Thursday, April 5, 2012

I Was In 8th Grade Today

I took a really fun drama class in 8th grade.  I know, it was only 8th grade, but it left an impression.  One of the most memorable assignments we had was to people-watch.  Then we had to come back to class and pantomime a person we saw.  If they had been interacting with someone, we had to choose just one person to mime.  We lived in a VERY small community, so there weren't a lot of places to go people-watching as an 8th grader with an overnight assignment.  Therefore, EVERY pantomime was from the cafeteria.  It ended up being a lot of fun because we all recognized one another in the things that we acted out.

I really enjoy people watching.  I especially love to watch children, whose joy is so often simply unbridled.  I also love to watch their parents.  Usually the parents are harried or worried or busy or distracted, and they miss their children's absolute joy in the moment.  I sometimes worry that I might get arrested for being creepy (or something), because I think I could go somewhere where there are children, plant myself on a chair, and watch them all day.  Watching children makes my heart light.

Every once in a while, as I am people-watching, I will think, "I wonder what they are saying to one another?  If I had to re-create that as a spoken scene, what would those character say?  If I labeled each character with the emotion they are feeling, what would it be?"  (I know!  It's amazing what holds over from 8th grade!)

This morning I witnessed (from 15 feet away) a 5-second interaction with two women at work.  Woman #1 leaned in, her back leg "popped," and she said something to the other woman.  Woman #2's eyes never left the face of Woman #1 as she absently stroked her skirt.  She glanced down quickly toward her lap, smiled gratifyingly up at Woman #1, and her mouth formed the words, "Thank you."

I think I know what happened during those 5 seconds.  I think Woman #2 knows what happened in those 5 seconds.  But I wonder if Woman #1 saw the gratitude, the acceptance, the "beaming" of Woman #2.