I was just looking out from my balcony and along with enjoying the views of forest, moutains, and ocean inlet I was people watching a few moments. I spied a young woman walking from the West Coast Express Station towards me and noted how much she reminded me of a girl I was fond of when I was in First Year Science at the University of Calgary. The girl I watched was younger than my old lab and study partner, but her long hair was the same very dark brown which tended to be lighter at the ends - not high lighted or dyed, I think, but there was just a sort of glow.
Anyway, being a self conscious sort I didn't want to stare and turned my gaze elsewhere before heading back in. I had only intended on a short breather upon opening the sliding glass doors to let in a little of the glorious late spring air.
I did get to thinking - why was I concerned about people watching? - in particular because it was a beautiful young woman? Well partly I am very sensitive to other's feelings and also to what people think of me. I don't want to be know as the strange old man who ogles women from that second floor balcony. But I realize that I was only reminiscing about an old friend and I knew her long ago so that I was remind about her by someone who was close to the age she was when I knew her. I realize that I am now over twice that age and have no untoward intent toward the young woman I saw - but I wonder if others might get a bit of a bum rap only because they are looking at memories of their past?
Don't get me wrong, I do not think it is appropriate for mature men to take advantage of young girls - or for that matter for mature women to do so. (Or young boys or whichever mixture.) But how often when someone is looking at someone half their age are they simply looking back in time at their youth?
Now I also sometimes will see someone and when I see features like someone I knew wonder if they could be the child or -ahem- grandchild of someone I once knew. There is one actress on TV who looks so much like a girl I went to school with that I am almost tempted to write her and ask if they might be related.
Of course how is one to tell who is innocently wandering memory lane and who is a pervert doing a bit of window shopping?
I guess it is important to know how to look without staring, how not to make people uncomfortable and to learn how to spot the predators out there among us. Still it can be a bit awkward for the self conscious and for the writer and artist whose vocation involves the observation of people.