Sunday, September 16, 2007

Observation Exercise

Seeing as I wasn't on campus this weekend, and therefore could not sit in the pub or library, I decided to practice my looking observation skills on the road - coming back from a trip home, I sat in the train station in Albany, NY, and situated myself in a small cafe and observed the people around me to the best of my ability.

To make sure I wasn't overly conspicuous and focused on my sight, and not sound, I kept my iPod volume on high and merely watched.

To my left were two women, seated at a small table. One had shoulder length dark hair, a fashionable power suit, and an uncomfortable looking pair of heels. The other looked a little more matronly, in a pair of jeans, sweater, and floral light jacket over. Her hair was dirty blonde, and neatly tied back. Both were very much in conversation, intent and seemed unaware of their very public surroundings (aka, I could watch without looking overtly creepy).

The woman with darker hair spoke with her hands, and from her furrowed brow and very wide hand gestures appeared to me as though she was angry, but not at her companion. The blonde woman sat and maintained eye contact with the woman, her hands neatly folded on the table, pausing every now and then to take a sip of her coffeee and nod or shake her head. The two women sat in this manner until their train was called, and both hastily got up and exited the area.

I moved my attention to the right, where three elderly people sat a table. One was an overweight and balding older gentleman, in a polo shirt and slacks, while the other two were women, one with shortly cropped white hair in jeans and a blouse, the other shoulder length blonde hair, curled and in a sweater and slacks. All three were enjoying sandwiches and soup, and their conversation appeared to be much more lighthearted. It appeared as though the three were laughing and speaking animatedly with one another.

At this point, my train was called and I had to vacate the area. All of the observants, in conclusion, seemed to ignore the public surroundings when accompanied and carry on with no concern, while those alone were hyper aware of the crowds and seemed more self-conscious about it.

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