An unexpected gift of 5 minutes…for some random people watching

Occasionally there is a benefit to drinking coffee slowly… the end of an ‘exciting’ work meeting discussing human resources issues, I was the one who still had half a cappuccino going tepid in my cup, and the boss waved me back to my chair and told me to stay in the coffee shop and finish it….I wonder if he knows how long I can stretch a cold cappuccino out for…..

Every so often, people watchers have the chance to stop for a few moments to indulge themselves in their chosen sport of “People Watching” – not yet an Olympic qualifying pasttime……but one undertaken by a large number of people..interestingly, the majority of people watchers I know are women….

I love ‘people watching’……seeing people taking their lives for a walk to the shops, to the airport……hearing their exclamations of delight, surprise, annoyance. A man pushing a bright yellow pram, the woman sitting on the edge of her front yard vegie garden on the phone with a cigarette. A young man who had set up his camp bed on the grass outside Rushall station and was just waking up after a cold night of Melbourne drizzle. An African man facing away from Mecca and praying at dawn.

Melbourne airport on a Saturday morning…..people catching up with those they haven’t seen for ages, all hugs and backslapping, all manner of persons of body shape and fashion affliction going past, children sporting light flashing soles on their tiny sneakers (I guess that’d be so that you don’t lose them at night….I used to put a flashing light on the dog’s collar so that when he was wandering around the 1 and a half acres in the pitch black of a country night, I could still find him.)

A child's eye view of Melbourne airport

….watching the ebb and flow of the foot traffic walking past from my not-so-lofty perch on the floor in the Virgin Australia terminal..sharing a small child’s perspective of the world with the innocence that goes with it

…..a young woman with bright purple hair, women with nose rings, a tall young man with a reddish ZZ Top beard and a hoodie hanging off his head as if he were a hatstand. That one over there surely must be a model, with legs that go on forever, at least 6’3″ tall, long blonde hair, and a good looking bloke carrying her toiletries bag bringing up the rear…or at least with a good view of it……I notice that skin tight jeans are back in…but most of the people wearing them shouldn’t be….do they not have mirrors or live with people who would advise them not to ‘go out looking like that’!! Or has political correctness gone too far??

It’s raining this particular morning so they are not making passengers trudge through the puddles on the tarmac…everyone loads through the front door, and loading takes an eon! When I was a kid in Canberra we had to walk across the tarmac if we wanted to board a plane…they didn’t have bridges in ‘those days’…then they banned the practice….I used to enjoy taking the dogs to Darwin to the Royal Show…we’d fly from Melbourne to Adelaide for the first leg, they’d unload the passengers and the cargo…dogs out first and their crates would be hoisted onto the trolleys and there they’d sit, supervising the luggage handlers. I could usually hear one of my two dogs shouting …Cadence had a bad experience once on a plane when they slammed the hatch behind him and hadn’t forgotten…and wasn’t going to let anyone else forget either!!! So he used to shout a lot…and for a long time….so I’d be off the plane….everyone else would march obediently, following the yellow lines, into the terminal and I’d make a break for it, duck around under the front of the plane and make it to the trolleys, sitting swinging my legs like a big kid, talking Cadence down from his dislike of flying and chatting with the baggage handlers who loved meeting dogs on the flights…..until airport security would track me down and make me go inside with the rest of the passengers….. What spoilsports!!!! Those were also the days that you could talk your way into the jump seat in the cockpit of commercial planes before the world changed on 911…… Landing uphill in Darwin at night was an amazing experience……a runway extending out in front of you as far as the eye could see….

The bloke next to me on the flight from Melbourne to Brisbane was speed reading?..or pretending to..I thought that fad, first introduced in the 70’s, had died a natural death, but apparently not …he read 3 chapters of a book on International Management – maybe that was why….it wasn’t interesting enough to read slowly?.. On the flight back we had a double booking of seats…always interesting to watch the flight attendants attempt to juggle an entire plane to make sure that everyone got the seat they should have…now if the rather large young lady with the tattoos, black and white striped hair (a Collingwood supporter maybe?) with the baby and the bag of McDonalds had got out of everyone’s way, the whole exercise would have been over in the blink of an eye…but as it was, we were 20 minutes late taking off…gotta go now, my 5 minutes is up!

…as the byline of random people watchers goes…”Stay Tuned for the Next Random Episode”!!



In the words of J K Rowling..... ” I just write what I wanted to write. I write what amuses me. It’s totally for myself. ” if you enjoy what I write, I'm delighted...if you don't...then I'm delighted..... I'm a retired business manager chasing storms and weather in Australia and the USA, photographing anything that takes my eye, and catching up on my reading from the last 23 years. I've finally got the chance to share my thoughts with the world.
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One Response to An unexpected gift of 5 minutes…for some random people watching

  1. andrealb2013 says:

    thanks Jane…. I am already enjoying your travels as a voyeur! If I can’t do it myself, at least I can watch !!!!


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