I arrived in the airport with an abundance of time to waste. What was I going to do with it? The ancient art of people watching of course!, I felt well equipped to embark on this sociological study and decided it was time to put what I learned to good use.

I sat down with my complicatedly ordered drink at the airport lounge. And as I watched the panic of families being late for flights, the men on their smart phones being not-so-smart and ignoring their women, security guards sick of the war on terror and vicious looks they had to give people who gave them dubious looks back. It’s all cyclical you know, it all comes full circle. I noticed everything from flies not being done, to flies on the wall. From little kids and their monster behavior, to little bitches and their monster heels. From dropping money on the ground, to dropping money on the most absurd things. As I laughed and shook my head at the ridiculousness around me, I looked to my far left and saw a woman laughing and shaking her head while flipping pages of a book. I couldn’t make out the title of the book. I wonder who she’s waiting for? What’s this woman about? I’ll people watch and investigate.

She had amazing hair. Big beautiful eyes and perfect teeth and super deep dimples. Lethal. Wonder if she had braces? She had a red, white, and blue scarf around her neck. Flight attendant? Corporate? Hard to tell from the angle I was sitting in. She looked strong, opinionated and sophisticated.

A few hours had gone by, just like a few drinks had gone down, and she was still there. She didn’t look at her watch once. And I never saw her eyes anywhere else but this book. She had all my attention; everything and everyone else just seemed like a blur. Very intriguing and mysterious.  The suspense was killing me. I had to find out more. Dig deeper. Just as I stood up to find a more strategic location, a group of people crowded the area between us. I lost sight of her. The Tokyo flight had just arrived and people flooded the area for food and bathroom stops. I tried shoving myself through the Tsunami of people but it took what felt like hours to get to where this woman was sitting. I finally got to her table, but she was gone. Nothing but her scarf and the book, which was opened to the final few pages. She’d bookmarked a page towards the end of the book with a receipt from the book store. I looked at the cover. ‘People Watching’ by Desmond Morris. The page she bookmarked had pen written on it. I began to read it:

You come off as kind of high handed you know. Do you think you’re the only people watcher here? You think you’re the only one who finds solace in coming to crowded places like these when they want to get away? Don’t play the victim card, wanting attention here or anywhere else for that matter. I see right through you; people see through you. And I’m sorry if that comes off as nasty, I am trying to change. But change is hard isn’t it? Please don’t get me wrong, I know the struggle is real. But you’re making a lot of assumptions. And in all that thinking, over-analyzing, over-processing, you should have just thought about keeping it simple. Spontaneity right? You may just need to re-invent yourself. You’re too predictable, and it’s easy to spot. I had you pegged as soon as you arrived here. Look at you, looking at me, trying so desperately to find answers for what you want. You have no idea I’m writing all this down in the book you think I’m reading, which by the way, you should read. It’s excellent. You could learn a few things. Good luck finding what you’re looking for.  – D

A confused and anxious feeling came over me. I gulped and looked around nervously to see if she was around, looking for clues or anything. But nothing. She disappeared just as quickly as she appeared. I began to understand what I needed to do, and what changes I needed to make. A moment of self-reflection, turned into timeless lesson. For that whole time I was confidently observing the world and passing judgement, I was the one being watched. And she, she was…The Watcher.