I ride on public transport a lot. And when I do, my mind inevitably wanders. I’ll be sandwiched between tourists with too many shopping bags, trying to read my Economist when the latest political “handling” of the Euro zone crisis starts fading away and I find myself staring at a pair of shoes. Or a tattoo. Or a haircut. Or some cufflinks. Or whatever.
And then I start to profile the owner of said shoes/tattoo/hair/cufflinks/whatever.
‘Stranger 1’s trying too hard to impress her boss.’
‘Stranger 2’s shyness makes it difficult to meet Miss Right.’ (His flickering glances at the Match.com ads only confirm my assessment.)
‘Stranger 3’s nervous about the client meeting he’s going to… I would be too, if I were wearing that suit,’ I think to myself. And then I undress him (mentally, of course) and dress him up again, imagining whether a different haircut or a darker shade of blue might flatter his face, his middle-age paunch a bit better.
I’d like to think that I’m not the only person who does this. Who plays Fashion Plates and Sherlock Holmes with the strangers who line my daily route through London. What’s the point, after all, of living in a city if you can’t cast strangers into imaginary sitcoms? There’s too much potential here.
Of all the “potential”, I have to admit, my favorite is always the men. I notice them, dissect them, look for something beautiful in them. Strong hands, maybe, or great calves or just the good sense to know what colors not to wear. I devour all of the little details. On women too, of course, but on men these details are so much more delicious.