Friday, September 19, 2008

One Part Observation, One Part Imagination

For eight weeks I found myself lingering for moments longer than I cared for in the foyer of the Performing Arts Complex where my daughter was enrolled in summer camp. The foyer was rather drab with it's grey industrial carpeting and tattered modern styled lounge seating, but starkly contrasted with small cases displaying beautiful hand made creations. Of course the cases were made of large sheets of glass that GL loved to bang on, leaving my nerves on edge every time she made the approach.

During those idle moments I found myself observing the interactions of other parents around me. I suppose with a degree in Cultural Anthropology my intrinsic nature is to observe others, taking mental notes of interactions by the familiar strangers that surrounded me week after week. My curiosity was sparked on more than one occasion by the subtleties in the nuances of two friendly parents.

The parents clearly knew each other for their children happily played together and walked hand in hand into the building. The mom, Jane, always seemed worn out. During close to nearly every visit, she would plop herself down on the floor changing her youngest of four children. Jane was fit and very pretty, but her body language often reflected the toll being a mother of four can take on anyone. Her children were always strewn about, climbing on the art installations, running unobserved down the halls, licking the water fountains, jumping to make the automatic doors open and close over and over.

Her friend, John, was energetically her opposite. He on the other hand was one of those dads, happily tossing his youngest daughter up in the air, while his legs provided the pony ride for his oldest daughter. John was one of the few fathers I saw during my eight week trips to the Arts Center. I never concluded if John stayed home with his kids, but he certainly enjoyed his time with them.

Jane's eyes always lit up when John entered the lobby. On more than one occasion he brought along her favorite drink from the Starbuck's drive through. John seemed to be a lifeline for Jane, who apparently was worn thin lately. The moments that I often called into question between them always seemed to occur in the parking lot. It maybe was a longer than intended hug, the passing of a card, or a subtle kiss on the cheek. John would always be carrying one of Jane's children on his shoulders as she had all she could do to manage one at a time.

For some odd reason the feeling I gathered was one of Hollywood proportions. The one captured in Little Children between Kate Winslet's character Sarah and the Prom King played by Patrick Wilson. If you've read the book or watched the film, you know how that one ended after the much heated love affair between the stay at home parents.

I occasionally still wonder about John and Jane. I wonder if I my imagination was completely off the mark or if my observations of subtleties were right on. John and Jane the characters created in my head with one part observation and one part imagination.



19 comments:

  1. Interesting. It could also be that they're just best friends...but it is curious.

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  2. That's exactly what I was thinking when I was reading this; that book!!! LOL! I'm like you, I LOVE to observe and analyze people. It's the psychology in me :) It's fun to ponder how that scenario turned out.

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  3. I love to watch people. Even I am curious now. I loved Little Children, the book and the movie.

    Great post!

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  4. Either they are related (brother/sister or in-law) or something's up. I hope it's all OK for them.

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  5. I think I would wonder too. My guess is that there was an attraction - but they weren't actually acting on it. Of course - I'm tend to be a little naive...

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  6. I love that movie. Its so dangerous and scandalous, but obviously very seeped in humble reality. The more I'm embedded in the parenting world, the most I wonder about the things that go unsaid.

    Isn't it fun to people watch? You are so right on.

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  7. No I have a new book and movie to add to my lists. :-)

    I love people watching. Airports are the best, but anywhere is fun.

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  8. Things that make you go "hmmmmmm"....

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  9. Oooh, I was totally thinking of "Little Children" before you even said it! Yes.

    That story gave me a little squeeze in the heart (well, more than one, but I'm talking about the couple here) - it brought out the point that people who have affairs are not always completely selfish & awful.

    Now I'm wondering about John and Jane...

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  10. I love this post, it captivated me incredibly and I too love to wtch people endlessly. Great observations.
    Thank you!

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  11. So interesting. I wish you could go spy some more. I am dying to know!

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  12. You're killing me...you could have just made up the ending!!! I wouldn have never known that you made it up! Now we must hunt them down for the ending!

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  13. Oh, I just love people watching. It's always good fun, and can keep me occupied for hours after they've gone, wondering about their lives.

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  14. I've always wanted to be the "fly on a wall" in those situations. Nice observations!

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  15. I'm sure you're not imagining the chemistry. The questions is... did they act on it? Now I'm dying to know.

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  16. I'm sure you're not imagining the chemistry. The questions is... did they act on it? Now I'm dying to know.

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  17. Hmmmm....

    Hey thanks for the award up there!

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  18. Interesting... And why I love people watching, the storytelling it allows you to do! :)

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I always appreciate the gesture to stop and take a moment to comment. Thank you!