Can’t beat price of people-watching

Can't beat price of people-watching by Bob Karolevitz People-watching is one of my favorite spectator sports. Scientists call it a study in anthropology. I call it gawking.

All you need is a good location and a pair of working eyes.

I had both recently at the Empire Mall in Sioux Falls. For the price of a Coke and a strategic seat at the food court, I watched the Great American Public go streaming by.

I saw about everything: thin ones, fat ones, doddering ones and sprightly ones. I also came to the conclusion that obesity is a national problem.

Needless to say, I was very careful about ogling pretty girls lest I be accused of being a �dirty old man.�

While Phyllis cruised the stores � she didn�t buy anything because we prefer to shop at home � I nursed my drink so I could prolong the fun. It was like going to a movie with the lights on.

For a while I was fascinated by what people wore on their feet. I didn�t see any wingtips or high heels, mostly walking shoes and sandals � even if they didn�t go with the rest of the outfit.

Many of the girls have adopted Japanese-style thongs, the kind with one tiny strap between their toes. I can�t figure out how they keep the danged things on, let alone walk with them. But they do!

I�m getting used to seeing baseball caps worn backwards by teenage boys, but now I think some of the guys are wearing them sideways. I never saw a woman or young girls with anything on their head, although I observed lots of hair ribbons and pony tails.

A few of the guys were kind of shaggy and needed a shave, but by and large the great majority of them were well-trimmed. I counted a good many crewcuts, so I didn�t feel too out of place.

When it came to clothing, style was definitely out. People were dressed in everything imaginable. Couturiers would have gone nuts.

Women wore mu-mus, short shorts and all sorts of outlandish garb. Some even wore overalls, but the Oshgoshes � or whatever they were � didn�t do a thing for their figures.

Jeans were obviously the favorite attire, though, except that some of the gals looked like they were poured into them and forgot to say when.

I was especially cognizant of older men wearing shorts. They didn�t seem to be worried about showing their knobby knees and their white legs, but they should have been. I was glad I had trousers on.

I tried to read the messages on the T-shirts that went by, but mostly they moved too fast for me. I think I saw one that said �At My Age, Happy Hour Is A Nap!� ��which is a pretty good idea.

After a while Phyllis came back and interrupted my viewing. Then I had to admit that women her age were the best dressed of all. Not one of them had green lipstick or spiked hair, and � go my way of thinking � they looked good.

However, it was the �other ones� that made my people-watching session so amusing. Just when I thought I had seen the best of the worst, along would come another sartorial enigma.

And except for the Coke � which I wanted anyhow � the admission was free!

� 2002 Robert F. Karolevitz

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