Observations: Martin Place

You know, one of the side effects of my habit of being overly punctual, is that I get a lot of time to sit around and observe the surroundings. Two Thursdays ago I was in Martin Place, waiting to go to Wharf 1 Theatre. I had two hours to grab some dinner, and catch one bus. Not wanting to wait at the theatre for a long time, I sat down at a bench in Martin Place and watched the time pass.

Here’s a list of what I saw:

    Commuters leaving work
    People who look dressed to go somewhere
    Scooters, bicycles, and even an electric bicycle
    Tourists resting
    A couple kissing 4 times in succession
    A man on a unicycle, who appears to be commuting from work

 

It’s amazing that these normally ordinary activities suddenly become so significant. I was able to notice small details and understand why they were there, very similar to getting into the mind of the person concerned. Let me tell you more about some of the things I saw.

People who look dressed to go somewhere
This one is obvious. These are the people who are wearing a nice suit, a beautiful dress, those high heels, or that funny tie. They might say something like, “Let’s get this night started!!!”, or have someone around their arm. From where I was sitting, these people were heading to Angel Place, or to a bar/hotel.

Tourists resting
Normally when someone sits down on a bench in a park (or in this case, at Martin Place), one might only take a brief glance at who is sitting down, and then return to whatever they were doing. Adding inactivity to the mix causes the need to be stimulated by surrounds. But what is there to stimulate you? Answer: the person that just sat down. So in this example, how do I know they are tourists? Well, they were analysing a map of Sydney CBD quite closely, they had a camera out for quite a while, and they had a bumbag of essential, touristy items. Once again, little details.

A couple kissing 4 times in succession
This observation comes with scathing commentary. So a couple was sat down on the other side of Martin Place. With arms around each other they talked, showing intimacy, then proceeded to kiss. And kiss again. And again, and again. To the occasional onlooker, once is acceptable. But going on and on in public shouldn’t happen unless you want to break a world record! Admittedly, they were better than another couple I saw kissing in the middle of the footpath, blocking foot traffic in peak hour.

A man on a unicycle, who appears to be commuting from work
Now this is something you don’t see everyday! So a man in lycra, and also wearing a helmet was riding a unicycle towards George St. The unicycle was quite high, presumably he could see over people and vans. The pedestrian light had just turned red, and he increased speed to make the crossing. He was a fraction late, and the rear of a bus just passed to make a little room for the unicycle to get through. Some homeless folk had been watching too, and exclaimed loudly at the near miss. “Whoa, d’you just see that?! How close was that, eh?!”

It’s amazing what you notice if you stop a minute to observe the passers by. To quote Ferris Bueller:

Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.

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