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Monday, 26 March 2012

People watching in the Family Café

Last Thursday I worked my late shift at Tesco and arrived at the shop half an hour before I was due to start work. I fancied a coffee and sat for a while with a cappuccino in the Family Café that the customers and visitor’s use. It was fairly relaxing and I spent the time people watching and recorded my observations on my Dictaphone. It looks like a mobile so I get away with talking to myself most of the time. It was fun observing people and it seemed a good thing to write about for a blogpost. Part of me wished I had my camera with me but I didn’t and in retrospect it’s better that I didn’t bring it out in such a close public space and draw attention to myself.

Here are my embellished notes on the people around and some quick drawings done afterwards.

 I spy two women in their mid thirties perhaps, both wearing  spotty blouses, one woman’s spots were bigger than the other’s. Both have a hair flicking habit and the one facing me has a very big smile. Big spots’ laptop is half open or half closed dependent on your viewpoint. Small spots’ folder is fully open. Generously open. They both have mineral water and cupcake crumbs.

On another table by the window pale sunlight is coming through. Here are two Turkish looking ladies, both enormous, being kitted out in several layers of clothing making their heads look small. Both ladies heads are covered in headscarves, one red one black. Thought they must be bloody boiling sitting in the sun with all these layers on. Young boy in a blue scary devil’s mask that’s too big for his head. Boy is turning his head away from the spoonful of baked beans that he is being offered by the woman in the black headscarf. The sunlight streaming through the dirty window is making his little ears look bright red. Now he’s über reluctantly having his face wiped by one of the women. They are rubbing hard to remove a mixture of baked bean and something purple, maybe his drink.

Another two women  sit nearby (much younger and assumedly English) and are facing each other at another table by the window and although I hadn’t got my camera it would have made a great photo as they both have bottles of orange juice and I could just imagine the photo of them in silhouette with the orange bottles shining like day-glow orange in the middle. Swirly waves of design on the window behind them.

Trying hard not to be staring at the Lolita family behind me. They have a young daughter about fourteen or fifteen dressed in a dress design that is more suitable for a woman a lot older than her, or a pubescent prostitute trying to look eighteen, badly. Actually she is barely dressed at all and displaying to the world her youthful naked shoulders and arms and a pink bra strap that has fallen out of supportive position. She has enormous eyes and wild looking tussled hair, bright red lipstick, and is sitting drinking a milk shake through a pink lipstick stained straw. Get her some heart shaped sunglasses and a lollipop and you would have jail bait disaster on a plate. Mum and Dad are with her and her little sister.

Moving swiftly away from the teenage temptress, I spot a father and daughter over on the next table by the window. The daughter looks in her mid to late forties and her bespectacled head is arched over to the left whilst she talks to her dad on the opposite side of the table. Her hair is going prematurely grey and she constantly pushes the glasses back on to the bridge of her nose as if they are about to fall off. Both figures drum alternately with their fingers on the table. Her fingers appear to be painted with henna and her clothes are quite artistic and new hippy style. The old man seems to think that ‘muted and grubby’ are this season’s colours and he slurps his tea so loudly I can hear him four tables away.

 A very tiny and giggly little blonde haired girl totters past sporting a diddy rucksack with a bumble bee design. She is about two or three years old. Doting Mummy and Daddy are just ahead and swoop her lovingly up and place her gently in the supermarket trolley for a ride around Tesco.

On the other end of the age scale a doddery old dear in racing green also performs her version of the ‘tottering’ walk towards me. Only she is carrying a tray with tea cups, a jug of milk and a hot pot of tea and a generous slab of fruitcake; the latter item, to match her personality. She has the ‘granny grin’ that a lot of pensioners have. This is a practically permanent smile showing off her loose dentures and a small shred of lettuce from last night’s tea. The tray’s contents are sliding dangerously toward the café floor only to be pulled back at the last minute by the old lady. I notice that she is wearing her slippers from home, and they don’t match. Thankfully the perilous porter’s progress passes by and the drinks arrive intact on the table top behind me.

In the electrical section a boy child screams at the top of his shrill voice. I shudder, finish my coffee and head off to work.


Gailsman said...

Good observations. I'm surprised that you didn't come across a group of Chinese students, eating sandwiches and drinking Coke.
Beeston is quite cosmopolitan now with people from many nations wanting a little bit of the action.

Phil Lowe said...

Lots of oriental people visit the store Gailsman but none were in the family cafe this particular time.