I don’t know if I mentioned that I am working in downtown Portland now and I am able to do all kinds of “People Watching”. Our office is right on the sidewalk behind City Hall, and there are floor to ceiling windows, not only completely around our office (including out to the lobby), but also all across the lobby entrance. So what do I see?
We face the main exit out of town and there is a bus stop in front of our building. For several days, I watched a man pacing back and forth for several hours a day wired to his cell phone and gesticulating and talking. I still see him from time to time, but only briefly.
Buses and MAX trains come and go all day. Yesterday a MAX train stopped and I watched as a whole classroom of school children and parent volunteers tried to squeeze into the two cars amidst the other passengers. It was almost like watching a video of trying to fit Japanese riders into one of their trains!
One day earlier this week, there was a brightly dressed young African American man with music playing in his ears. He faced our windows, presumably because they were tinted and he could see himself, and for several hours he stood there singing and dancing. He had the biggest grin on his face. The people walking by him were almost as fun to watch. He got them to smile and laugh. One guy ducked into the lobby outside our office and surreptitiously took a picture of him. The dancer brightened everyone’s day!
Today was very rainy and there were all sorts of umbrellas out. The majority of umbrellas are black, but this morning I saw a bright yellow one, and later I saw an orange one. I started thinking, “Wouldn’t it be nice if the whole rainbow walked by throughout the day?” I began taking note, and I saw several more yellow umbrellas, a red one, a couple green ones, and a purple one. I kept waiting for a blue one to go by, but it never came. However, I did see a couple examples of umbrellas with all the colors of the rainbow on them.
I watch the building employees too. There are flower arrangements in the lobby, and today I saw a young man changing the floral arrangement in one of the pots. I often see the female custodian going around cleaning and polishing everything, and I have begun to notice how often street cleaners come by to pick up pieces of paper and shine up the bus stop.
And across the lobby from us is a Starbucks with a piano beside it. Every day from about 11:30 to 1:30, someone sits at the piano and plays. It seems to be different pianists every day and they all have different styles of music they play… show tunes one day, classics another, and jazz, etc.
You might think that I do nothing but stare out the window, but that’s not the case. I’ve been making a lot of phone calls, not only to confirm appointments, but also to try to drum up some business from former clients. I’m able to look around while I’m talking. It helps me. I get very tense putting myself out there on the phone, never sure what kind of reception I’m going to get. I’m not particularly shy, but I am somewhat introverted, so these phone calls aren’t easy for me. That’s why looking out the window helps to take the focus off my discomfort and onto something outside myself. Besides, it adds some interest to my day!