Janet Perreault

It’s All in How You Look at It

Posted on December 10, 2011 | in Uncategorized | by

I don’t know if I’m so much a people watcher as much as I am a people judger.  I know that sounds, well…judgmental, but bear with me.  Depending on my mood, and on any given day, I can find human nature engaging or enraging.

When I’m in a benevolent, bemused state, I can observe humanity from behind a rather detached, almost experimental lens.  For instance, I wonder, what would make a driver hold up a line of seven cars while she waits for a shopper to unload a grocery cart full of supplies for the entire winter, strap two small children in their car seats, collapse a stroller, and attach a large Christmas tree to her roof, rather than pull down four space and take an open slot.  Oh, wait, that’s not a good example of bemused, I meant that behavior enrages me.  In my defense, though, I don’t think of this situation as me judging as much as I like to think of it as simple, common sense.

I’ve noticed that much of my people judging  (I mean watching) occurs in parking lots.  I particularly note people who struggle to wrestle their empty cart onto the curb, into the landscaping gravel, or even to wedge the wayward wheels in such a way as to not roll into the side of their car before they make their getaway; all the while a mere 15 feet away is a cart rack that requires nothing more than a push into its waiting metal corral.  This one puzzles me more than enrages me, but it occasionally spurs me to wrestle the offending cart onto the asphalt and take it with me as I enter the store.  Yes, I admit I passive-aggressively hope the offender will notice and at the very least feel guilty, if not vow to never do it again.  I’m beginning to think no one appreciate smugness anymore. 

Restrooms are a serious study in human nature.  Visitors range from the obsessively neat ladies who meticulously wipe down the counter with paper towels or tissues retrived from their well-organized purse (usually while I am patiently waiting to wash my hands), to the opposite extreme who apparently fails to understand that public toilets need to be flushed much like the ones at home (I’m assuming here).  I think I need another category – such behavior is, “enlightening,” yes, that’s it, such behavior is enlightening.

Come to think of it, I have to try a little harder to think of things that engage me in the dance of life; but little children in a store ranks right up there.  I love catching the eye of a little one who shyly grins and waves back at me when I wave; just a little slice of joy in the shopping aisle.  I like to notice different parenting styles too.  They range from the new mom who brings her own quilted fabric cart liner and hand sanitizer, to the seasoned mom who allows her child to suck on the tennis shoes she just bought in the clothing department (yes, the ones from China that are laced with the latest carcinogen identified by the EPA).

There are the impatient, frazzled parents (with whom I genuinely sympathize), confused dads, efficient and business-like working moms tossing items into their cart as though they were on a winning basketball team, overly-indulgent mothers (“Okay, honey but this is the absolute last bag of candy I’m opening for you before we leave.”)   These situations not only catch my eye, they take me back to the days when my girls were that age just a blink ago.

So, on any given day, I’m an observer of the human condition.  I only hope that others are far too busy to notice the times I park outside those narrow, narrow little white lines, discard an item I no longer want on a shelf that is four aisles away from where I first picked it up, or stop and watch as I wander the parking lot, convinced that my car has been stolen, only to eventually discover that today I parked on the south side of the building and not on the west corner as usual.  And if they notice, I hope they will be bemused and not judgmental.  After all, that’s the kind thing to do, I’m learning. 








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Janet Perreault


Contact Info:

Janet Perreault
Speaking from Experience
P.O. Box 49787
Colorado Springs,CO 80949-9038
Cell: (719) 339-8991
Office (719) 531-0190

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