2.1 Writing as “Recording”: Observing People Interact

For this assignment, you’re invited to think of writing as a form of recording—sort of like a substitute video camera for capturing the real world as you see it, hear it, smell it, etc.

Over the weekend, I want you to go sit in a public place—the cafeteria, the Atrium, a park, a busy street—and I want you to watch people.  Specifically, I want you to watch how people interact with each other and the space they’re in.  What’s the space look like?  How crowded is it? How fast do people move?  Do they sit, stand, crouch, walk, talk, stare?  How much do they interact with each other?  How do they interact with the built environment (sidewalks, curbs, doors, benches, etc.)?  What’s the weirdest thing you notice people doing?  What’s the most common thing you notice?

Take close notes and post them here by next Monday night.

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23 thoughts on “2.1 Writing as “Recording”: Observing People Interact”

  1. 6:00pm….right after class. In the hall, third floor by the side entrance. A little lounge area to sit or get a snack in the vending machine. There are chairs around the perimeter and a vending machine to the side leaving people to ascend the stair or take a seat. There’s either people sitting alone or with a buddy. Fact of the matter is there seems to be no contact unless the people are known to each other. The people who walk on by are most likely getting to the place they need but every few people or so there seems to be someone who glances upon everyone either staring them down or shifting contact when people look back at them. As for those sitting are simply waiting out the time eyes glued to their phone or just enjoying a nice meal. For the most part it’s people shifting from staircase or just sitting minding their own business. Occasionally you see groups of people sit together and talk, who are usually the life of the room. In other words there’s not much in terms of special things or interesting things that happen around as I wait and watch everyone seems to act the same way. It was a bit crowed as many people were going from place to place although in the span of about 20 minutes it’s seemed to cool down to about someone coming by every few odd minutes. There’s also people who end up taking out a laptop i suppose if they have a lot of time to spare, such as I sitting here on my laptop watching people.

    It’s 7pm….Goodbye those who read the entire thing and also…Nothing has changed…

  2. After I finished my classes on Thursday, I went home. Since I live so far away and it takes so long to get home, I got to enjoy some sights on the train. People talking to the friend next to them, listening to music on their headphones, texting to whoever they know or just sitting down patiently waiting for their stop. On the train you can usually see scammers or legit beggars you ask for money but this night their was an old man who played the harmonica for money and then after him, came to young brothers who began to break dance in spite of the fact that the train was still movie. All over the world, people go about their lives doing what they need to do. People say ” live your life to the fullest ” and in truth no matter what you do or how small the activity, that’s exactly what you do every given day. God has a plan for everyone and everything happens for a reason, no matter how seemingly insignificant. People today like to dye their hair all kinds of colors; pink, blue, purple, green and more, but that’s just their way of expressing themselves. You only get one shot at life and you should live it the way you think is best. Enjoy the time you have with your family and friends. It’s often to see couples on the street, and where I live it’s often to see people cussing each other out. We all live each day in the only way we know how, best try to live with little regrets.

  3. Meaningful hugs and kisses filled with goosebumps and shivering emotions to ones spine are shared in the airports. As I got out of the car on the departure lane in the airport I couldn’t help but analyze those around me. I saw teenagers entering adult hood waving their parents goodbye before my eyes. It seemed as if I could feel their vibrant emotions of going away to dorm in a different state or country, all alone. Luggages we’re being rolled on the floor as taxi cabs horned at each other. Couples weeping, families welcoming their loved ones and pets being put in cages. Automatic doors opened before me as if they were gates to another dimension. Suddenly, it was my turn to take the stage and act upon my emotions as I said goodbye to my in laws. Knots in our throats and heavy hooded eyes right before our goodbyes. The airport became a blur and people slowed down as they walked to their gates. Airports share the most sincere kisses and the walls without a doubt tell their stories.

  4. Arrived at my childhood park, people everywhere from all ages. The elderly sat on the benches among me, the younger kids or as I refer to them, “toddlers”, played on the swings and slides and the older kids played on the basketball court/ hand ball court.
    Hipsters took their dogs around to do their business. I just sat there on the bench, looking around like a creep and silently judging everyone. For a moment, I just thought of how many times they renovated this park, how this random square of grass and flowers used to be a water playground.
    Whatever the people were doing, they were all talking and having fun-but I just wanted to leave because I was being baked alive by the sun. Batman out.

  5. well it is 9/2/17 and I decided to go record what people was doing in front of my building. Before anything let me describe the scenery, I live in Mitchell’s housing projects in the South Bronx. When you immediately walk out of my building its another project building right in front, when you look over to your right there is a pretty huge playground that has 6 basketball courts, a track field, and a handball court. When you look over to your left there is a dead end, a parking lot and the one store that everyone goes to. To continue my day for when I conducted this assignment I was sitting on one of the benches in front of my building. (possibly a horrible decision lol) so when I looked up there were people at the side of my building in a group playing a very sophisticated game for money called “celo”(a game of dice). I have no idea why they are always screaming “deady” but it works. Anyways when I looked around behind me towards the building in front of my building, it has benches as well were the hard working entrepreneurs selling there product “marijuana” by interacting with others through sheer eye contacting and saying “I got that loud.” When I continue to look around I look towards the store and I see a lot of people buying loose cigarettes and regular snacks such as chips, soda’s, and little cakes. Over at the park is where everyone is playing basketball and you see little kids on the track field just running around on it. Over all it is September 2nd and I’m kind of freezing because I left my sweater upstairs I’m done writing chad is going home thank you for reading this. Over all living in this area saddens me seeing people my age not going to college or at least taking advantage over there resources and making a life instead of doing basically nothing.

  6. I went to the park yesterday around 5 pm and as I was waiting for next to play basketball. As I was waiting for this long game of three on three I was observing things that was going in the park. Most people came to the park to play ball but others have different agenda for why they were in the park. The park was pretty pack than usually and all of a sudden rain started to drip. Whenever rain usually start people tend to leave the park and go home but people keep playing basketball. The rain wasn’t really heavy but still it made it a little difficult to keep playing basketball. Everyone was like just playing don’t mind the rain it’s nothing and they continue playing basketball. The people sitting on the benches not playing basketball didn’t mind they just kept doing what they was doing. I realize people take basketball a lot more serious than I thought and I was even able to play my next when the game was finally over.

  7. Today is September 3rd, the time is 11 o’clock, I am sitting on a park bench writing this between Hoffman Blvd and Woodhaven Blvd. Queens centre mall is behind me and Hoofman park in front of me. My friends are shooting around and playing a game of horse. As I observe the people and things around me, I see a little girl in a stroller. I see a young women smoking, what seemed to be a cigrette. There is a long line behind me of people waiting for the bus. I see a couple of kids ordering food from a halal cart. Most of the people i see are jusy minding their own business. Most of the young people have headhones on and the old people are just on the line waiting for the bus. My friends are calling me so this is all for now.

  8. On my way home from class sitting on a Flatbush Ave. Bound two train is where I decided to cunduct my observation. The time was around 6:25 pm the train was crowded as everyone was trying to get to their destinations, people were wearing suits, some were in normal clothing, and even those who were in their work uniform. As the train made each stop people would get off while others get on and from time to time the smell in the train’s atmosphere would change as some people came in eating, smelling of strong perfumes and those who just won’t practicing good hygiene, what I commonly noticed was that individuals hardly interacted with each other, those who interacted with each other were those who came on the train together, everyone else were just there keeping to themselves with there earpods in and their attention buried in their phones wondering if they were even aware of their surroundings. This made me reflect on myself as I approached my stop, causing me to now be more cautious about how I use my phone in public.

  9. As I sit on this hot packet D train on Monday morning, I capture that all the people on the train are mostly doing the same thing. They sit and stand with their heads positioned towards these metal objects that just sit in there hands and don’t say a thing, but tvhese people are so intrigued with this object that they don’t look to see who is sitting next to them or standing infront of them, not even to see what stop they’re at. They seem as if they are devoted to capture everything on this object. While these salktatues do this, others just shut their eyes and make faces as if they were under a blanket in their super soft king size bed on a winter morning. Knowing that they were going to wake up to some delicious chocolate chip pancakes. with fresh eggs and bacon. Then there were those that just talked and talked to ones didnt seem to care what the other talked about, but always started the conversation.

  10. Parkchester park Bronx NY,
    Right now, I see a couple arguing over something I don’t know, other than that people stop walking and is trying to see what the argument is about. Across the field I see kids playing football and one is about to score a touch down. He scored, kids jumping and slapping him. The Jamaicans have their side of the field and is about to play soccer, in the meanwhile they are having some heated debate about probably soccer. Weird enough there is fresh air and smells like water on dirt. Huge trees surrounding and shading the park with the little squirrels runs about. There isn’t much people out here plus the couple walked away so I’m just here on the bench. For some weird reason every kid walking by has a soccer ball in there hands somewhat expected footballs. It’s like 70 degrees outside and I am about to go play soccer with the Jamaicans.

  11. Today was finally nice, it was actually hot, so I decided to take my son to the park. When we got there it was not to pack, then i realize it’s because it’s labor day. A lot of parents are out on the Parkway. While we was there my son was playing with this little boy he had on a black shirt and blue shorts. He looked like he was a mixed race of african american n Puerto Rican. He had to be around my son age like 9 or 10. They was playing tagged, it was funny because the little boy could run so my son was getting mad because he couldn’t catch him. I was watching him and thought he could be a great football player. As they was playing they caught other kids attention and 2 more kids started playing. Now it’s a Lil Caucasian girl and a African American boy. So they all laughing and having a good time. They losing there breath n all. Where I’m sitting at it see other people there having conversation, I’m being nosey so one person was talking about her baby father n how he didn’t come home lol. Smh.. some of the guys was playing basketball 2 on 2 then you had others doing illegal things, smoking weed. We was in the park for a couple hours. It was nice the icey lady was out in guess she getting her last little change before the summer ends. My son and I got one, I got coconut and he got rainbow. At this time he had to sit down and eat it once he was done in let him go play again. So I had a good Monday..

  12. 1:30 pm, as I walk down Kingston ave to meet my best friend I hear split in the middle playing. fading away as I keep walking. people wearing different flags representing there countries. Trini flag, bajan,guyana, and Haitian. people laughing and taking pictures with there family and friends dancing to the beat of the music blasting from the speakers. majority of the people dressed half naked wearing shorts flags as tops and capes over there whole outfit etc. gates lined up o the side near the sidewalk. police officers lined up on everyone block. men walking on stilts and girls wearing there Labor Day outfits with there wings and beers and makeup done to match there suit. men and women singing and dancing on the float hyping the rest of the people on the street. the weirdest thing I seen was a girl splitting on a guy and the guy picking her up and spinning her around than falling because he couldn’t hold her up. another was my friend dancing on a man who legs were amputated. this is my view of Labor Day this afternoon everyone was hype and hot and having fun as well as myself.

  13. As I sit in the park and think about how I should capture social interaction and include it in my writing. I sat and took a minute to look at my surrounding, I was in harlem on a nice sunny day I look around to notice what was around me. I saw the basketball courts full you had a nice mix of all people waiting for a game of pickup they all sat and engage in conversation, the different emotions or face expressions is what really brought me closer to see how these conversations started and what they would lead to. As they waited for next this unique group of characters talk trash to one another while some enjoyed the light hearted playful words others took offense and got defensive about the words. This kinda reminded me when I would go to the gym and me and my friends would sit and joke and how we would take it, but none the less as they took the court I move to another spot where I could see friends, kids, adults all interact with one another. Watching other people interact makes you think about yourself in a way, how would you handle certain situations when your put in them and how do you react. Me watching people social interaction showed the joy of good company when you’re having a good time and when things aren’t so great how people react to them.

  14. As I walk to sit on a bench at the train station I look around, and I see people either sitting down already or standing, not moving much. Most of them are on their phones. listening to music, texting, reading, talking on the phone …etc minding their own business. They don’t really interact with each other, except the ones accompanied by a friend or family. As I sit down, Some middle age guy with a faint aura of alcohol, came and sat next to me yelling/screaming “I miss you… I love you”, I guess he got his heart broken.and I started thinking how whenever I take the train some weird/unexpected thing always happens. for instance, once I sat next to a homeless lady (worst decision) and she started cussing me, screaming all sort of names she could think of….very embarrassing.

  15. On Friday, I had 30 minute break between my classes so I went to the library and watched some people for a while. Kinda creepy to say that, but whatever. I noticed that lots of people came in with a phone in hand, sometimes texting and sometimes talking. Lots of people would just sit down and plug in some headphones. People would just walk in, maybe talk to a librarian, and take a seat somewhere. Nobody was really interacting with one another, and instead, people were looking down at their phones. Their was one table of people talking to each other, maybe studying together, but all other tables were silent. It caught me by surprise, seeing how some people were so attached to a phone that they couldn’t even say hi to the person right next to them.

  16. Today after running all my errands, I decided to go for walk at the beach. The weather is nice and it’s the perfect day to go and declutter my mind. When I get to the boardwalk, I noticed how crowded the beach were especially on a Monday, then i remembered today it’ s a holiday. As I was standing there watching the waves coming one after another, I saw different people doing different things. Plenty of surfers were in the water, some of them were good others were probably learning. There were also a couple helping their kid to build a sand castle. Others were riding their bikes. From a distance I could hear a band playing music. It was just a nice atmosphere and I realized how many things you can notice when you bring you full attention to wherever you are.

  17. As I start my fire they start theirs. It’s the same inaugural step to begin two completely different days and activities at Pelham bay park. It’s a sunny Saturday afternoon so traffic is high; I’d estimate about at least 80 people in my imidiate line of sight all of them spread around in groups of 3-12. Each group varrying in size and centered around a grill near their prespective tables. The tables serving as a sort of base where all of their cook out goods are stored. I focus in on the table across the field from me. It’s the group with the least amount of people and probably the least active. There are 2 women one who appears to be slightly younger. They keep showing each other their phones and the older one seems to get increasingly angry with each showcase of the younger ones phone. They separate and they both get on their phones the older one for a call and the younger one presumably Snapchat. As I begin to piece the situation together the older woman hangs the phone up and they are joined by 5 people 2 elderly women, 2 men and a small boy. The original older woman shows signs of relief as she rushes towards them with a smile on her face. The young woman seems to be unaffected and still on Snapchat. I go on about my day as I start my fire as do they.

  18. I got on the Q train after work and sat at the first seat i saw. First person tht caught my attention was the lady sitting across from me. She was deep in sleep and it seems like no matter how much the train shakes and bumps nothing can mess with her and her sleep. The guy next to her is asleep too. He has his head leaning on the girl next to him. She could be his girlfriend or sister. I’m leaning more towards girlfriend. She shoved his head off and he looks annoyed. She says something but I can’t hear them over my music. I think she said his head is heavy. Definitely girlfriend. She tells him to lay his head in her lap. My stop is next. I’m probably never gonna see these people ever again. She tells him to get off her lap. His head must be really heavy.

  19. what I notice in the heights (upper manhattan) is everyone seems to know each other, or is it that they are friendly with there own kind (race), the majority of people that live in the Washington Heights are hispanic to be more precise Dominican or Puertorican. Guys tend to stand in street corners and hang around there or stand in front of a grocery store and hang there as well. The women are friendly too the guys that they know (I’m assuming) because they would just walk like if they don’t know you and out of no where call you out to say “hey whats up!!” and just have an ongoing conversation. In 181 workers in delis and restaurants look like they socialize with each other, what I mean is they look like they are always on a break and not doing there job. over in Dyckman, during the day, people go out to buy or sell their products (fruit carts, breakfast stands, corn stands, and even shish kebab carts) most People are wearing casual and simple clothing. But when its night time everyone goes out looking fashionable and Dyckman turns into a clubbing area with all the nigh restaurants open and bars filled with people, laughing, dancing, and socializing with new people.

  20. On Tuesdays, I have an hour long break period before this class, so I’ve decided to grab something to eat then I sat down in the park to watch a couple of basketball games. While watching I had an incredible urge to play due to how bad everyone on the court was. Besides that, I’ve noticed how people interact with each other on a basketball court, and how the interactions can have an effect on the outcome of the game. Some team-mates encourage a players efforts and decision making on the court, even if a couple mistakes are made. they’ll say things like “don’t worry, just keep shooting!”, or “good try”. Then there the other type of teammates that’ll degrade a players’ efforts by saying “Don’t call for the the ball anymore” or asking for a sub (which is very disrespectful in a pickup game). These different interactions can have an impact on a players emotion, future game decision making, and can (in some cases) have an impact on the outcome of the game. The team that developed good chemistry through constructive criticism and good and encouraging communication won two of the games I’ve watched before I went to class. To conclude, I’ve observed that positive interactions can lead to positive outcomes.

  21. 9:30 in the morning, 2nd floor Cafeteria in Vorhees is where I decided to capture people in my text. Since it is morning and early hours after long weekend nobody’s talking. I see a couple of people streching in their seats. Here walks in two, brothers I would suppose since they look alike and have black T-shirts on. One of them is wearing a shirt that says,” I can’t keep calm I am greek,” while the other one has,” Run your car not your mouth,” on his. Now I am starting to hear cans opening. And a guy to my right is on a call. There is another guy that has jamaica written on the back of his shirt. The quiet room is now getting a little conversations starting. There is a guy to my left who is now greeted third time. He must be popular. There goes a man with a construction hat. He’s still on his phone, the tall boy on my right, I cannot describe his conversation as it seems to be in Arabic or something similar. Now it’s the 4th one greeted the same guy. He brought him juice and said,”three dollar, three dollar.” The most sound is of exit doors smashing. Either someone sick of waiting for the escalator or maintaning his/her breathe after coming down the stairs.
    As I head for the escalator, to sum up, there was barely any talking or interacting. Oh wait, a girl passing by just gave me that wierd look as I was scoping in her, thinking how to describe her in writing. She’s long gone before I noticed something prominent. I need to speed up my typing speed.

  22. I was at the Jersey shore mall yesterday, and it was crowded with many different people from different ethnicities. The majority of them were speaking English. By looking around, I saw people walking around like zombies holding shopping bags and talking on cell phones. I saw the majority of them were acting the way they were not supposed to be. They often acted younger than their ages. I saw there was an elderly couple sitting at outside the store and eating ice cream. They sat and laughed about it. A couple near them sat and talked the whole time.

  23. Cafeteria 1:00pm
    I’m sitting in my little corner in the Cafe as always. Haven’t been in here since summer because it’s always loud and ratchet. It urks me. People don’t know how to talk properly or whisper or communicate in a considerable way. I noticed a section dedicated for the smarts, the nerds, the intelligents. They’re located all the way at the end but it’s a big section of the end they have. Another section located in the middle and the front part of the cafe is the section filled with people swagged out, chilling. They’re always talking a lot. The rest of the people are like me. They have no reason to communicate with anyone and doesn’t have the urge to.

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