People Watching

I may not like people talking to me but I like to be around people. I like to watch them. Not in your average,

“Look at that weirdo! I’m glad he’s not sitting next to me. What’s he wearing? A couch cover as a muumuu?”

Anyone can do that. That’s making general observations and tearing someone down for the sake of it. Did they notice the caked on plaster over his cuticles and the fine puff of plaster dust that floated off the arm of his shirt when he cuts into his meal? What about his equally off beat looking companion? Did they notice the clay under his fingernails with tiny fresh and many long healed burns on his hands? Did they hear them talking to the bartender about the latest sculptures they sold? No, they were too busy talking about the obvious to pay attention something like that.

Its why I’d rather be off on the edges watching. Its easier to observe than when someone is monopolizing your attention with talk. My attention was drawn to a woman who looked like a Shar-Pei drag queen. Her hands like crepe paper streamers. Her voice the consistency of nails rolling in a coffee can. She was grinding on about some slight or another when I noticed she was wearing a gold and diamond necklace that had to reside in the neighborhood well over ten grand. The loose, spinning, ill fitting rings on her tree branch fingers lived in the same monetary vicinity. I was surprised her crinkled hands could lift their weight.

When she left, getting into her brand spanking new BMW, the bartender told me her husband died over the winter leaving her more money to add to the millions her five other dead husbands left her. She lives in beachside apartment buildings (two, one north and one in Florida as far as it was known) where her hobby was buying apartments as they became available. But only on the top floor.

“She got back from Florida a couple of weeks ago. She said she recently met a fellow down there.”

A paper mache black widow.

Then there was a mid-thirties couple next to me. I couldn’t hear what they were talking about but their body language said they were trying to get into each other. I could tell the guy was dressed in what he thought looked good when he was 25. The woman didn’t work as hard to appoint herself but she had her cards on the table. Her jewelry was also real but not in the area code of the black widow.

At first their voices commingled. Connecting. For the first hour they were next to me he was polite, attentive, listened. Then whatever he was drinking hit him and it all changed. The effects of drunk personality is different for everyone. Some become quiet, some testy, some fight, some talk to themselves, some to others. This guy became loquacious, braggadocios, obnoxious. A non-stop dropper of syntax and syllables, parables and paragraphs.

The louder he got the more people he tried to draw into their private thing. He was going to show her he knew how to get a party started. But it was obvious what he was turning into a sextet she would have much preferred to keep a duo. But it was a losing battle. He was on his way to building a drum and bugle corp.

While he was working the horn section she turned her head and looked at me. She shook her head was all she said. Then she slowly smiled figuring out more in the last ten minutes than she had in the previous hour. I looked at her and she correctly read my expression.

“He sure talked his way out of a blow job, didn’t he?”

“Forever.” She said laughing and tossing her phone into her purse.

He didn’t even notice when she left the bar.

And the band played on.


3 responses to “People Watching

  1. ” Her hands like crepe paper streamers.”- freaking brilliant man!

  2. yeah, damn nice piece Zell!

  3. Notre Dame & Bound and Gags Fan

    Knocked out by this great writing. So real. You have more than a ‘gift’, Chris, you have talent. Thank you for letting us in on the world you see.

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