Finding Purpose in People Watching

Everything is copy. That’s what they say. Or. That’s what she–Nora Ephron–says. I read an article on the blog ManRepeller last week that gave me a different take on the mantra of hers I’d only just learned: “Her willingness to observe all of life and make it copy is precisely what made her writing so memorable.” The idea that it wasn’t just her writing about everything, but that she was open to writing about everything was interesting to me. I used to think you had to do interesting things or live an interesting life to be able to write, but with this idea of openness came a realization that my everyday experiences could be enough for people. The thought of the article is what silently encouraged me to go with my friend to her work for the day, despite the fact that I didn’t totally believe everything could be worth reading (and despite the fact I would normally have slept in and stayed in bed all day). Nevertheless, I sat down to write about what was happening around me — about whatever came to mind.

Who I sit near: a girl in pastel rainbow platform Converse. She goes up to the only other person with an open computer and asks him for the Wifi password. She has a grown out brown pixie cut that somehow doesn’t look like a mullet but also isn’t really a bob. She’s shopping online as she talks to a possibly Australian man who may be her older boyfriend or may be her boss. About the man with the Wifi. Generically attractive. A black Hydro Flask on his table. He answered without hesitation and with a smile. There’s no reason to be uncomfortable interacting with strangers here. The man with the girl is definitely her boss, and it seems that the online shopping she’s doing is in direct relation to her job. Research-type conversation. Her boss’ accent makes his voice louder and easier to pick out in the room.

An incredibly short woman eating an acai bowl. Sitting, she looks average-sized; standing with her friend, she looks tiny but unaffected by the obvious. She has always been short. A cute guy in a chambray top and black jeans. He wears circular prescription glasses and took the grape sample of Kombucha that was offered to him. He seems slightly out of place in the health food restaurant, but as he waits for his order he sits like he wouldn’t belong anywhere else.

Mister Hydro Flask got up to order more food and I tried to take his spot next to an outlet. As I was packing up my things, someone else took the table and, from his spot in line, Hydro Flask looked bothered while watching it happen. Maybe indirect interaction with strangers is worse than direct. Maybe he just sort of looks bothered if he’s not actively emoting. I wouldn’t want someone to write about my resting bitch face without giving me the option of still being a nice person, despite my look.

There are girls outside sitting on the ground by a parking meter. They each have a bowl of health and they exude either California or Tourist as they show their dimples to the sun. Upon turning, one of them reveals the letters on her hat that spell NASHVILLE. Tourist won out, but their excitement of just being gives off a warm glow. People step around them automatically and look, expecting to see a homeless person as they pass, only to realize it’s non-locals oblivious to the space they’re taking up or the disruption they’re creating.The difference in the look given to a tourist and a displaced person is miniscule. As the girls stand up, a woman with a platinum pixie cut bikes by. She looks both youthful and aged on her bright blue beach cruiser, but comfortable with either option.

The Owner also has an accented voice. Ambiguous. A medley of the places he’s travelled lives in his voice despite a typical California tan that covers his body. He’s been here a while, but not too long to become the place. I have two friends who work here. They’ve known each other for years and are completely different. I’ve known of their differences for a while, but seeing them up close and personal in a work environment is interesting. Each of their best characteristics come out. But both of their flaws are apparent in the other’s strengths. If they were one person they’d be unstoppable.

A colorful wall with inspiring quotes spray-painted onto it. “Do what you love.” “Giving is receiving.” “The only time is now.” There are also little fuzzy bees painted into the blue background. The type of wall you see on Pinterest and decide you should do the same for your office space to motivate you to write at home. Then you remember you don’t have an office space and that’s why you’re here. The quotes are working.

I moved to the seat with the plug and I can’t see the whole space anymore. The Hive is no longer completely visible to me just by lifting my head. It might be time to stop. But more may reveal itself to me. I’ve been given two coffees since I’ve been here; one of them was an accident that a friend didn’t want to throw away. I think the rush is over but I also think it’s starting again. There were empty tables for what could have been 5 minutes or could have been 45. Time seems to pass differently. I can’t describe a difference in the music but I think it’s changed from when I first got here. When moods change slowly enough it’s like they don’t change at all.

Everything is copy. I’ve known those words more in the last week than I had in my life. Everything is copy? I think everything can be copy; so everything can be worthwhile. That works better for me. Everything can be copy, so the things you experience will be useful if you let them. And, it’s easier to make use of anything in life if you see the purpose in everything. Remember that. Live until everything you do can be copy. Even if that starts with getting up in the morning to go with your friend to her work.

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