Voyeurism and Me. Confessions of a Nosey Writer

Let’s call me a people watcher and move right along, shall we? No. Let’s go with “student of human behavior.” *Dons faux glasses*

I’m fascinated by the human condition. Utterly fascinated. And when I go on vacation I get a glorious overload of awesome. I’ve studied the people in my region for thirty-cough-years. I “get” them, even the weird ones. Why do kids tip cows, climb water towers, hit mailboxes with baseball bats? They’re bored. Small towns make life for teens humdrum. You work with what you got. Been there. Whether I would make the same choices is irrelevant. I do get why the people in my area do most of what they do.

I don’t get other people. Why? I’ve never lived anywhere else. I want to. I want to live everywhere. Do everything. See it all. Vacations are the best time ever for me. Wherever we are, I get to watch the local people AND I get a double-dose of other people from other places on their vacations. Imagine me wringing my hands now. I get to see locals in their daily routine, imagine how their lives are different form mine, and I watch the tourists wearing their vacation faces. Vacation faces are rarely what you imagine – people basking in sunlight, sipping frozen drinks while the children play contentedly at their feet. Those brochure vacation people are fakers. No. Vacation Mom is usually carrying a fanny pack or other atrocious bag wherein she tries to haul every thing her family *might* need in the course of a day and looking exasperated. Vacation kids are disgruntled because they didn’t ask to go anywhere and would prefer to be at the pool. Vacation Dad is wandering around behind the rest looking at the sky or his Blackberry. –Thank you technology for taking the actual vacation out of working adult’s vacations.– My husband has worked plenty this week when he wasn’t looking at the sky and leisurely enjoying his time off. Meanwhile, I have maintained my normal schedule of cooking, cleaning, kid wrangling and writing – plus squeezed in hours of family fun, done double the now-sandy-laundry and of course slunk away at every opportunity to people watch. This requires copious amounts of black coffee and reduced sleep. Totally worth it.

Ah, but the locals. I’m dying to know…Do they go to the ocean regularly or take it for granted? What do they think of the tourists clogging up their traffic patterns, stores, restaurants etc? I expect the young, single people must love the turn around of fresh new possibilities. Or they might tire of all the “blah blah blah” because YOU ARE LEAVING SOON. I don’t know, but I want to.

So, I talk to everyone. To the dismay of my family, I don’t try to accommodate their every whim, or entertain them on vacation. It’s vacation. Use your brain and think of what you want to do. Then do that. Der. So, these guys have to fend for themselves. They will never ask me if I remembered to bring their…fill in the blank. I didn’t. They know. But, I do hold us up frequently by questioning strangers about things. I ask them tons of questions. I love getting into lines because people are forced to stay there with me. My kids like it if the people I’m chatting up have kids. The husbands pretend it’s not happening. So funny. I ask them…Are they having fun? Have they been here before? Where are they from? Etc etc. They usually fill in some details I never dreamed of and I later write some of it down for safe keeping. Most answer me, but some pretend I’m not talking to them. LOL. True. The ones who answer me wonder who I am and I tell them, “I’m a writer.” Then I go back to asking. Sometimes I wonder how much of what they tell me is true. What? People lie. But annnnyway…*that was in my best Ellen voice* Hubsy has the kids in bed and I hear a party a few beach houses down, so I’m going onto the deck where I will leave the light off, slip into the hot tub and observe.

What? It’s for work.

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