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Watching the World Go By

When I was at teacher training college in Bognor Regis for 2 years I would regularly meet my friends in a café opposite Sainsbury’s. We would grab our weekly shopping have our coffees and sit back to watch the world go by.

I often took the same route into town – through a small park, down towards the sea past Butlins and then along the promenade into the town centre. Being a creature of habit in terms of time and route I would invariably see the same people as I walked along.

There was a man in a box on wheels. Very strange but also true. It was like a raised go-cart with a motor – a homemade mobility scooter. I do not know if he was Thalidomide or what condition he had but his wooden box was on raised wheels almost like a pram and he had what looked like a joy stick to control where he went.

Then there was a ‘knitted Nancy’ who adorned herself head to toe in what appeared to be crocheted blankets. Little multi coloured squares of wool – hat, dress, coat. Whatever the weather this is what she wore.

Finally there was a man who wore what I can only imagine was a wig attached to his hat and whenever the wind blew the hat would bob to the side of his head. Most extraordinary as the wig was just holding on the hat to his head.

I can still while away many a happy moment people watching – imagining their journeys, their destinations their reasons for being out and about.

I read about a BBC programme that showed an autopsy being performed on a woman who had donated her body to medical science. The family had given their permission and the essence of the woman had long gone. And yet there was some debate in the media as to whether this was ethical or not.

The doctor carrying out the autopsy had bright red hair and a nose-ring. She was gentle, careful and incredibly precise in her cutting movements. The cadaver was 5ft5′ and weighed 17stone. I was fascinated by the findings and in my opinion the accompanying script was sensitive and justified.

On Friday when I was out with some friends we had a lively chat about whether as women my friends or I would go out alone for a drink or a meal. I certainly would. It doesn’t bother me at all eating or drinking by myself. Having travelled alone and lived alone, if I want to go out for a drink or food I will. A lot has to do with how comfortable we are with the pub culture or being in a busy restaurant surrounded by couples, families and groups of friends. There is a world of activity, interactions and relationships to bear witness to. A time to observe, ponder and reflect.

What else would I have to blog about if I didn’t make time to stop, absorb, observe and create?

Watching the World Go By – a poem

Hurry scuttle rush and ride

So much going on outside

Late for a meeting an appointment or date

Leaping over the barrier gate.

Just sit back and let it go

Observe and listen to what’s on show

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