Native Writes: Watching people is my joy

Anyone who knows me already knows I love watching people. This column is for them, as well as those who would like to know what rings my bell.

Somewhere among my things is a cassette tape with one thing on it. It’s entitled, “Cada Cabeza es Un Mundo,” every head is a world.

Sitting in a mall waiting for youngest son to return from looking through a store I didn’t want to enter, I ask myself why.

I’ve seen too much of what is being sold there, but the “granny blow up doll” cemented my decision in a visit several years ago.

I watch as a couple of young people, obviously in the thrall of first love, goes in. It’s not my business what they plan to buy.

A couple in their 30s walk past, two youngsters in tow and one in a stroller. The little girl is burying her face in cotton candy, the boy’s lips and cheeks are already blue and the toddler is reaching out a hand and yelling, “more.”

I think of when my sons were that age. I think of when my grandchildren were that age. A song in “Fiddler on The Roof” runs through my brain, “Sunrise, sunset, swiftly go the days. I don’t remember growing older… When did they?”

My son returns to join me. He has a silly birthday card in a flat bag and chuckles as he shows it to me. His older brother will be so thrilled.

Not far from us is a food court with many choices of edibles. I want to stop and buy a large pretzel, then remember I can have one any time I want at home in our own big box.

I end up with an Orange Julius. Every ingredient is good for me, but the mixture is a guilty pleasure.
Returning home, I again find myself waiting in the big box for what seems like hours, but is just 10 minutes or so.

Online, there are hundreds of photos of people dressing inappropriately in a Wal-Mart someplace. I guess they avoid Alamosa and the strangest thing I see is a woman my age wearing Tweety Bird pajama bottoms.

An elderly man stands in line, shaking arms around an older woman. They gaze into each other’s eyes and smile. A tear wells up in the corner of my eye. Love is eternal. The checker returns a knowing smile.

Two teenagers walk past me, laughing and shoving in the friendship known only to them. A young man and woman hold hands as they stop at the jewelry counter and look at engagement rings.

People of all ages go about their business and I think of a TV broadcast about a 15-year-old boy shooting up a school, another youth is being tried as an adult for beating a girl to death and another teenager has died from a drug overdose. I think quietly that the city is okay to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there.

Watching people at many events in our Valley, I see very little anger or violence, though there are some sad eyes and scowls. What’s happening in their worlds?

I wish them paz y amor – peace and love, and I will go forward in my own mental world, feeling bad about the evil in our land and looking for the good.

It’s there. If I can see it, so can other people. Just look.