Friday, April 9, 2010

Are you an observer?

You would think, that as a writer, I’d almost have to answer this question with a yes, right? Seems obvious. But I realized recently that I’m really not much of an observer. I was talking to a friend who said something about people watching on the boardwalk at the beach. And I started to agree about what a great activity that was, but then I realized I don’t really do that. I’m sure I’ve said that I do, and probably meant it, but the reality is that when I walk down the boardwalk, I’m mostly trying to keep from getting run over by the crowd while window shopping.

Same thing with airports. Classic people watching place, right? Yeah, my nose is stuck in a book. Well, glued to my iphone, to be perfectly accurate. Sure, if someone has an interesting conversation going on next to me, I might tune in. Or if a group of soldiers walk by, yep, that will grab my attention because I’m a total sucker for a man in uniform. But for the most part, I’m not paying a whole lot of attention. I drive past a movie studio on my way to work, and have done so nearly every day for seven years and not once have I noticed anyone famous coming or going from the lot. It seems statistically impossible that nobody I’d recognized has ever been driving in as I’m driving past—the fact is, it just never occurs to me to look at who’s in the car next to me. I’ve always figured if I were a jogger, I’d be the idiot who runs right through a police situation without ever realizing there are guns drawn. Which is why it’s safer for everyone if I just stay home and keep my couch company. See, I’m much better at rationalizing than I am at observing.

This doesn’t really have anything to do with anything, it’s just something that occurred to me recently, and surprised me. Although, it does have something to do with my being single, according to my mother. She theorizes that since I’m so oblivious (my word, not hers), I don’t notice if a guy is trying to make eye contact with me. I tried arguing about the statistical probabilities of that being the case very often, but she wasn’t interested in my self-doubt. And she’s probably not wrong, to some extent. If you’re not focusing outward, then you’re almost by definition being closed off. So. Huh. I should probably work on that. But, enough about my love life, back to me as a writer. :P I think I’m a pretty empathic person, so while I’m not observant in the people-watching sense, I am very aware of the people that are actually part of my life. And there are plenty of crazy interesting people that are part of my life, so I do soak in a lot of good stuff, which I can then use on my poor, unsuspecting characters. Hmm, maybe being empathic (in a non-psychic sort of way) is actually part of the problem. You know, closing off from the randomness, so you don’t feel too much? Well, I could probably keep digging and find some deep, dark truth about myself, but this has gotten me thinking about one of my characters and I’d rather go screw up her life a bit. Much more entertaining for all of us, I’m sure!

So, how about you? Observer? Or oblivious? Don't forget, I'm giving away another ebook tonight. Just leave a comment with which of my books you'd like to win (see yesterday's post). I'll draw a winner at 10pm (PST).

I hope I haven't bored you with my rambling because tomorrow I need your help!


Donna said...

I am not an observer either. In fact, I am rather sure friends and family would say I fall into the oblivious more ways than one.

I would love to read Perfect Formation. The excerpt is great.

donnafisk at bellsouth dot net

Sullivan McPig said...

I'm not much of an observer. I've actually walked passed friends on the street and didn't see them.

Tracy said...

I think I'm a sometime observer. If I got someplace to actually observe...or maybe lunch with my boss then I totally am into what's going on around me. When my hubby and I go to Vegas? Total observer.

Now, when I'm in my car driving? More or less oblivious to other people in other cars. I'm watching the CARS, not the people - I want to make sure they don't run into me and vice versa! lol

In an airport I'd have my nose in a book as well. Even though it would be a great place to observe, that would just be great reading time missed. :)

Count me in for the contest! :) I'd love a copy of AT!

Smokinhotbooks said...

I'm a people watcher. Often times when hubs and I go out I maybe shush him so I can hear others conversation and I stare at people for long intervals until it probably becomes creepy or men think I'm flirting.

Lea said...

Hi KB!

Welcome back to the island!

It really depends on the where, when and why. If I go somewhere new, I'm a total observer. If part of my daily routine then sometimes I turn around and have no recollection of starting my day and getting where I'm supposed to be. Scary. lol

Ina said...

Hi KB!
oh, some would call it observing, I would call it daydreaming with losing the contact to reality *gg* it may seem I observe people but afterwards I can't remember a thing...
would love to read Perfect Formation :)
wish you all the best and see you tomorrow!

KB Alan said...

Oh yes, Sullivan, I walk right past people I know without a clue.

LOL, Tracy, yes, Vegas would be a great place to people watch.

Ha, Smokinghotbooks! I will admit, I've done that at work, gotten annoyed with the person talking to me because I'm trying to eavesdrop on the next office only!

cait045 said...

I am pretty oblivious. If I really try then I can be observent but usually not.

I would love ALpha Turned.

s7anna said...

I definitely fall into the oblivious category...I've at times walked right by the same buildings several times and not even realized it had been razed down for a newer building until it was pointed out to me at a later time. I always have a book with me and my nose is buried in it...regardless of whether it's at a doctor's waiting room, on the bus, at the airport or on the plane...

If I feel like looking around, I have to make a conscious effort to do it since it doesn't come naturally to me and even then it's a stretch.


KB Alan said...

smokinghotbooks wins the drawing! Just let me know which one you'd like :D

Fedora said...

Uh, count me oblivious! I'm the one who speeds right past the police cruiser aiming the radar gun at the road... I have a few friends who are police officers who just put me to shame in the whole observant department!

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