I am an unabashed people-watcher. It's fascinating. While I enjoy sitting on a bench and watching people go by, it always makes me happy when I have a regular that I can follow (but not a creepy stalker way). Public transit is full of interesting folks and when you ride the same train every day, you get to know them (ok, not so much "know" them as watch their daily routine, but it makes you feel like you know them a little). I tend to make up backgrounds for these people in my mind. I'll never know their real story but it's a fun game anyway.
Who I see: The guy who always has a hat that matches his outfit. The same hat. I am convinced he has at least four of the exact same hats in different colors. He rides the train every morning to Sam Weller's for coffee.
What I think: He is a retired writing professor who loves the smell of old bookstores. He wakes up at 5am on the dot, no alarm necessary. Every morning he gets ready in precisely the same order before walking to the train station where he arrives at 6:21. He is bothered when UTA changes the TRAX schedule because he has to adjust his routine by three minutes.
Who I see: The little old man who walks the same path to work every day, at the same quick pace, with his head tilted down exactly the same way (he also wears a hat but unlike the first guy, it is actually the same hat).
What I think: He has done this every day for at least 50 years. Working at the church office building defines him. He has a wife, five kids and a plethora of grand and great-grandchildren. He is an accountant who was raised by Depression era parents so he was taught to watch every penny. As such, he is a saver and probably could have retired ages ago, but he just can't imagine not working.
Who I see: M.A. (Formerly known as "Creepy Trax Guy")
What I think: ok, ok, all pedophile jokes aside, I feel bad for him. He has been a constant in my world for nearly four years now and I have never ever once seen him with another human being. (And, ironically enough, I have never heard his voice.) For a long time he rode the train with two of his co-workers, yet they never sat together and talked, never walked to work together, nothing. If he didn't freak me out so much, I might try to be his friend.
Who I see: The middle aged hispanic man who has his bike with him on the train every afternoon at 4:02.
What I think: He is happy. Life is simple for him and, while it may not be easy (riding a bike in the freezing cold sucks ass), he finds lots of little things to be happy about. His family is important to him. He has a granddaughter who is about five. She has pigtails, loves pink, and likes to sit on his lap while he tells her stories until she falls asleep.