Everyday Voyeur

People are so fascinating. In my many trips to coffee shops over the course of the past year plus, I have spent much of my time staring just above my computer screen, under the false pretense of working on something, but instead, just watching the lives of others happen in real time. There is a peace in observing others, their concentration, their ticks and watching their faces break into smiles or fall into frowns. As someone that reads very little, much of my understanding is not from books or the internet, but in people and their most subtle behaviors.

Do you ever take the time to stare at a singular object, and allow your periphery to capture the movement of life around you? Like a steady cam in locked position, it’s an amazing thing to allow your eyes to capture the constant nature of being. If you focus enough, while allowing your mind to open, you can see the slightest of movements. Whether it’s fingers dancing across a keyboard, a leg beneath a table, twitching to the beat of a tune, the tilting of heads or blinking of eyes as someone processes information of ponders an idea, we are all vessels of incessant movement, and it’s a beautiful thing to bear witness to.

As someone not particularly religious, I also can’t help but examine the shared space and moments of us all. We each have our circle of friends and family, a radius of life that is perpetual – in words, in pictures, in personality, people that are intertwined in our space and existence. But sometimes I stop and look around, and see the intersection of lives of strangers in public spaces. Even now, as I type, there are about twenty people within twenty feet, working on their computers, talking to friends, conversing with old acquaintances, and we are all here, together. Our lives, for these moments, brought us in the same place to share this small, unique space. There is a bond, a connection we share, by our lives being at this local coffee shop at the same time.

It’s at these moments, like when you look up into the sky and see the many stars and planets or look down below at a stream of ants, and see how insignificant we are, and yet, how we together, we are part of something bigger. Life is a nearly infinite set of connections, like a charted network, so full of lines that it appears to be a completely filled in. I don’t know if that makes sense, or why that brings me calm, but to me, it’s part of what makes living such a fun experience.

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