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People-Watching 101

Written by Dr. Jacqueline B. Sallade, Community blogger | Dec 10, 2013 9:12 PM

I spent many hours on airplanes and in airports today. Besides being a psychologist, I pride myself on being a natural sociological participant observer. Lots of people are. All it means is that I'm a people-watcher. (Sometimes, there's conversation involved, too.) It's fun, interesting, educational, and even fulfilling, sometimes.  I'd like to share some of today's observations.

A very happy widow with a few good friends has made a life for herself in a new home. She pursues an engaging hobby and spends no time whatsoever on self-pity. She's visiting her children for the holidays but looking forward to going back home, too.

A famous football player sits in first class, holding his wife's hand, focused on their time together, whether or not he's also thinking about his game.

A gas-drilling worker on his way to work out of State admits that he's turning the environment into "Swiss cheese" and polluting it, so that he and the company can make mucho bucks. He feels guilty but wants to provide for his family and future.

A woman wearing a head scarf prays toward the East for half an hour in an internet carrel, leaving it then with a broad, satisfied smile.

People watch each other's stuff when they take turns going to the bathroom or getting a snack, rather than lugging around their carry-on items.

Some people work on the phone and the computer in transit, making deals, arranging meetings, and giving instructions. They look and act productive more than stressed.

Flight changes and gate changes rattle very few people. Some people worry about missing a connection but, once they do, they adjust to their new flight plan.

What are my conclusions? There's something awesome (and I mean it, really, as that word is abused so much) about the variability, flexibility and human kindness of humanity.

I spent many hours on airplanes and in airports today. Besides being a psychologist, I pride myself on being a natural sociological participant observer. Lots of people are. All it means is that I'm a people-watcher. (Sometimes, there's conversation involved, too.) It's fun, interesting, educational, and even fulfilling, sometimes.  I'd like to share some of today's observations.

A very happy widow with a few good friends has made a life for herself in a new home. She pursues an engaging hobby and spends no time whatsoever on self-pity. She's visiting her children for the holidays but looking forward to going back home, too.

A famous football player sits in first class, holding his wife's hand, focused on their time together, whether or not he's also thinking about his game.

A gas-drilling worker on his way to work out of State admits that he's turning the environment into "Swiss cheese" and polluting it, so that he and the company can make mucho bucks. He feels guilty but wants to provide for his family and future.

A woman wearing a head scarf prays toward the East for half an hour in an internet carrel, leaving it then with a broad, satisfied smile.

People watch each other's stuff when they take turns going to the bathroom or getting a snack, rather than lugging around their carry-on items.

Some people work on the phone and the computer in transit, making deals, arranging meetings, and giving instructions. They look and act productive more than stressed.

Flight changes and gate changes rattle very few people. Some people worry about missing a connection but, once they do, they adjust to their new flight plan.

What are my conclusions? There's something awesome (and I mean it, really, as that word is abused so much) about the variability, flexibility and human kindness of humanity.

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