This has to be my favorite thing to do in public, and something I taught my kids to do too. We all want to be aware of our surroundings but there if a fine line to being aware and really watching. People are interesting, if they weren't social media would have died out already. Watching a persons actions, movements and how and what they say can tell you so much, even in a small amount of time.
When me and my kids go out to eat, we always pay attention, the staff, the customers, everyone. We love to make back stories for each person we observe. The smallest gesture, can fill in the details, we are not just going around and judging people based on how they dress. We are trying to make an educated guess based on how they present them self and body language.
At a local place in our small-ish town, you tend to recognize faces and a few people just from the community. There sits a couple we haven't seen before, she was pretty but in a simple way, her hair a dirty blonde neatly tucked back, each hair in place, her outfit looked well planned, her face smooth with very little makeup with bright green eyes, her voice soft and calm. Her, I assume boyfriend, was decent looking as well, he was tall and lean, dark hair and eyes, his voice gruff and very sharp he was wearing a wrinkled navy polo and sweat pants, he seemed to be irritated with his softly spoken girlfriend. They were seated close enough to us it was impossible not to hear the conversation, well his side, she never got loud or even to a normal speaking volume. She would ask a question and he would just bulldog her, mocking her questions/statement. Her body language had changed from the time they were sat to the time the food arrived, each table about the same time. She sat there looking at her food, her shoulders are drawn up tight, and her lips pinched at each side, chin down and just seemed so sad. He sat there with attitude and legs spread/man spread, his arms outreached on either side of his plate. Neither were eating, he just kept looking at her with a disgusted look on his face, eyebrows wavy, lips pulled together and her holding back tears.
We looked around the restaurant to see if anyone else had noticed this uncomfortable lunch for the young couple, and everyone was too busy with their table and food, they were looked over, we weren't just sitting there with our eyes locked on them but we were most certainly observing them. He pushes his plate back, "I'm not eating this shit" and got up and walked outside where he stood near the window smoking and watching her. She picked her head up and slowly started to eat, the waitress came over to ask if they needed anything, the young girl, slowly lifts her head, and very sweetly asked for the ticket and a box for his food. The young girl left the money on the table and got up to walk out. She stopped and turned around looking at my table with me and my 2 kids. I started to think, oh shit. Did she notice us having a social experiment.
She walks up to our table to apologize for his bad words in front of my children. I look her in the eyes, and tell her, "you should not be at my table to apologize for something you didn't do nor had control over. You never said an ill word or even anything that should have made for an apology. But you need to value yourself more than he values you." A tear runs down her pale face, as he paces outside the window looking at her talk to me and looking at me with a hateful look. (he was a little punk ass) She wipes her tear and thanks me before walking out the side door where he was waiting, they get in the car, he makes her get out of the driver seat as he jumps in. She walks to the other side, still near the window were we are seated. She slides in, and slowly buckles up, he is yelling and screaming, based on his face you could tell. She lifted her head up to make eye contact with me. I peering back at her, I felt such sadness in her lunch date as they pull away and drive off. I never got her name or ever saw them again.
After they were gone we were about finished with our meal, all three of us sat there talking about the sadness she showed. Our people watching lunch had been heavy on our hearts that day and we decided we would add something else to our people watching "trips" we didn't go out just to observe those around us it was an added bonus, or distracting from my issues with people in the masses. So we started random acts of kindness. I will continue people watching post as I go.