You can observe a lot just by watching, Yogi Berra once said, and I’ve been doing some observing lately.
Here’s what I’ve seen:
• There are a lot of people sticking their middle fingers out of car windows these days.
Just last week, in the space of an hour or so, I saw three different drivers flip off other motorists. Two of them weren’t aimed at me, but one was.
I’m still trying to figure out what prompted the bird attack. I wasn’t tailgating, flashing my lights, honking my horn or anything else.
Sign of the times, I guess.
• I know we have become an informal nation, but there are a lot of … well, there’s just no other way to put it… slobs walking around.
Hey, we’re talking just not caring, either not bothering to look in the mirror or ignoring what’s there.
Short shorts don’t look so hot on 350-pound women. Tank tops don’t become hairy men with huge beer guts.
Casual attire is one thing. We Americans are going way, way past that.
• I was walking through a busy airport recently when the lilting sound of piano music enveloped me. Ah, I thought, this airport is doing its part to perk people up by hiring a pianist.
But then I turned around, and it was a player piano, which I didn’t even know still existed.
The music was nice, but it seemed a bit impersonal. Then I looked around at all the people hunched over their Blackberries, smart phones and other electronic devices, peering intently into their screens without paying a whit of attention to their surroundings, and I decided that maybe the impersonal player piano was absolutely appropriate.
• If you can find out something about a person’s hobby, you’ll have a good feel into that person’s psyche.
Warren, the mild-mannered postal clerk on the Maine island where Wife Nancy and I spend time, is 60-ish, graying, soft-spoken and polite. If you looked at Warren and had to guess his hobby, you’d probably pick gardening or collecting thimbles.
You’d be guessing wrong
Warren is an Elvis impersonator. For the Fourth of July parade each year, he dresses up in his best white jumpsuit, bejeweled with sequins and rhinestones of all kinds, dons his jet-black wig and drives a postal delivery truck through the parade route while Elvis tunes blare from a loudspeaker.
You just never know, do you? And that’s what makes people so fascinating.
• Watching politicians dodge the vice presidency, and dodge it and dodge it and then embrace it, is interesting for everyone who observes politics.
John Nance Garner, vice president under Franklin Roosevelt, once described the veep’s job as “not worth a bucket of warm spit,” though spit is not the real word he used.
But the lure of the offer is like a fat fly to a hungry trout. Chris Christie, the plainspoken governor of New Jersey, finally admitted this week that maybe, just maybe, he might be open to being Mitt Romney’s running mate.
That was after multiple denials of interest.
There’s just something about that job, I guess -- or the one directly above it.