I was at a shopping mall in Singapore yesterday, waiting for my friend at lunch. The open restaurant is by the pool, with a nice smattering of what is called “Western food” here……..everything from Bangers and mash, Caesar salad to Tagliatelle.
As I sat watching people walking into and out of the restaurant without walls, I took to making notes of them. Here is what I wrote:
Old and tired European couple, probably Italian, lots of solid gold jewelry on the wife, a gold chain on the old man. Nursing red wine after their lunch.
Middle-aged American man, a youngish Singaporean woman, two American Singaporean boys. The whole table had ordered burgers, other than the mother, munching salad.
Balding man in his thirties, shoulder-length curly hair, Latino. Probably waiting for a woman, cos he has a whole load of shopping bags with him. A tall beer glass on the table. Looks like he’d like to smoke, but he’d be very foolish to smoke inside a mall in Singapore.
Three women, probably in their thirties, engrossed in gossip. Sipping their iced lemon teas once in a while.
Then my friend came in and I stopped taking notes.
But my eyes did not stop taking people in as they went by, around the fountain, up or down the escalator. Letting life pass you by as you sit at a public place just watching people, making mental notes, is good fun.
My find was the stout Chinese woman possibly in her sixties with desperately kohled eyes on a plump, botoxed face. In a loud printed Versace dress, carrying a monogrammed Chanel tote and bags of make-up from Dior and Aigner, she was my image for the day. Not to mention the three-inch teetering heels which made her stumble as she stepped on the escalator. Reminded me of that other old woman, Donatella, just a fleeting bit.
I wanted to walk up to the dowager, offer to carry her bags, and give her a hug. Don’t try so hard, I wanted to say.
Of course I did no such thing. I merely filed away the image for future use, and continued to chat with my friend. Somewhere inside I felt a little sad, but my eyes were peeled for that next interesting sketch of our ludicrous human existence.