Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Airports and ERs

A few weeks ago I hated flying (fatigue cycling -- watch that wing bounce). Now I really hate flying. However, I love airports (and I'm not the only one) because of the type of people you find there. I still remember this one tool salesman from several months ago -- it was 6:00 in the morning and this putz guy was all up in his Blackberry. But his early morning trilling to the east wasn't what made him special. It was his bottle of orange juice. Every other second he'd uncap it, take a swig, and recap it in one red-bull quick move. Fascinatingly inefficient, IMO, and a great idiosyncrasy.

Another interesting place filled with interesting folk, though you wouldn't be there unless injured, visiting someone injured, or just a wee bit morbid, is the ER. Had the misfortune to visit one last week when I was imagining this post. The common thread, methinks, between an airport and an ER, is that they cater to all-comers and, in general, most of those comers are suffering through some degree of misery, which tends to reduce inhibition and other social filters, allowing for great observation opportunity (hey, if you've got to be there, might as well multi-task, right?).

What about you? Do you have a place you go (or wish you could go - injury free, of course) to people watch?

9 comments:

L. T. Host said...

Grocery stores, or WalMart. It sounds silly, but people revert to caveman when they go in those places, I swear. It's a really interesting study in human behavior.

Same with driving, though it's less obvious-- it's interesting to watch what people do when they think there's no consequences because they're not face to face with the person they're being rude to. Not that that stops them in grocery stores...

Matthew Delman said...

I've got 6.5 years of retail experience behind me, and I totally agree with L.T. You want to see the nitty-gritty nastiness people perpetuate on each other? Go hang out at a grocery store for a few hours.

Or a restaurant, for that matter. People are horrid to anyone who works in the service industry. I like coffee shops where they allow you to sit for awhile and watch the people that come in and out. It's fun to make up stories about them.

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

Coffee shops! Multitasking at it's best. :)

p.s. feel better.

Taryn Tyler said...

I spend more time than I would like at bus stations but use the opportunity to observe absurd people. Also Grocery stores scare me.

Rick Daley said...

I've done my share of travel for business, and airports top my list. I like the anonymity, and the contrast...especially in big airports. In Atlanta it always seems that you will see someone sprinting to catch a flight, and they will be passing someone who is sleeping because he/she missed a flight.

Bane of Anubis said...

LT, Oh, yeah Walmart's definitely right up there.

MD, 6.5 years -- better man than me... I did telemarketing for 6 weeks once... non-profit... still wanted to find a nice high window.

SKQ, that would probably be the one reason I'd start drinking coffee... just to blend while observing :)

TT, I remembering riding the metro as a kid and when not crammed into a tiny space Japanese style, there were some great characters to be seen.

RD, despite my appreciation for the cesspool of life at airports, I am constantly thankful that I've never been required to travel much. A bunch of my colleagues who aren't contractors constantly have to fly to Taiwan... it'd be a tough pill for me to swallow.

Jemi Fraser said...

I work in a school so people watching is always an option :) I love places where you get a wide variety of people - and unexpected situations happening in them are always fun too!

Bane of Anubis said...

Jemi - that would be one of my fave reasons for being a teacher... beaucoup source material :)

Anita Saxena said...

Love those airports! he he
I'm embarrassed to admit this, but when I was in college/grad school, the folks in the ER knew me by name. I had become a regular with my frequent bouts of figure skating injuries, basketball mishaps, slicing my finger open on crystal door knobs....the list is never ending.
I also like observing people at coffee shops, eavesdropping on their conversations when I should be writing fictional ones.