People Watching

July 9, 2012

I type this from a suburban Starbucks in the LA area. A man in his 40’s is sweeping the floor. He wears nice black slacks and wingtips under his green apron.

Is he a middle-aged, unskilled laborer who is dressing up, overdressing, as a sign of self-respect? Proof of a strong work ethic? Or, is he a former executive who is desperate for work and can’t or won’t dress in a way that will help him fit in with his college-aged co-workers?

He’s wearing a gold watch. Was that a gift from a wife who doesn’t know what job he goes to every day?

He’s assembling a new display at the front of the store. He seems to be a manager. He’s smiling as he chats with the baristas.

Is he an owner, too? Does he own multiple franchises? Is he worth more money than I’ll ever make in my lifetime?

Is he judging me?