People Watching | Teen Ink

People Watching

January 27, 2014
By ramfthomas4 PLATINUM, South Bend, Indiana
ramfthomas4 PLATINUM, South Bend, Indiana
26 articles 1 photo 98 comments

Favorite Quote:
“If the present world go astray, the cause is in you, in you it is to be sought.”
― Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy


New York and people watching are synonymous. Drinking coffee and people watching- also synonymous. A person sitting in a New York corner coffee shop facing the windows is unable to restrain himself.

Laying aside day old newspapers and trashy tabloids, I and my fellow caffeine addicts gaze into the crowd. For some reason there is a particular air of camaraderie. We sit in the warmth of the shop, pitying those who rush hither and thither betwixt work and home and hair appointment. Though our drinks are varied, lattes, cappuccinos, frappes, we all seem drawn to the same people. A pregnant woman pushing a stroller, huddles over her toddler and her belly, sheltering them from the icy wind. A man with a confident stride, briefcase swinging, cell phone glued to ear, who suddenly stops, pulls out a wallet, and hands a hundred dollar bill to a homeless man. I swear we nearly cheer. When the light changes and people stream across the street, our attention is uniformly captured by a trim, youngish man, hat pulled over his ears, shuffling across. As we watch, he takes the arm of an elderly woman and helps her across the street, arm under her arm, between her and the glaring car lights. But our smiles are suddenly broken when his hand dips into her bag and disappears inside his coat. Without a word a big burly man by the door stands up, plunks a twenty on the table, and opens the door. We hold our breath as he steps into the pedestrian traffic right behind the young man, then grabs his arms and pulls out a pair of handcuffs. We smile. The light changes again, propelling a new stream of people by the windows. A chilly teenager, hands in his front pockets, cigarettes in his back pockets, angry at the world. As we watch he kicks a light post, a trash can, and a curb. He takes shelter right next to the door of the coffee shop and pulls out his phone. After a minute he curses and jams it back in his pocket. Simultaneously we think “break up.” A long car pulls up to the light, gleaming amidst the slush. The chauffeur sits crisply in the front seat, in the back Marilyn Monroe pulls on a pair of panty hose. At least, that’s who it looks like in the second before the light changes. A man close to the window whistles, his wife slaps him. They leave, him bent over, arm around her apologetically. She walks with her face pointed away, feigning anger, but with her hip pressing against his. Slowly the coffee shop empties until the baristas are the only ones left. One turns to the other. “Did you see?” “Yeah, that was so sweet!” “But that guy in the corner…” “He was fighting a hangover. What really got me was the boy, you know.” “My sister goes to school with him. He used to date…”

New York and people watching are synonymous. Drinking coffee and people watching- also synonymous. A person sitting in a New York corner coffee shop facing the windows is unable to restrain himself. Baristas included.



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This article has 2 comments.


on Mar. 10 2014 at 2:46 pm
ramfthomas4 PLATINUM, South Bend, Indiana
26 articles 1 photo 98 comments

Favorite Quote:
“If the present world go astray, the cause is in you, in you it is to be sought.”
― Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy

Thank you so much!  I'm glad you think so. :)

on Mar. 10 2014 at 3:42 am
liveloud70x7 SILVER, Private, California
6 articles 0 photos 34 comments

Favorite Quote:
“You do not immortalize the lost by writing about them. Language buries, but does not resurrect.” --john green

"self-consciousness is the enemy of all creativity" --ray bradbury

"We suffer each other to have each other a while." -Li-Young Lee

this is great! light and enjoyable to read, and also a commentary on the way people are. you're a wonderful writer.


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