Do Writers People Watch More Than Most?

Are we people watching or doing character research?

Photo by nine koepfer on Unsplash

I watch as the tall, trim man pays for his shopping order while his kids wait. He is wearing black scrubs from a higher-end designer. Did I just say designer in relation to medical scrubs? Yes, yes I did. Have you seen some of the stylish scrubs available in these modern times? Anyway, back to our tall, greying handsome man. He is not wearing a wedding ring which is not surprising for a married man working in the medical field. Something about him says newly divorced. The kids are with him. He’s buying items needed to set up a new home. He seems a little clueless as he tries to pay with a store loyalty card.

I end up following him out of the store and wonder if I will see what kind of car he drives. I’m leaning more towards him being a doctor because of the expensive scrubs and when I see his luxury vehicle I am almost 100% sure he is either an MD or a DDS. He’s also well-groomed and carries himself with that confidence I have noticed the educated or wealthy seem to exude naturally.

As I gave my kids my “diagnosis” of the man we watched in the check-out line they seemed bored. I explained that people watching was interesting to me because it could help me if I write fiction in the future. They just gave me a blank stare in response. I began to feel like a creeper because my children were not going along with my idea of normal life.

I think I have always been very observant of other humans even when I was a child. I remember studying my mother and her friends. I can remember certain quirks of behavior or looks for most of my teachers and friends from my elementary school years.

Am I the only one who studies others in this way? I find it fascinating to see how different but similar people are. I do wonder if any of my observations will end up in a fiction novel someday.

What do all my writer friends here on Medium say about people watching? Creepy or research?

Julia Freeman, Trauma Recovery Coach in training

I believe survivors of narcissistic abuse and domestic violence deserve to live in freedom and peace.