Photo by Anima Visual / Unsplash

People Watching

thoughts Mar 27, 2024

My wife and I have this fun little game we love to play, which I affectionately call "What's that story?". We're both big fans of people-watching (who isn't?) and whenever we do, we can't help but weave intricate tales around the individuals we see.

Take, for instance, that man over there, patiently waiting. We imagine he's been stood up for nearly 20 minutes now. Why? Well, maybe his wife got stuck at work with some urgent report her boss dropped on her lap last minute. Her phone's dead, so she can't even text him, but she's hustling to wrap things up so she can join him. Okay, it's a bit goofy, but you catch my drift.

This storytelling can take on a life of its own as we ask ourselves, what's their story? Why might they have chosen that? What do you think they value most? It's not just about entertainment but can also work for insight. One thing that I noticed recently while we were watching was that our stories are not just reflecting what we see, but also what we think and who we are. As I build the story what I value or my assumptions and beliefs shape the stories themselves. Why did I choose that detail to be part of the story I'm creating? What other choices might have been available to me?

It was an interesting introspection as I dug more into myself and my own narratives starting from the ones that I was fabricating about those around me. How often are the stories we tell ourselves just projections of our own experiences, biases, and fears?