Monday, January 3, 2011

A new pasttime

There's a new thing I've started doing at work. Actually, it's not so new... I've just recently begun to be conscious of what I was doing.

At work, we all have desks & are made to sit according to the teams we work with. Each team is separated from the others by modular partitions. My desk is at one corner of the office & from my place I can pretty much see the entire office.

So what I do (whenever I'm jobless & sitting at my desk), is to peer above the screen of my computer & the partition wall & watch the goings-on of the others at work or listen in to interesting conversations (which are usually arguments between a media buyer/planner & a vendor) that float about. The conversations are an interesting study of negotiation tactics & styles but that's a discussion for another day.

When I sit at my desk & peer up, I can see a lot of people standing around (milling about & shouting/arguing seem to be the done thing out here) & walking about. Usually, I can see only their upper torso or in some cases just the head (if the person is shorter than average). And it is this that caught my fancy recently.

Firstly, it's fascinating to look at people's expressions when they are unaware of anyone observing them. They may be in the midst of a conversation or explaining something & while the other person processes what they've just said, they relax, take a step back & assess the other person's responses. Their judgement of these said responses tends to then reflect on their faces... It could be disapproval, contempt, patience, impatience, distraction, confusion... just about anything. I must clarify that I'm not looking at their expressions in order to draw any inferences. Neither is there anything running at the back of my mind when I see them. Instead, my mind is just blank & I keep watching fascinated, at the no. of expressions possible & which one each person chooses for different situations.

Another thing that's interesting to watch is the way people walk or rather how they look when you can only see their upper torso while they walk. I've noticed a person who just seems to glide by literally. I'm yet to be able to make out any shifting of weight as this person walks. It's almost like he moves on a skateboard. As a person too, this person comes across as a very calm, controlled, unfazed person who glides through situations. Then there are several people who tend to bob from side to side. This is a pretty normal sight. Some bob in a more exaggerated way while, some are more subtle.

Some walk by with a frown & keep touching & correcting their hair when they walk. Some sulk & walk. Some walk by like an ape (a little like what I'd imagine one of the latter forms of the primitive man to have walked like). Some stoop over. Some hobble. Some bob from side to side & sway front & back. Some walk & smile to themselves. Some walk in a purposeful, aggressive manner. Some swing by (if they'd held their hands up, I could almost imagine them as swinging from one branch to another like a monkey)

There are so many types actually & many a time, I fancy that the kind of person I perceive the person to be is reflected in their gait. Maybe, I'm just force fitting things here. Nonetheless, it's an interesting past-time at work... Watching people.

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