I sit at my table in the library, the same spot everyday (give or take). I think I have OCD. No, wait. I know I have at least a mild case of OCD.
I tried studying in a study room, once. The library’s always so loud, which is ironic because libraries scream quiet, and sometimes silence is the loudest scream of all.
Anyway, where was I? Oh, right. The room in which I studied once. Just once. Because, apparently, my mind needs distractions in order to be productive, which seems contrary to function. I’ve never been normal; it’s boring, anway.
So I sit at my table in the library, and I’m not so maladjusted that I can’t be flexible. Just as long as it’s a table, and I can sit facing the door. I people watch to think. Sometimes too much I think. But people are fascinating creatures, and sometimes I wonder if people notice the same things I do.
1. Everyone has their own unique walk.
2. The way the computers get filled up is an interesting study on human behavior. No one likes making eye contact with someone they don’t know, which is why of the 4 computers in the campus library that you can stand at to use, people use the two where their backs are to the door first. And at the computers where you sit down, four to a table, people never sit directly next to or across from someone. They always sit diagonal. Unless the other user is a friend, in which case, all rules go out the window.
3. You can tell a lot about a person from their eyes. Eyes are the windows to the soul, which is why nobody sits directly across from someone they don’t know. Nobody wants to admit the truth: we’re all hurting.
4. The way the same person acts around different people is fascinating. And terrifying. Which is real? Can the person be trusted?
5. Every person has their own unique walk.
My friend has a purposeful gait, not like a horse’s. She walks deliberately: long strides, with confidence, as if she owns the place. Head up. Shoulders tall.
I do not. My posture is meager at best, as if the weight of the world is on my shoulders, and sometimes I don’t know if I can do it all.
But then I see the people working around me: I realize we’re all the same.
There’s the girl over there who is clearly hungry trying to convince herself she is not.
There’s the guy over there trying to put on a macho face when he’s clearly falling apart inside.
I wonder if she knows she’s beautiful, if she’s heard it today?
I wonder if he knows he’ll be ok, if he believes that today?
The hardest thing about being a poet is that I see all these things about people. And I haven’t figured out how to say, “Hey. I don’t know if you know this, but there’s something about the way your eyes light up and meet your dimples when you solve a tough problem that reminds me there’s hope” without sounding like a creeper.
So, I people watch, and I wonder what people would say about me if it were socially acceptable to say such things.
So, I people watch.
Because sometimes I feel the weight of the world on my shoulders, and in order to distract myself from this feeling in my chest of impending doom, I make up stories about the people around me.
I’m not crazy. I have problems to solve and things to figure out, and I find the best of me in other people, and also the worst. And sometimes I need a little perspective.
It was the best of times; it was the worst of times, which is the best way to sum up life.
I’m really bad with small talk. The “How are you?”s and the “How about the weather?”s make me really uncomfortable. Is this a rhetorical question?
I’m better with intellectually stimulating conversations about what you think death is like, what is the meaning of all this? I think our answers to questions like these say more about us then “I’m good” ever could.
The mind is a funny place.
I think about death a lot and life. I’ve faced my own mortality by my own hand. The future terrifies me. I don’t even know what I’m doing this summer, let alone forever.
I need to take it one day at a time right now. That’s all I can handle. The world’s a big place, and I’m a small part of it.
And so I people watch. Because people fascinate me, but also terrify me, which is one of life’s great ironies.
Just like the Hulk’s secret is that he’s angry all the time, I’m afraid all the time. That’s how I survive.
I want to do big things, write a book, change the world, but I feel insignificant. The world’s a dangerous place: there’s war, violence, murder, hate, and sometimes we’re our own worst enemy.
But there’s always hope. Sunrises, sunsets, summer and winter. Life goes on.
And so will I.
And so I people watch, because everybody has a story. Stories fascinate me, and they should fascinate you, too.
Empathy goes a long way.
I write to figure things out, and I don’t know what this poem is trying to say, but I think it has to do with the confusion that’s inside me, because how do you know if you’re in love, because I think he’s kind of great.
He makes me want to eat pancakes with him, but I don’t even like pancakes. I don’t even know who ‘him’ is.
This is what goes on in my mind 24/7, and I promise I’m not crazy. I’ve just been hurt a lot, and I’m trying to heal and deal.
Because life is confusion and chaos and order and beauty and a paradox wrapped in a conundrum shrouded in mystery.
And I love every minute of it.