THE PECULIAR OBSERVATIONIST: Observations and Anecdotes


by Sophia Calderone


Ever wonder what the person next to you was thinking? Where they came from? Where they were going? Every day we travel to our destinations, seemingly in another reality. Our surroundings are faded into a blur of motion, movement, and sound. The crowded subways, the busy streets, and even our neighborhood parks all are settings in which there is a special mental bubble we put ourselves in.

subway commute


It is easy to get lost in this way of thinking, where everything becomes relative to our vision and our existence. When I was young I was always told the age old advice “Don’t talk to strangers”. This was for my own safety being young, naïve and vulnerable. Along with that phrase also came another called “Always be polite to your elders”. What I found was that at a certain age, it was confusing to balance both. The confusion created an inner battle of emotions and thoughts. How can I be polite and get out of a conversation?


Another thought crossed my mind that maybe it would be nice to spare these strange people your time and indulge in their conversations. I always felt terrible inside when I saw homeless people on the street. Their weary faces would be imprinted in my mind the entire day as I would fiddle in my empty pockets with nothing to give them as I walked past.


When people like this came up to talk to me, while indeed it was frightening, but I knew that sometimes just showing a little kindness and indulging in conversation would make a person feel better. While over the years I have gotten much better at ignoring people, these childish habits have still somewhat remained. I made this book in an attempt to share what I see sometimes in what we call the “stranger”. I want to share a child-like viewpoint that maybe we all wish we still had, or have but do not indulge. That is, the idealist child’s view that not everything is bad and the world is full of wonderful and interesting things.


This work is not meant to demean, insult, or judge the individuals in any way. It is merely a simple, naive perspective on people that we do not know. This is appreciation for the stranger.



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