes is quite low. The issue seems to be that the awkward women put the ball of their feet to the ground first. Maybe they're afraid the heel of their shoe will snap off. They try to tiptoe along and then the heels hit the ground at the same time as the toe of the shoe in a 'clop, clop' horse shoe fashion. This is all good and well for horses, they have four feet and a steady centre of balance. Humans, not so much.

As these women pass, I can't help but think of Daisy Duck.

Something else. 

It is true about sitting on trains and everyone around you has their face in an electronic device, but one morning last week I looked up (not from a device) and saw that of the 15 or so people closest to me that I could see well enough, only two were engaged with electronic devices. One man was glued to the screen of his iPhone, and the other had earbuds in.

Everyone one else was either sitting in a waking dream state, reading a book, or chatting with someone. So, I guess we haven't yet gone to hell in a hand basket.

That said, this was unusual enough for me to be surprised and fascinated by - sort of like seeing a rare animal in the wild.


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