So I’m walking down the High Street minding my own business but as usual, carefully observing all the nuances of our strange and mixed up society. People watching has been a lifelong hobby; you can learn so much from watching and listening to others.
Wayne, in his half-mast pants looking like he’s shit himself, says to his mate Karl… “Fcuk, Man we was hammered last night. Should have been at court this morning not doing that job. Be OK, I’ll just tell them I was sick. Lets call in the post office and cash this Giro then we can get a few scoops bro!”
Some would say the following is ‘stereotyping however; I would call it social observation and to a certain extent, it’s also like gathering evidence for an investigation. Both lads are aged 15-16yrs and should probably still be at school, as they aren’t that tends to suggest education was not one of their priorities or desires. ‘Wayne’ has failed to answer his bail or a summons. One or more of the pair is probably unemployed, they are both under-age and both drink to excess. And the ‘job’, well that could have been a crime or, ‘guvvy’ work whilst claiming unemployment benefits?
I suppose it’s possible they may have several GCSEs each and just had a one-off heavy night on the booze at home with their parents last night, or be sorting the Giro out for a disabled relative or family friend however, I doubt it…
“We never stop investigating. We are never satisfied that we know enough to get by. Every question we answer leads on to another question. This has become the greatest survival trick of our species.” (Desmond Morris)
I make a mental note of the names and descriptions, time and location and then continue down the High Street about my business. Before retirement I would have spoken with them, as I would hope any police officer would. Now I await any request from the police for information in the future. My observations and consequent assumptions may prove to be wrong however, the watching and listening is still important.
I’ve always been one of those types of people who says “yes ok, but why?” Its an investigative methodology that has been a predominant part of both my work and private life for years.
It really is a skill that more of us should try to develop, instead of spending all your life wrapped up in your own exclusive little world. Many of us spend far too much time in a microcosm, totally oblivious to the interests or concerns of others. A factor probably indicative of our modern-day OTT hectic lifestyles I suspect. Perhaps this will also prove to be one of the major factors preventing adoption of the ‘Big Society‘ ethos?
“We are, to put it mildly, in a mess, and there is a strong chance that we shall have exterminated ourselves by the end of the century. Our only consolation will have to be that, as a species, we have had an exciting term of office.” (Desmond Morris)
Warning: Observing the contents of pants often leads you to conclude that much of our society also tends to be… Pants!
- The Solitary Self: Darwin and the Selfish Gene by Mary Midgley (telegraph.co.uk)
- Machine needs: How technology is shaping humanity (newscientist.com)
- Sci-fi, sex education, Michael Faraday and teenage angst. (guardian.co.uk)
- The Human Animal – The Language of the Bod (milkandcookies.com)
- Center for Nonverbal Studies (teachinghighschoolpsychology.blogspot.com)
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