I spend an inordinate amount of time in office lobbies, bus stops, and in front of shops, restaurants or any place that one generally meets people. On average I think every time we meet I have to stand around for 10-15 minutes, sometimes more.
I’ve learnt not to get mad, just mildly annoyed, but it still shows. Sigh. Some people simply have a different concept of time and punctuality. In Switzerland if a train is scheduled to leave at 9.17 it will leave at 9.17 on the dot. This one time in Austria, a train was 3 minutes late and we were already complaining – that’s how high the expectations were. Hee.
Back to waiting in office lobbies and subway stations. If I don’t have my iPod it gets real boring. So the obvious thing to do is to observe people walking past. What I tend to focus on first are their shoes. Why shoes? First of all it’s rude to stare at their face, secondly I really have very little interest in clothes and fashion.
I think it was my ex-colleague Larry who said that it’s possible to tell if a guy’s from the US or Europe by the shoes he’s wearing. Especially work shoes. The styles and cutting are different. The almost beautiful brogues made by Church’s are so different from the soft tanned elegant leather shoes from Italy.
Back in the days of the silicon valley fever, how do you tell a dotcom millionaire from a mere minion? Shoes. Underneath the T-shirt one size too small and the ripped jeans is a pair of the most state-of-the-art sneakers. Those were the days.
It’s conceivable to tell someone’s station, aspirations and self-worth by the shoes they’re wearing. Ok, huh? Although it’s not always 100% accurate, someone who’s wearing low quality ugly plastic-looking footwear is probably not the most upwardly mobile individual. May be that’s a grossly unfair generalisation, I dunno.