There is something deeply calming, and satisfying, in watching people from a quiet cafe as they unknowingly act out a play for you whilst you sit and drink coffee. As they walk past in their hundreds thinking a thousand different things, going to a thousand different places and coming from a thousand different pasts. Each one of them has lived a separate life and secretly you witness a tiny fragment of it without their knowledge. How delicious.
You notice differences in people, and similarities. Their gaits, sometimes their voices, their stance, their behaviour in the outside world. You see families walking along and watch an entire different world stroll past as they take a separate history to yours with them. You watch arguments, and laughter, and anxiety as you sit indifferently with a cappuccino.
The magic is that they don't know you're dipping quickly in and out of every one of their lives, for one moment of their existence. It's like one hundred different secrets absorbed by you in one sitting, and you'll never tell. Sometimes you don't even notice you're taking these secrets, they just enter your subconscious as your brain feeds on detail.
And once you finish your coffee, pay the bill, stand up from your table, put your wallet away and walk off, you take those stories with you. Those tiny shared moments in time are stored away somewhere in your memory, they may never come out again but they will be marked as the moment you stood still and the Earth kept moving. The moment you observed from the outside, let your life pause whilst everyone else carried on and stole secrets with your coffee.
I urge you to people watch, it's truly wonderful for the soul.