One of the tenets of people watching is the search for answers to those wildly inconsequential questions that float on the surface of our daily tedium like lily pads, this particular one decked out in Juicy Couture. Where is that woman going? Does the small dog in her purse have no legs, requiring it to be carried as so? In light of our struggling dollar has she reverted to a bartering system and is on her way to trade the legless pup for a new iPhone case with a higher concentration of bedazzling?
The thing I don’t wonder while people watching however, is what people are actually thinking as they briefly pass through my life. I don’t want to know what’s lurking behind those eyes as her paperweight pooch yips and yips while she thumbs through her phone. Or what the man sitting across from me on the Skytrain is thinking as he watches the woman and her dog, adjusting and readjusting his crotch until it reaches a turgid state of perpetual unbalance. The reason for my willful ignorance is simple: their thoughts would be too easy to take out of context and wouldn’t provide any proper narrative. Case in point, as I sit watching the man watch the woman watching her phone, what I’m thinking is, I should really get more knives.
Her incredulity bordered on awe. The scripture had been rewritten. We’d have to update the bible she leaves in the console of her truck. Revelations 5:9 “And they sang a new song, saying: the sandwiches at Tim Horton’s are actually quite good. And this soup! What is this? Sweet Potato Bisque, huh. You can really taste the sweet potato. Sweetie, how’s your turkey bacon thing?”
She asked as though she already knew the answer. As if it was preordained that I was to be converted. That I would, oh God, take this whole wheat homestyle soft bun as the body, this French vanilla ice cappuccino as the blood, and Timmy as my new fast food Lord and Saviour. I didn’t want to submit. I would be an apostate wandering a wilderness of strip malls and road stops in search of a semi-quality burrito if I had to. Even Taco Del Mar would do. But there was something there, I couldn’t deny it. The turkey bacon thing wasn’t that bad. It’s not that bad, Ma. I said. Amen.
I didn’t recognize the feeling as fear until the fridge started to shake, the beer bottles on top clanking together like wind chimes. Was this an earthquake? “The” earthquake? It almost felt like meeting a celebrity. Aren’t you that natural disaster that we’ve been warned for decades was going to swallow Vancouver whole? I recognize your rumbling and potential for utter destruction and forced exposition of humanity in its rawest state from the news.
But what if it’s just my downstairs neighbours playing Dance Dance Revolution and I slid under my coffee table for no reason and have now missed an integral part of Making a Murderer? Even under the table the room continued to shake. I strained to see the television while Netflix let me know that the next episode would start in 5, 4, 3, 2––