People used to “People Watch” way back in the 20th Century. It’s different in the 21st Century.
You’d read some article and somebody would say, “I was just sitting there, people watching.
Last week I was forced to “people watch.” I was sitting in a food court at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport and jammed into a space measured in inches to eat my “What-A-Wok” horrible fake-Asian food. I needed a challenge, so I used chopsticks. I needed room for that. As I stabbed my pieces of chicken and rice, I pulled out my laptop to try to get some work completed when a guy with a cowboy hat and his wife insisted they crowd the eating ledge next to me. I pulled my luggage out of the way and slapped my laptop shut because there wasn’t room to work and I couldn’t concentrate whilst he explained pro football and the background of each ESPN talking head to his wife.
My phone battery was dead so I was forced into reality.
To people watch.
I’m not sure I ever did it as a matter of habit, really, but I may have on occasion prior to the invention of the smartphone and the personal computer. That’s now a long time ago. Way last century.
As I people watched I noticed that nobody else was. Not in reality, anyway.
People of all shapes and ages and sizes walked past, faces bowed to their smartphone.
Nobody says that they people watch anymore, but Foursquare has lately told us where the fifteen best places in Chicago are for people watching.
Maybe I’ll avoid those places.
Who wants to be watched?
Perhaps Amazon and Google and Facebook can answer that watching question.
While we watch one-inch people on our smartphones they watch us, maybe in a sinister way that they really do not disclose, so while we squint to watch the one-inch people on the screens, the Tech Cabal has our camera lens and microphone wide open to people watch. You watch on your phone and your phone watches you.
People watching in the 21st Century.