Brenda Wilson (actress Emma Wray) and her on-screen sister Pamela (played by actress Liza Tarbuck, daughter of legendary Liverpudlian stand up comic Jimmy Tarbuck) introduced me into people watching in 1987 as I watched the aptly named UK sit com entitled "Watching".
There are a number of advantages to people watching, some of which I have listed below: -
Free and Easy Entertainment
People Watching is a totally free way to entertain yourself which can be done anywhere and everywhere. If the person you are watching is unaware that they are being watched and carries on as normal, the better your theory will be. You don't need to find a Wi-Fi Hot-Spot; there is no expensive equipment to purchase, and no subscription charge.
If you have 10 minutes or an hour free during the day you can participate, the only thing you need to take part in this activity is people so if you are queuing up for your lunchtime sandwich, waiting for a bus or even in the waiting room of a Doctors Surgery if your board, you can play.
Anyone Can Do It
It makes no difference what age you are or what your educational background, anyone can join in. Whether you are on your own or not, try and come up with some outrageous theories and see which one is the best.
Improve Your Imagination
The more you do it the better your imagination becomes. The best thing about this is that if you enjoy writing and struggle to generate characters, use some of the information that you have gathered whilst people watching to create your profiles. The more you do it the better you become and you will see an improvement in your ability to write short stories, just make sure that you keep a notepad handy to jot down your good ideas.
The Characters you create will no longer be one dimensional and appear to be plastic, and who knows you may stumble across the plot of a story whilst you are theorising on an individual. Either way the reader of the story will benefit.
As with many things in life, if there are good things there have to be bad things.
Who Else Is Doing It?
If you are people watching, is anyone watching you?
This does not bear thinking about as it could bring about the onset of paranoia whilst you are out and about in public places, you may even find yourself looking around a room wondering if anyone's theorising about you, or worse still you start watching your own actions to avoid any unnecessary involuntary actions. Just in case...
This tends to happen when there is more than one person or a group of people watching individuals simultaneously. The person who is being watched may over hear what is being said about them, and either takes offence or walks over to confront you. Not the best situation to be in - trust me!
People watching is free, fun for all and can end up albeit inadvertently being quite productive, but be careful of the dark side!
Go out, enjoy yourself and see what you can come up with - you will be amazed