Saturday, October 24, 2015

An Obsession with People Watching

Living After Stroke
We do our weekly shopping on Saturday afternoon or Sunday mornings. We hit about 5 stores. Yes, you heard that right, 5 friggin stores for one week of groceries. None of them carries everything I want, well at least not for the price I’m willing to pay. We also go to dinner or breakfast, my favorite part of the weekly excursion.

Sometimes I don’t feel like going into all of them so I wait in the car and people watch. Actually, I’ve taken people watching to an entirely new level, I put them under a microscope! I’m obsessed with watching how people move.

An obsession with people watching.

I examine how they walk, turn, use their hands when they talk, load their groceries into their car, return the cart to the store (or not), get in and out of their cars, their posture, foot placement, etc. At the restaurant, I watch the servers carry plates, glasses, write down orders, etc.

The best subjects are women who wear tight-fitting yoga pants; you can really see some of their muscles at work. My apologies to anyone who I’ve dissected. I was never a people watcher before.

If immediately asked, I couldn’t tell you what any one of them looks like. Not because I have poor memory but because I don’t look at their faces.

I also find myself doing this while watching TV. I get lost in the movements and not the show. I think I’m completely focusing on the show but realize I have no idea what’s going on or even what show I’m watching because I was hyper-focusing on the people’s movements.

Even though I still have half a body that works fine, I forget what it’s like to have movement flow.

I often make a movement with my good side for the only reason being to pay attention to the mechanics of it. I pay attention to every detail of making the movement.

Right now, I’m trying to figure out what it really takes to hold this phone in my hand while I type. I pay attention to the weight & balance, the position of my fingers, the way my forearm, bicep and shoulder feels, the complete position of every part of my body. Is my elbow resting on my knee or is it suspended above my lap, etc. Then I attempt to replicate just one of the positions with my left side.

After 3 years of trying, still no luck replicating any of the movements.

Lately I spend more time imagining what it would be like if my left side could copy the right side or move like I see other people move.

I have a hard time remembering what it feels like to walk, use my fingers, hand, arm, or anything on my left side. I think I’ve adjusted to living with half a body too well.

I don’t even remember exactly what my left hand would be typically doing during an activity. Did I rest my wrists on the keyboard or did they hover above it? When sitting, where was my arm typically? How often did I use my hand when driving? Did I pet Bones with both hands or just my right?

Now when I’m doing something I think about how nice it would be if it could help my right hand but I’m too the point of only wishing for the bare minimum. Pre-stroke, did my left hand only help a little or did it have its own tasks?

Now that I think about it, it could be I don’t remember because all those movements were subconscious, they didn’t require any thought to accomplish them.

I guess subconsciously I’m hoping that by hyper-focusing on watching other people move, I’ll learn what my body should be doing. Then maybe I’ll be able to move smoothly without concentration. Maclaine originally learned Taekwondo by observing; maybe her method will work for me too!

Till next time - Have Wonderful Days - Leslie

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