Alix Kunkle: People watching isn't a bad thing
We all do it. Don't lie and say you don't, because I know you do it.
We all people watch. We do it when we're in any public situation. Sometimes we even do it from our office, our car or our homes. We watch people.
There's a difference between people watching and snooping around or spying on people. If we're snooping around on someone, we're doing so for a reason. We want to find out something specific, such as if so-and-so is cheating on his wife.
People watching has no real motive behind it. There's not one reason why we people watch. Some do it to find that "feature creature." You know, the person who goes out looking like a baboon picked out their wardrobe for them. Their clothes don't match, they don't fit and they sure don't look acceptable for the situation.
Just take a trip to a local mall or super retail center (you know the one I'm talking about), and there's the person who wears the shirt that is three sizes too small, pajama pants and Birkenstocks with socks. If you still don't know what I'm talking about, you really need to brush up on your people-watching skills because "feature creatures" are quite prominent across the U.S.
Others do it for conversation. Maybe this applies to the shy folks or the bar-goers, but it still counts as a reason. Many of you have probably tried to start a conversation with that good-looking guy or girl at the bar by making a simple comment about how drunk the guy beside you is. I'm not saying it works — if I had to guess, it probably works 60 percent of the time, every time — but you've tried it before.
We also do it because we're bored. We got stuck going with that one dreaded in-law to the store, and they're trying to tell you every single little thing about their life. We don't care for what they have to say, so we try to do something — ANYTHING — to tune them out. So what do we do? People watch.
We see that person stocking up on toilet paper or looking "cool" standing at the magazines. Sometimes it gives us a chuckle. Other times, we want to run and hide.
Everyone has their reasons for people watching. It's just something that we do. Sometimes, the only reason is because it's more fun than a barrel of monkeys.
There's no shame in people watching. Sometimes it can help us. We can be tipped off on something big, such as a criminal picking up trash trying to make a break for it, just through some simple behaviors.
I people watch, too. If nothing else, it helps me smile when I'm having a bad day.
Alix Kunkle is the News Editor of the Leesville (La.) Daily Leader. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.