Today ended up being a pretty fantastic day. The weather was more-or-less perfect, but in contrast to yesterday's rain and gloom, it felt like a perfect transitional day. A bit of rain, a lot of sun... a good day for walking, which is lucky because I ended up doing a lot of that.
So, my friend Alec had an assignment to do for his anthropology class. He had to go observe people and write down his observations in order to write a two page paper (I'm not sure the point exactly but people-watching is fun), so we decided to walk downtown. That's about a mile or so to walk, up and down hills of course but not an unpleasant walk when the weather is nice and you have nothing better to do with an afternoon.
Watching people in Downtown Asheville is strange. It's not quite a big enough city for there to be the distracted-and-serious business people, and it's not quite bustling, but there's enough activity to make it interesting. It's relaxed downtown, and nobody seems in any particular rush to do anything or go anywhere. But like any other downtown area, all the people walk by, oblivious of their surroundings and so focused on their own thoughts and their own lives that they don't seem to notice the rustle of the leaves in the trees, the cool fall breeze that seems out of place in September but makes the day the perfect temperature.
It always strikes me when people watching, how lonely everybody seems. All these people, lost in their own thoughts, moving on autopilot... how interesting it would be to step into their mind for a second and see if they are even living fully. Even here in Asheville, the people walk by like robots, smiling to themselves and generally uninterested in anything outside of their own minds. I can't blame them for it, since I have days like that too, but it's just interesting to note the stark contrast between the lively community of the drum circle downtown on Friday nights with the sleepy monotony and loneliness of a Tuesday afternoon.