Lifestyle Sanctimony

I love to people watch, and operating a drawbridge as I do, I get plenty of opportunity. Half the time people don’t even realize I exist. They must assume that the bridges open themselves.

I particularly enjoy unique individuals, and as I observe them I make up stories in my head about what their lives must be like. For example, there’s a wizened old man who wears a dark grey trench coat and a blue beret, and has a van dyke beard. I imagine him to be an artist, and I assume he eats baguettes (the bread, not the jewelry) filled with unpronounceable cheese, and he drinks Earl Grey tea.

And then there is the couple who always walk across the bridge holding hands. Or rather, she is holding his hand. She’s also doing all the talking and walking slightly ahead of him. I suspect that if given the choice and the backbone, he wouldn’t be holding her hand at all.

I enjoy watching groups of students and can almost always see who has a crush on whom. Photographers intrigue me. What do their eyes see? And it makes me smile when people walk their dogs, but I hate it when they jog with their dogs, and the dogs are a pace behind, looking desperate, nervous and exhausted.

But now and then I’ll see someone who seems to be trying be someone else. I could be wrong, of course. Maybe this is their style, but I honestly believe that some people are trying too hard.

The other day there were two women who, I swear to god, must have been in their 40’s, and they were wearing spandex exercise tights, brightly colored body suits, leg warmers, headbands, and their hair was in pony tails. Their huge plastic dangling ear rings only added to their ridiculous image. I nearly choked. I said to myself, “1970’s is calling. It wants its neon lycra back.”

And there’s that guy who wears black from head to toe, as if he’s crying for help. “Feel sorry for me. I’m trying to look mysterious but I actually look unhappy.”

And then there’s the student who is trying so hard to look cool that he crosses the boundary and looks effete. He’s probably wondering why he isn’t in with the in crowd. He’d be much better off just being himself.

It’s cool to have style. It’s even cooler to have a lifestyle. But lifestyle sanctimony is just sad.


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