My son wanted to swim at a nearby water park for his birthday this year. I got the gifts, invitations, decorations, and swimming gear ready. His birthday happened to fall on a Saturday and the water park was going to be packed. My mind flitted to the unease of being half-naked in front of hundreds of people. I dismissed this, thinking that hundreds of people would be half naked in front of me, too.
While not a perfect specimen of the human body, I am not too concerned about my weight or body type. I work out, watch what I eat, and honestly I am blessed with the genes to stay slender. Others have to work a lot harder to maintain the weight that I keep, but I know soon that will change as well. Time takes it’s toll on everyone who cannot afford annual trips to their friendly plastic surgeon.
I love people watching. It’s something that let’s my imagination fly. Tattoos, sunglasses, clothes, hair styles, all of those gives clues to people’s personalities. My mind just fills in the gaps. I could do this for hours at malls, school functions, fairs, baseball games, movie theaters, anywhere. It’s even more fun when you have a partner in crime to narrate back stories about the unknowing participant walking by our station. My p.i.c. varies, and so the stories vary as well.
People watching at the water park was no different, but you have to be a little more subtle at this venue. Staring at half-naked people tend to invite one of three things: 1. Discomfort and a quick cover up with a towel or jumping in the water. 2. Unwanted solicitation and flirting. 3. A stare-off contest which usually results with me reverting back to option 1.
With close but stealthy observation (with a little help from a pair of sunglasses) I noticed a few things. Kids simply wanted to have fun. Most older adults put an air of unconcern about what they look like, just about what their children/grandchildren and their safety. Most 13-20somethings are REALLY concerned about their appearance. I suppose that’s about right; this age group is looking for a mate in life while the older age group has mostly found one. A few ridiculous examples were mostly from girls wearing crazy expensive sunglasses, hair all fixed up, make-up, jewelry. This isn’t all on one person, mind you. But it was just as easy to create a back-story for guys as well. The tattoos and earrings were most telling.
One man was aging and suffered a mid-life crises so he decided to work out and build up his pectoral muscles, calves, hair cut… but finally decided that what he really wanted to build up was his relationship with his wife. They barbequed together, tanned together, shopped for sunglasses together (which was obvious today). In essence, they were happy again. She radiated this as well.
A teenaged girl walked in with her friends, armored with a necklace and belly button ring to ward off any geeky flirtation attempts. Going to the smaller slides so her blonde hair didn’t get wet and frizzy, she sits on the inner tube and makes sure her swim top is just right so as to show off the best visual for all to enjoy. She changes her mind and readjusts the gold-braided necklace her ex-boyfriend gave her so the small diamond is centered on her chest, equidistant from each side. Knowing that all are watching her, she flips her hair from her tanned shoulder and coolly ignores everyone in line waiting for their turn to ride the slide. Her potential new boyfriend is waiting at the bottom.
Most of my stories have happy endings, which shows my hope and sometimes disappointed eternal optimism for the kindness of humans. Writing my own happy ending? Well, I’ll leave that up to the other people-watchers. The truth, though, may never be available for all to read. Not all authors want to publish their stories, but hint at the plot enough for someone to participate with the story line.