Deep Thoughts with Heather McBride

People Watching (verb): An activity where one individual watches another individual for amusement. The individual being watched usually does not know that they are being looked at. No connection to stalking.

There are some people who sit in a spot in a fairly public area and watch people. But not just watch them, watch them trip and fall. No? You don’t do this? I’m the only terrible person who does this? Good to know you are all moral elitists. Well, since I’m the only one who does this, I’ll use myself as the example.

I sit in this one spot outside quite a bit. Cafe tables all around with a bunch of seats, but everyone is sitting alone. So, I’m sitting there alone and notice that this one spot in the ground dips a little, then goes back up sharply, unapologetically. I notice this because I have tripped on this exact spot too many times to count. I know it is there, but every time without fail, I stumble. And this is not a graceful sort of tripping in any way: this is more like a baby giraffe learning to walk.

The amount of time between when you can be a hero, and the time in which you realize that you are a terrible person, feels like it could go on forever.

I sit there, watch people approach the dreaded spot, think about saying something, consider the volume that my voice has to be at for the person about to trip to hear me, think about the energy that it would take to reach that volume and determine if I have it in me or not, decide that I don’t want to cause a scene, change my mind again and think about how good it will feel if I saved them from momentary embarrassment, think about if they died in front of me, think about if I am the fight or flight type (I’m probably the flight type), decide again that I don’t want to cause a scene and before I know it my chance for heroic triumph and a parade being thrown in my honor is gone.

They fall, I laugh because I’m a sucker for some classic physical comedy, intended or not. I look to see if they are dead or not; they are alive and continue on their way, seemingly unaffected. I realize that I just wasted a ton of time thinking about a person that didn’t even know that I was sitting there. In my defense I was mostly thinking about myself, but it was surrounding the idea of another person.

If I can leave you, dear reader, with one final thought, it would be to act quickly and fall gracefully because people are most likely watching you.

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